Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sunday Sizzler!

Today was hot, as in even hotter than yesterday, or maybe just because we were walking about rather than in a car most of the day. Jeni and I explored Manek Chowk market (we were there quite early so many stalls were not yet open when we started our wanderings) and on into the Fernandez Bridge area where students go to buy second hand text books and stationery. I made a few additions to my stash of Indian paper ephemera and Jeni didn't do too badly either. 

We checked out the big Sunday market too. Ideal if you need huge metal pans in an assortment of sizes, or maybe a new handcart or pair of jeans, but not so good for raw textile hunters.

The heat drove me back to base though Jeni lasted longer. After a few hours back home though, the day started to cool a little so we set off out again and got some exercise before dinner. Dinner was hot too...

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Sun Temple

This awe inspiring temple was built at Modhera in 1026AD. We visited it today en route to some equally inspiring weavers in the town of Patan. 

Patolas are double ikat cloths - I will tell more about them when I have some pictures to show you, but suffice to say that one exhibition piece the Salvi family worked on took three and a half years to weave. Also in the town we met mushru or mushroo weavers. This a is a double cloth with an often intricate jacquard silk design backed with a cotton weave. Originally constructed for Muslims, who do not wear animal fibres next to their skin. This family have woven both this fabric and pure cotton ones solely for one outlet for the past thirty five years...

Friday, 28 September 2012

Home sweet home

Two quick pics of the lovely place we are staying in. Just Jeni and me here and next week she will be staying on for a few days on her own when I head west to Kutch. We are well looked after by Devi Singh and Mohan who cook and clean and make sure we go out with a chilled bottle of water each day!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Arts and Markets

Yesterday we first spent looking at the work of a family of award winning master craftsmen who paint fantastically detailed temple hangings using natural dyes applied with sharpened bamboo sticks onto mordanted cotton. You can read more about mata ni pachedi in an earlier post, but Sanjay and his parents and siblings are all hugely skilled in this art. After a quick demo by Sanjay, we all spent a very concentrated few hours creating our own small simplified versions. The most complex designs have multiple colours, each applied separately then fixed over many days. Ours were one and two colour versions, varying in style rather dramatically from one another.  Here you can see Jeni focused on creating a mermaid surrounded by fishes while Sanjay dashes off a miniature masterpiece!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ahmedabad experiences...

I'm in a strange new world with not too many familiar elements at all! 
We've been here just four days and already we've seen so many weird, wonderful and inspiring places and people. Seen elephants in processions, the vast display of textiles in the Calico Museum, tried our hands at the detailed and skilled Mata Ni Pachedi painting and found a textile book treasure trove.

 Jain procession encountered en route to the Calico Museum
Succumbing to glorious textile books over cups of chai in the tiny but well stocked Art Books Centre

Long days in the heat and dust and busyness of Ahmedabad are taking their toll. I know we are missing flooding at home, though, so I shall not complain!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Packing it all in today

... vital stuff into cases, that is. 
It's been a busy week of meeting people and talking about our work and what we hope to do and see when we are Gujarat.

Local press coverage for the University has been good and some of the images are liveable with (even if my brother thinks that one of the pics of me should be entitled 'The Alternative 50 Shades of Grey').
It's suddenly very real and Jeni and I are both home this afternoon, making final decisions on what to take with us in the way of work examples and materials.
Stay tuned, folks, for images of the first impressions of Ahmedabad...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Skills in Abundance

Last week I missed a trip to Preston (with Swati and Murji) to meet two skilled artisans who are participating in The Cotton Exchange. 

This image (which I snaffled from ReSIde's Facebook page) shows Murji and Shamji Vishram with Shamji's award winning work! An amazingly fine and intricate woven piece. Both men are from Bhujodi in Kutch, where I'll be in a fortnight's time....;)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Scottish Side...

...of the residency/exchange is something you can catch up on here where Swati has set up a photo blog to record Murji's and her explorations in the Borders and beyond.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Counting Down (ii)

Three weeks today I'll be waking up in Arts Reverie in Ahmedabad.....
Murji with his wonderful woven work
Meanwhile Swati and Murji are here in the Borders exploring mills and workshops (and The Taste of Spice restaurant in Selkirk!). They have met alpacas as well as lots of humans, and displayed their impressive woven scarves and shawls and more at the Textile Towerhouse in Hawick. It's such a treat for us all to be immersed in textile talk, and I have so much more to look forward to!