Sunday, November 29, 2009

Folk painting from Bengal

Today I am going to show you some folk painting from Bengal. Bengal is very famous for its Kantha work, beautiful cottons and silk textiles, Batiks and  terracotta among many. But very few know that it is also famous for its paintings specially on fabrics. The motifs and designs are of coarse folk, but have been beautifully adopted to suit the modern tastes.They are so beautiful, especially on silks not that the cottons are any less.

The fabrics used are basically silks and them fine cottons. These days they are using fabric colours or dyes for painting.

This sari was painted using fabric paints. I have used a fine cotton sari . I was apprehensive of using costly silks. Though I am passionate about painting, especially on fabrics and used to experiment  a lot, my   painting skills  are very limited and  I have picked up my brush again after a very long time. The design - I have shamelessly copied from one on my friends sari which she bought on a trip to Kolkotta. I could not come any where near the original one painted by the artist from Bengal. It was so beautiful that I copied the design, but I think I have failed to capture it as it was.

Here it is...
This is the pallu showing Lord Krishna...with his beautiful lotus eyes and peacock feathers...
 Closeup look
 Another one
 Motifs worked on the other part of the sari
Different motifs.

With all my other obligations, I took a long time in painting this. It was  difficult since I was copying the design and wanted it to look like the original..LOL! I dont think I want to do any more of these elaborate ones..though I am passionate about painting...

Friday, November 27, 2009


Indian women since ancient times like to adorn themselves with jewelery-whether made of precious metals like gold silver or gems. In ancient times the queens or princes or even the rich women had what we call "Edu Varala Nagalu". Edu in Telugu means seven, Varalu means day and Nagalu means jewelry. That is they had one entire set of jewelry for each day of the week. Apart from them, they had other special pieces which were worn on ceremonies or special occasion. Sathybhama, one of the wives of Lord Krishna had in fact so many precious jewels to wear. She was very proud of her riches and used to be very egoistic; so much so that the Lord had to teach her a lesson to be hum,ble. I will try to post separately on different pieces of jewelry that were worn.

Anyway we Andhra women also do not lag behind in adorning ourselves. One of the pieces of jewelry which is worn on the feet is the Anklets known as Gajjelu in Telugu or Payal in Hindi. These are chain type or flexible and are worn by sophisticated and rich women . Anklets are usually made of silver studded with precious/semi precious stones, pearls, beads etc. Gold is also used by the rich.

Another type is Kadiyalu which are stiff circular type. These are worn by the rural folk. They are very simple heavy but I love the authentic rural designs. I want to own one. But haven't got a chance to do so yet.

Here are a few of the ones I own. Photographing them was very difficult as they are shiny and dont photograph well.

This is one simple designed.

This is a bit broad with few sotnes.

This is studded with stones

This is plain gold one

This one has pearls though not so precious ones.

This is studded with stones and little Meena kari work-that is enamel painted green and red leaves.
I do have some more but photographing them is very difficult as they reflect light. But will try to share with you all some other time .

Hope you liked them...please post your comments...

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Remembering 26/11

The day..26th of November 2008 ...can any Indian forget? All of us still remember the events as if it just happened yesterday. Terrorist attacks in Mumbai killing so many people and officers, the whole nation in fact the whole world watched the horror..we just could not sleep. All of my family friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbors were glued to our TV sets and  just watched through the horrific incidents unfolding in front of our eyes.

Unbelievable, agitated, frustrated, angered and what else? There are no words to descibe our feelings at that time. Even today, its a wound not healed.

May the souls of all those who lost their lives during the events rest in peace. Some of our best officers lost their lives fighting for the country on that day. May their souls rest in peace and May God give the stregth to their families in coping up with their losses.

My family, friends and relatives have assembled at my place to pray for all those people who lost their lives or lost their kith, kin or friends and are grieving.

In this hour we need to join hands across the various barriers of caste, creed, race, culture, languages, and countries and any other differences to stay united and pray for peace and happiness. We are all humans and thus ONE. We have a right to happiness and peace. Say NO to Violence be it any type, NO to Discrimination being any type and NO to Terrorism.  Let us all resolve our petty differences, being God's creation and stay together. We Indians believe in Vasudaiva Kutumbikam ie Universal family...after all world is but a huge family......

There are so many other issues like poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, diseases, pollution, saving our planet and so many more against which we have to fight. Why waste our time, energies and precious resources in all other petty issues?

Let us join hands to make this planet a beautiful place to live in...just by doing what ever little we can every day every it a small word of kindness..a small hand stretched forward to help the down trodden......a little smile to gladden a heart which is grieving, a little pat on the back ..a finger to wipe away the tears..a hug....just a little.... just a second ....but it can make a BIG difference....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Batik is a traditional dyeing technique. Wax is used to resist the colour(s) to form the design. Its quite laborious. But history reveals that there were proofs of using this technique by Egyptians as early as 4th century BC to produce cloth for wrapping mummies. This art is found in Java Indonesia, Malaysia, China Japan, India and Africa. But the most popular ones are from Java.

