Friday, 31 December 2010


Remembering you all from the land of spices and sweets.
Am thankful today:
for art to have come into my life,
for all you wonderful people -
for your love, support.
Am inspired,
to go forward and explore:
there is so much more to be seen and felt.
The date on the canvas changes again,
for whatever happened
and whatever did not;
no regrets,
no expectations:
there is a long way ahead;
the journey is the destination indeed.
Am thankful today.

Best wishes for the new year,
as Coelho says, 'May the universe conspire
to make all your dreams come true'.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Random nice 'Kolkata' things

As you can guess, I am indulging shamelessly in the
little pleasures of home, here are some snapshots
from what life is like right now :) :

This was the first photo I took after coming home,
fresh roses from our garden in a vintage vase.
The glorious morning sun kisses the walls in my room every morning,
a welcome change from Geneva's snow and harsh winter.
Leisurely evenings spent with friends and family,
with delicious Bengali food and adda....
...with only one rule to follow - one must completely lose track of time.
Speaking of food , below is one of the gems of Bengali cuisine, the Luchi.
Mom's luchis are the world's best, I had 15 of these in one go, shhhhh.

As a thank you for your feedback on the last post,
here are the photos of the good stuff
that I picked up from the Saras Mela.

Ethnic character dolls from the Katwa region,
Bardhamaan (my home) District (West Bengal)
quite the family tree there (with the family pet - the wise owl).
A cute little Maa Durga patachitra by Tapan Chitrakar
from Naya, Midnapur district. I think
I'll take Her back to him to have the Goddess's weapons added (!).
Here is my favourite, a Durga painting (the second one from left)
that I collected from Madhu Chitrakar. Love his work.
Handmade and painted tiny wooden temple of
Shree Jagannath, form of Lord Krishna, from Orissa.
This is another rendition of Lord Jagannath, hand-painted on a coconut shell.
A leather puppet from Andhra Pradesh, I like how feisty she looks
and holds her hair - almost as if she is getting ready to fight.
Here is nice post on Tholu Bommalata,
(Tholu – leather, Bommalata – puppet dance).
Handmade papier-mâché masks from Orissa:
faces of Gods and Goddesses painted in a traditional folk style.
These I collected from an Christmas special exhibition
called Burra Din organized by the
Meeting all these artists and now being surrounded by their art
is hugely inspirational. So I made a quick trip to
my favourite art supply store in town.
This is the first drawing. Ganeshji with four hands,
seated in a lotus with the backdrop of
water, trees and snow-capped mountains.
Shot in different lights,
the first snap is truest to the original page colour.

Hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season.
Live it up and stay safe.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Saras Mela - the Indian handmade paradise

Hello readers! How have you been?
I couldn't keep away from Deezden and you guys
as I have so much of the blissful stuff
(read: sights and sounds from Kol) to share!
One of the wonderful things about winter in India is that melas are organized,
many of them showcasing handcrafted goodies,
art (folk and traditional) and sumptuous local street food.
We visited the Saras Mela 2010,
an exhibition of rural artisans from all over India.
It was such a treat for the senses -
I'll let the photographs do the talking.
Right outside the main entrance, there was
this cutest mustard-yellow painted bhelpuri mobile store.
In a way this cart symbolizes one of the biggest weaknesses
of my life, a k a, Kolkata street food!
The festive welcome decor was bursting with colour.
They have hung terracotta bell-shapes that
looked to me like locally used chai cups we call bhars.
The fair is choc-a-block with handcrafted jewellery and beads,
as you can see, a brilliant riot of colours....
A baul selling the Iktaras (the one-stringed instruments)
taught me a thing or two about how to string and play it!
Leather handmade puppets from Andhra Pradesh,
we got home some delightful ones from the Ramayana series.
Handcrafted wooden toys from Bengal - unadulterated joy,
makes me wanna be a kid again whenever I see these.
Clay dolls in seemingly gaudy florescent colours,
wrapped in cellophane paper, included figurines of
a Bengali bride and groom, Hindu Gods and Goddesses,
freedom fighters and national heroes, saints,
even Charlie Chaplin and a certain
French blonde mademoiselle with her blue chapeau,
I heart them.
Wood-and-cloth puppets from Rajasthan -
in characters such as the snake charmer, the warrior,
the desert folk dancer, etc. in traditional costumes.
Then there were the handwoven and hand-embroidered
textiles from across the country. Here is one my favourite pieces from the fair:
Ikkat, the traditional handloom from Orissa,
this beautifully red piece bears Jagannath-ji in its delicate weave.
The hand embroidered shawls and jackets from Jammu & Kashmir
- wow craftsmanship, patterns and colours!
Each of these shawls take over a month to make.
This following stores from Rajasthan were filled with
adorable mobiles, decorations and bangles....
Finally coming to what was surely, for me, the best part of the fair:
let me introduce to you some of the delightful artists
that I had the chance to meet at the fair and
share with you their gorgeous work.
A Madhubani artist stands in front of her display,
said she made art along with a group
of eleven other female artists from her village,
every day after the day's chores are all done.
Bravo ladies, for your dedication, talent,
hard-work and entrepreneurship.
The Chitrakars (Patachitra artists) from Naya
made our visit super special. They have travelled all the way from Midnapur
after wrapping up the Pat-Maya Festival about a month ago.
Here is a photo of Tapan Chitrakar at work:
...and here, the fruit of his labour:
His daughter, a very bright young lady,
sings beautifully as she narrates one of her
father's compositions, titled ' The wedding of a (certain
Bengali) fish' in the traditional folk style.
Later on in the evening, she went up on stage and performed
in front of a large audience with her father's artwork.
The very talented Moyna Chitrakar is a feisty lady
who is carrying on her family tradition, against all odds.
(Moyna standing in the second photograph in front of
a painting made by her grandfather).
And one would see that her work is so well complimented
by her artist husband Maleek Chitrakar,
who always greets you with a smile and
very patiently explains the nuances of their compositions.
He did a beautiful narration of one of their
joint compositions, an ancient Bengali folk tale.
Art for these people is a way of life,
an invaluable heirloom that they fight to guard, nurture
and pass on to the next generation.
This is art that empowers, educates and inspires.

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did making it.
Stay inspired, stay happy.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Shree Hanuman sketch

I'll be leaving for India next Thursday, the 9th of Dec,
will be back in Feb.
I'll try to blog from India, but you know how
crazy it gets when you go home after 2 long years :)
Much love to all DEEZDEN readers,
for the unconditional love, support, all the emails you write to me
and all the orders you placed with in 2010.
For those of you who didn't know,
here is my FB page, drop by to get shop updates or just a 'hi' :)
Love and hugs x

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