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The Art of Textiles

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I remember visiting quite a while ago a small store in New Delhi’s tony Khan Market, on the first floor. Along with its amazing line of home furnishings which revived old school Indian needlework with global inspirations (i.e. French, Moroccan, Portuguese) were the wooden plank shelves which caught my fancy. On inquiring one came to know of the painstaking efforts taken to procure tracks from Indian Railway auctions for their wood which is ideal for furniture, weathered well and very sturdy.

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Warangal began with prayer rugs

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Getting festive ready I chanced upon Poludas Nagendra Satish’s Sutra Durrie. This led me to understand how earlier one could differentiate through designs of one village or weaver from the other. The cottage industry of durrie weaving in Warangal, Telengana can be recognized with its geometrical and angular designs in weft interlocking technique (both sides look the same). Here a large population consisted of skilled weavers and dyers. But the unofficial figures stated otherwise, that almost 50% of Padmasali community have left their ancestral vocation as the craft is too laborious, and provides little sustenance or dignity.

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The radical experimenter

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I had the opportunity to view Rooshad Shroff’s solo debut show – 15,556 Man Hours represented by Pundole Gallery earlier this year during the India Design Fair 2017 at Bikaner House, New Delhi. These were 26 pieces of furniture such as chairs, tables, benches, screens, daybed, and lighting in three distinct techniques – colour sanding, zardozi embroidery using french knots and monolithic marble hollowed and carved out. Being a big fan of handmade and crafts of India it was a sea change from other designed products, driving home his point of ‘authorship’.

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Its bold colours and graphic all the way

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Recently at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Textile India 2017 shed light on ‘Make in India’ initiative. So, without digressing much, I’d like to highlight ‘Made by an Indian’ who chooses to use these very same rich woven fabrics on foreign soil.

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Bringing to life the mundane in a village

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A young man striking a pose while enjoying music on the transistor by his buffalo, another one running after the birds in the fields, three young damsels making mayhem while sitting on a buffalo, buffaloes gloriously resting under a canopy glued to some blaring noise and many more colourful paintings recreate his rural imagery that gave me goosebumps; increasing my yearning to go back and relive a small town life.

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The art of handpainted Chintz

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Having missed the talk on ‘Exploring the Technology of Chintz : From buffalo milk to sheep dung and all the magic in between’ organized by Craft Revival Trust I couldn’t afford losing more time so I went directly to Art Motif Gallery, to witness Renuka Reddy’s chintz magic, first hand.

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Zuljanaha carries the burden of speed

Veer Munshi is a Kashmiri Hindu born in 1955, when India and Pakistan were in the process of demarcating their borders. Residing in Gurgaon, the artist works on socio-political themes by contemporizing traditional crafts by encouraging craftsmen in finding sustenance, through their long-established vocations. Inspired by his father who was an art teacher, Munshi majored in Fine Art from Maharaja Sayajiroa University of Baroda, deviating  from Bachelors of Arts in Economics & History, and his first love, law.

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High on period textiles

For this Diwali, while scouting around I discovered this treasure trove. It had been weeks since Salim Wazir and I, connected over facebook. As a local of Bhuj, Gujarat, he is probably one of the best guides to tell you about the regional food, architecture, arts and crafts etc. since 20 years; and a keen photographer of the ‘Jewel of Western India’.

I’d also like to draw your attention to his family’s museum quality textiles which are sure to inject good design sense in any living space, this festive season.

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20160329125942_img_0850_resizedBanjara Lambadi tribe textiles are A.A Wazir’s personal favorites which belong to Bellary, Karnataka.

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Shaping her thoughts with clay

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Seeking to unravel the alternate firing techniques with ceramic artist Shweta Mansingka, on one of the hottest days of the year, was like experiencing its high temperatures from the word go. I happily drove to a farmhouse in the outskirts of New Delhi in my dinky. Stuck in an election rally, reached my destination two hours later. Yet pleased to have made it, easily sunk into my seat once she began narrating her story of how clay found her at the age of 18.

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