28Feb/130

Wonderful Day Full of Forts/Temples/Blocks….and these holes in the head!

Posted by Sermarr

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I am only going to say a little about the day and will put up the other pictures tomorrow.  I went to the Amber Fort and walked up by the elephants who were carrying the other tourists.  Then to the block printing museum.  Then to the block maker and that's where I got these holes in the head (it actually felt very strange to see him grabbing my block head with his feet and then putting holes in my head and eye); then a Jain temple while the block guys finished their work, then back for the blocks, then to Jaykirti's to see the work underway and saw a Fashion Fusion dress made up and a lot of sarees.  Then home.  So here is the preview of my holes in the head.

27Feb/130

Jaykirti Saree Update….More and Varied

Posted by Sermarr

While I sat in the corner working on trying to get my embroidery to work, the block printers and tailors were printing and sewing away.  Here are some of the beautiful fabrics that were made today.  I never get tired of all the beautiful colors and use of the different blocks.  Enjoy!!Jaykirti's sarees 4 Jaykirti's sarees 7 Jaykirti's sarees 8 Jaykirti's sarees 9

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27Feb/132

Fashion Fusion/Sermarr Fabric Being Printed

Posted by Sermarr

Jaykirti is making some  clothes out of the fabric you see here.  The fabric is made of two palm prints that I got made by the block maker and have used in art pieces. (talk about the hand of the artist in the work!!)   Jaykirti really likes them and so is having fabric made so clothes can be made out of them for the Delhi Exhibition she's going to next week.  Hooooraaay for Fashion Fusion.  Can't wait to see what gets made from them.

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27Feb/130

Photos of the Artist/ArtInn/Devena/Daisy/Trivia

Posted by Sermarr

ArtInn pictures 5 ArtInn pictures 9DSCN3650 DSCN3737 DSCN3561 DSCN3562 DSCN3768Here are a few photos to see some normal things here:  Devena next to the huge hibiscus tree that is in flower now, Daisy under the same tree.  Your friend the artist with her blue bag  ready to walk to Jaykirti's;   Some grocery things: fenugreek greens, which I absolutely love cooked as a vegetable or in filled rotis, the bags that are used in the grocery which are made out of magazine pages pasted together (India has banned the use of plastic bags in groceries...glad to see they are not going to make the mistake we've made in the U.S.) and lastly cows grazing on the side of the road.

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27Feb/130

Most Difficult Embroidery Lesson Begun

Posted by Sermarr

This is RJ....I don't know the Indian spelling but  that's the way it sounds.  He is the embroiderer extraordinaire at Jaykirti's; here he is at his embroidery table.  He is now teaching me how to do one of most difficult stitches since I've done gold flowers.  It is the same thing that a sewing machine does.....you push a small metal pole with a very small hook at the end...kind of like a crochet hook but the words VERY SMALL really apply.  The hook goes down into the cloth where you have waiting a thread that you wrap around the hook till it catches the thread; then you pull the hook up turning it at the top and it is captured in the last loop that you pulled up.  There is no way to describe what subtle shifts in thread tension, angle of the metal pole, turn of the hook as it comes up through the material.. Every one there says how difficult it is and why do I want to learn it....I guess the stubborn part of me wants to learn it because they keep saying how difficult it is and I want to see if I can do it.  I also think that this stitch will be wonderful on some of my pieces.  When you are good at this, like RJ, you use beautiful embroidery thread, not this white stuff and build densely packed flowers and things.  So here is my beginner example.  Somehow the pictures do not capture how this works...but I did get  better and then worse and then better as most people do with very new things

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26Feb/132

Hand Painted Silk Pillows by Jaykirti…New LIne

Posted by Sermarr

So the new idea that Jaykirti is following is having silk pillow covers handpainted and then have the pillow backs made to match them...These hand painted birds are spectacular!!!! Most are extinct...and gorgeous....See what you think...and Jaykirti has asked what these might cost in the US....so please give us some help.Jaykirti's Bird Pillows 1 Jaykirti's Bird Pillows 5 Jaykirti's Bird Pillows 3 Jaykirti's Bird Pillows 4 Jaykirti's Bird Pillows 2 Jaykirti's Bird Pillows 7

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26Feb/130

Tie and Dye Lesson!! Only 60 thread revolutions per lentil!!