The word "Batik" is said to originate from Java. It is pronounced as "Bateek". It means written with wax.

The procedure involves use of hot wax. One has to work very quickly and efficiently since the wax keeps on solidifying.

But the beauty in this art depends on the fact that one need not be a great artist. Just  basic skills of drawing or sketching can be enough. First planning and making a sketch and then using the design is ok, but then many a time just being spontaneous produces some beautiful pieces.

Generally natural fabrics like pure cotton or silk cloth is used. Any natural fiber like jute or linen are also fine. The synthetic ones wont dye properly. The finer the cloth, the intricate the design. But silks are expensive and difficult to handle for the beginners. Fine cottons are there fore extensively used.

A mixture of Bee wax and Paraffin wax is used. Bee wax has the tendency to seep into the cloth thereby attaching itself to the cloth. Paraffin wax is very brittle and cracks easily, helps in producing the crackling effect for which the Batik so famous for. An ideal mix would be 30: 70, but it can be varied to suit the design and the effect.

The cloth is fixed to a frame to keep it taut. After tracing the design, hot wax is applied with brush in those areas where the colour to be dyed is not required. Once the areas in the design are filled, the cloth is wrinkled to produce the crackling effect. Then it is dyed, obviously in cold dyes as hot ones melt the wax. Once dipped in dye, its not squeezed but let to dry naturally. This process of applying wax in unwanted areas and dyeing is continued till required design is got. Then its is dipped in hot water to get rid of the wax.

In India, West Bengal is very famous for its Batiks. Wall hangings, bedsheets, pillow cases, dresses made out of these materials and especially saris and blouses are quite famous. Sometime ago I visited one of the exhibitions conducted by our textile ministry and happened to pick up some Batik blouses. I also have some saris, but need to photograph them. I just cant resist a beautiful Batik. These two here are blouses.

See this combination of green and black. this design is on the sleeves.

Here see the design on the neck. So beautiful.

This is a dark purple, and design is on the neck line.

These are the sleeves.

This one here is a long kurtha or tunic with mirror work. See the paisley design.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We all know what patch work is. Especially those doing quilts know much more than me. In India too patch work has been used traditionally for long. But today I am not touching that.

Today I am only talking about the contemporary patch work, that's been storming the Indian fashion scene. Especially Saris are being adorned with various patch work. The patches are added using machine stitching. Ofcourse attaching by hand is time consuming for a six meters Sari. Now the simplest form is adding patches in different shapes like flowers, squares, circles, triangles and so on. The patches can be plain or printed.

But the creative minds add embellishment on the patches. It could be a simple embroidery using floss- running stitch, back stitch, herring bone and chain etc. Even the floss used could be ordinary cotton or silk, metallic threads or the coloured thread with gold in it.

Apart from this, kundans, coins, beads, mirrors and many such things are used to highlight the patches. I will share with you some of them here, as I dint have much time to photograph my saris. So will do them one by one as time permits:

Here is a sari I bought when I went to visit my cousins a few months back. Here I loved the combination of white and red. There was also white with black combination. But it was not as dramatic as this. A printed cloth has been used for the patches. The patches are square in shape. Interestingly the patches are surrounded by block prints.

This is the Pallu. A number of patches are used here as it can be quite clearly seen when that part is draped over the shoulder You can see the block printed border below the patches.

Here you can see the ribbon sized patch on both the edges of the sari along with the block printed design.

Here you can see the blouse made of matching printed material. I love this sari for its dramatic combination. The sari is made of cotton material and is good any time but more so in summer when the temperatures soar.

So how do you like it? Its very simple but elegant....

Blouses in Fashion

Blouses worn with saris are always a fashion statements. A sari can be worn with different blouses and look different: whether, matching in colour, print or design or in  contrast. The design of the neck, hands and back, embroidered with various materials and what not- creativity lies in our thoughts and lo each one is different and unique.

Off late women in India are going in for more gorgeous and intricately embroidered designer blouses. It is not a surprise to see some one wearing a fabulously done blouse which is much more costlier than the sari. Especially if one is wearing silks or brocades or tissues or any party wear for that matter, the designer blouses are the ones which draw our attention to the sari.

Here I am sharing with you, some of the ones I have. These are basically made of cotton material, block printed from Jaipur and embroidered with sequins. My friend  has a boutique. So she gets lots of fabrics. One day over a cup of tea, both of us happened to be going through the bits and pieces she had. So we used the bits and pieces to make some very fabulous blouses. Some of the sequins I stitched for fun but her skilled workers did most of the embroidery and in such a short time too. Of course we can buy them these days at various shops, a little bit costly but then they are beautiful.

