All posts filed under: Art & Culture

books, plays, events, arts

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The Penland Diaries: Washing dishes and making them

From washing dishes to making them has been the tagline of these last few days. And I’m borrowing and modifying the phrase from my very talented sister Ranjita (who used to be a chef and is now a potter) who says she went from: “Making dishes to making dishes”. Exhausting. Hectic. Overwhelming. Intense. Fantastic. A few words to sum up my experience at Penland so far. Time flies when you’re having fun and it really did. I have no idea how 10 days went by–it’s like one of those sprint races with Usain Bolt. It’s over before it started. The 18 member group worked at breakneck speed to fire “Rosie”, Penland’s three-chambered wood kiln. After 24 hours of stoking and firing, making sure all the three chambers were heated up, we stopped a bit past midnight on Wednesday. It was a first time for me working together with a team to fire a wood kiln and it was memorable. Now, I can see the reason why people fire these things. It’s tough and challenging–I still …

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The Penland Diaries: Arriving and settling in

The Penland School of Crafts has been on my “wish” list for a few years now. In 2013, when I was visiting friends in Virginia, I did a 2 month ceramics course down at Manassas. Around that time, I happened to chance upon the school and the workshops it offers and instantly put it down as something I’d like to try and do someday. Workshops are on a wide variety of mediums—glass, metal, wood, drawing, painting, clay – check out the current workshops and also future ones here. A peek at some of the workshops During the last year I’ve been able to explore both jewelry making and ceramics to a greater extent with access to more resources than I had earlier. Some of the artistes I’ve been able to learn from are Edith Schneider (jewelry), Elaine Pinkernell, Linda Mau and Jamie Meador—all three being fantastic handbuilders. And then towards the beginning of the year, I was browsing and came across a link asking those interested to apply for the summer sessions that would be …

Arts & Crafts of Nirona

Rustic and unique: A glimpse into the crafts of Nirona

It’s a sunny day when the taxi driver pulls up in a rather non-descript looking village and drops me in front of an ATM. I don’t really see what he wants me to see. Yet. And then I see this guy, holding a smart phone, standing beside the ATM and I realize that there’s some invisible pact that my taxi driver and this person are already a part of. I don’t want to know too much. He comes forward and leads me on to my first stop in Nirona village. I am a few days into my Gujarat trip, starting from Bhuj and today my aim is discovering arts and crafts. I’ve always been inclined towards handmade and anything time consuming and local. And Gujarat is well-known for its variety when it comes to crafts so I won’t run out of things to see and experience. Craft is a truly fascinating domain. When machines and robots have taken over, there is even more charm to something handmade. Some call it a dying art, which some …

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Ancient connections to come alive through “Ghadai”, an initiative by the Kumbhars (potters) of Kutch

The arts and crafts from the Kutch region are well known today. There is a lot of interest in the fabrics, the weaves, the prints, silver jewellery, copper artifacts and these products are in demand not only in India, but all over the world. Yet, one craft which is not getting the focus and appreciation it deserves is pottery. Reviving the ancient art of Kutch pottery The history of pottery in the Kutch region dates back 5000 years at least. Pottery products have been excavated from the archaelogical site of Dholavira, an ancient city belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation. Talking to Meera Goradia, the director of the Kutch-based NGO KHAMIR, I get to know a little more about the efforts being taken to bring alive the tradition of potters in the region. There are many who have stopped their craft, mainly due to a loss in livelihood. In some villages, the potter’s wheel now lies unturned. Yet in others, there is renewed interest as the craft has also started integrating aspects of newer and …

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Jane Jacobs themed photo walk in Bangalore on May 4

Came across this interesting concept called Jane’s Walk, named after Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), an urbanist and activist, whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. More about the walk: Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers. And who is this walk targeted at? According to the website, “Everyone knows something about where they live. Every perspective is important to building vibrant and healthy cities.” This walk is intended for: — Anyone who enjoys getting to know their city and neighbours. — People who want to participate in meaningful conversations about the social and built future of their neighbourhoods. — People engaged in the work of building cohesive communities and improving the walking environment. — People who want to change their cities and neighbourhoods, for example to narrow …

Happy in Kerala!

Finding happiness in Kerala!

Pharrell Williams set off a really large happy virus when he released his “Happy” song. Now there thousands of versions around the world now with everyone hooked into making their own videos and if you haven’t starred in one yet, make sure you do it quickly. It’s catchy, fun and good for your soul! We made one during the Kerala trip, thanks to the camera work of Anthony, who’s captured some amazing shots of us dancing (and trying to dance) to the tune in scenic locations during our 15 day journey. Well, it’s difficult not to be happy in Kerala! And go make your own happy video now!