Posted by Sermarr

And in the afternoons, after my embroidery stint, the dyer who makes those wonderful multi-hued saree materials you just saw, comes to teach me tie and dye.  We started with a pile of small pulses, about the size of lentils.  We then put them in cloth and wrap 60 revolutions of thread around the throat of the cloth that they are encased in...and the young man says, "more" or "tighter" or "ok"; and so more revolutions almost like tying flies for trout fishing except you're tying them with your fingers not a vise and forceps.  And after about three of these, your fingers begin to be abraded and after 20 of them they feel blistered.  And then more and more.  So here are the pulses (on commenting on how small they are, I was told that they also use mustard seeds), the tied up pulses and then us dying them pink.  Then opened up so we can see the blue material that the more and tighter threads protected from the pink dye leaving those blue squares.

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26Feb/130

Embroidery Lessons…I need a new pair of eyes!!

Posted by Sermarr

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So I am now an embroiderer-in-training.  The embroiderer specialist at Jaykirti's is training me to make gorgeous golden flowers with gorgeous golden threads.  The thread alone is a revelation.  There are two golden threads that are springy and look like golden chains that you would wear...but they are indeed hollow inside.  That way you can cut them up and use them to make these beautiful designs.  The needle that I use has an eye that is so small that you have to cut the thread on a diagonal to get it to fit through the eye.  And in fluorescent lighting with older eyes getting it to fit into the eye is a low payout crap shoot.  Each time I almooooossst get it in there and then it falls out...So I'm getting better at guessing, but it is still a less than precise thing.  And frustrating...yes!  So here are some of my creations...and you can see the size of the golden threads.  This is about two days worth of work...counting the time over the weekend when I worked on it.  And for comparison is the work at the end which is the work of my teacher, a young man with very good eyes and a sense of humor.

26Feb/130

Jaykirti’s Shop Hits Top Speed..See the Sarees!

Posted by Sermarr

Today and yesterday were very busy days in the workshop as the sarees are being printed now.  They need the whole tables as sarees are about 17 feet long.  Most of them are tie and dye with subtle shading and multiple colors.  And of the most sheer chiffons, etc.  Enjoy, you fashion mavens!!

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23Feb/130

Old As The Hills…New Piece

Posted by Sermarr

This is the final piece that I will get to do for about a week while I switch to learning more embroidery and then .....ta-dah....tie and dye.  And while Jaykirti cranks up the work to get the final push done to get things ready for the exhibition in Delhi.   How I start a new work is this:  I ask Jaykirti for some length and weight of fabric which is usually a medium weight cotton muslin (I think); then I or one of them pins it precisely to the table so it is stretched taut and all the wrinkles are out...this is one pin for every 3 to 4 inches around the sides-bottom and then top and then sides to get it precisely stretched.  Here's where having all those layers of jute really helps because you can just stick the pin in  and down into these layers with no trouble. Then I think for a moment about whatever has been going on and something starts to assemble....pieces come up out of my treasure trove under the table and then I look at the colors to select what will work with the pieces that seem to want to be used.  Here are some of the trays of colors I get to choose from.  In a way it's just like my paint stand at home where all the paints are held up in lines so I can see the colors easily and then the selection from how they strike me;  then I just ....GO! hoping that whatever is in there will show up...I used to worry what if nothing shows up....but I've long ago lost that thought.  Usually at home in my studio, I crank up the music so I can't hear myself thinking about what to do....the music seems to block the left brain off and just gives a rhythm to it all.  Here I listen to the Hindi songs on the radio and sometimes they sing along. After it's finished, it's hung over the wall of the block workshop to dry so I've enclosed a picture of that too.

So here's what showed up today...I think it's because there were all these articles in the newspaper about old rivalries in India/Pakistan and Africa where people have had fights over land and election results and a lot of people, just ordinary going-about-their-work people, get killed over and over.  It's like the stone age in terms of how to resolve conflict but each side is sure that they're right and sure that the other one started it.  I also have been reading Indian Mahabharata which shows again and again how brothers/cousins etc fight each other over land, promises, women, who's the best archer, etc.  Somehow it is so old, it seems old. One of the things that I like about these last pieces is that they exhibit what I've been trying to do which is merge the traditional and the modern.  Here the background gives the "order" or traditional feel of the setting (look at my improved block printing!!) and then the modern is displayed in front of it....playing out now against the past....the borders are also traditional and set the tone for the playing field...or in this case, fighting field.  And the hands add the personal visual vocabulary that I've been trying to add....a human comment....and this one has them all.  And now they seem to flow more easily without thinking about it....just doing it.  So I'm glad that I'm stopping for a week on this note

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