See how the existing prints or stipes or other designs on the fabric are highlighted with sequins.Some time just thread is used to stitch, running stitch, chain, herringbone etc.

 Black and red with a round neck.

 This is the design on the back side. See the patch work on hands, neck and also the sequins highlighting the design  on the blouse.
  This one is a brown See the neck pattern.
 See the short sleeves and the work on it highlighting the existing print.
 See the square neck in front.
 This is how it looks on the front.
 Now see the beauty of this with different patches on the neck and back
 See the work on the sleeves.

 This is on the front side.

 The bright lemon yellow- I love the colour. This is on the back side.
 This is the front.

These blouses can be worn with any sari provided its not too jarring on the eye. I wear them generally with plain cotton saris. Silk and brocade pieces are also being used for these blouses with sequin work, coin work and other such embellishments. I will share some more when time permits.

Hope you have liked them. Please leave your comments.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My other blog

Friends I have started posting recipes on my other blog. Please do go through and let me know.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Spring Onion Flowers

I have shifted my vegetable carving to my other blog
Please watch the Spring Onion flower and leave your comments and suggestions.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Garden

Hi friends

After a spell of rains and my hard work in the garden the results are starting to show though slowly...

I am sharing the images with you. Hope you enjoy them.

First custard apple in my garden. The plant may be two or three years old. Way to go. In India custard apples grow in the wild near the villages and mountainous areas. They are harvested by the locals and sold by basket fulls quite cheap on the highways to the people passing through the way. Many a time when we visit these rural areas, we stop by, shamelessly bargain and buy the fruits. They are quite delicious and very nutritious since they grow naturally in the wilderness. No pesticides or manures are used. My mom and my brother in law love them. I do too. But the fruit contain a lot of seeds and eating involves a lot of hard work. LOL!
 Chillies grown in a pot. Gives a good crop. The plant is three years old.
 Red hibiscus. Actually it is blood red in colour, here the real colour has not come out well.
Pink Hibiscus. Flowers quite often.
Rose in any colour is beautiful. I love them

These are I think Crown of thorn flowers .
A visitor to my garden. Just the other day I was having early morning coffee in my garden, and happened to see this beauty. I had only my cell phone to capture it. The picture does not do justice to the real one. But I did not have time to rush in and bring out my camera.
This is the nest of a small bird. It had chicks in it. We discovered this in our potted palm quite by chance, built between two leaves. The birds abandoned it after some time when the chicks flew away and I cut off the lower leave to get a better view.

I have come across many a nest in my garden but could not photograph them as I dont want to disturb the residents there.

Its nice to know that I have some chirpy birds nesting in my garden. Hope I get some pictures of the little ones though.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Which woman does not like jewellery? We gals always have a thing for all such things. I don't much like to wear heavy ones. Most of the times I don't bother much with jewelery unless I am attending some weddings or other such ceremonies. But then I am interested in just admiring the jewellery pieces, designing them and updating myself on various new designs, fads and fashions.

Indians of coarse love gold. I am not going to talk about the traditional or jewellery made of precious metals which are quite costly. With gold touching the all time high price, I just don't understand how we can afford it.

Here are some Pearl sets. The pearls have been stringed with nylon wire. The pendants and ear rings are made of silver in the first one.
Here too the pendants and ear rings have been made of silver but plated with gold. You can see the corals and other coloured stones in the pendants and ear rings.

Any way I am going to show you some of the jewellery made from other materials, which are not only, beautiful and affordable but also quite unique.

This is made of terracotta. This is from Indonesia. Brought it in one of the world fairs. I love this simple design.
This is made of clay from Indonesia. I love the leaves. Goes well with dresses of greens and browns.

Now these are the terracotta necklaces from India. See the earrings and pendants of the same design. One of them is Swastika and the other is Ganesha. But I could not capture the details of the pendants or ear rings clearly. I am not a very good photographer even with a digital camera.

These ones below are made of jute and wooden beads. These are from Bengal India. There are many beautiful deigns in a variety of colours.

Now here one of the above is made of marble chips. These are from India. There are so many shades available in marble chip jewelery . The other one is made of stone beads and marble pendant. Again from India.

Some more beads of semi precious stones and marble chip jewelry below from India.Look at the lovely rainbow colours to match various colours of our dresses.

This is made of some black metal. These are tribal designs from India.

These ones below are made of silk thread. They have bangles and ear rings along with the necklace.These are from Rajasthan. Aren't they lovely? These can be custom made to match the colourful and rich silks one wear for parties and marriages.

I have still so many to share with you all. But need to photograph them. Will share with you some other time.

Please do leave your comments. How  have you felt after looking at some my collections? Please let me know...