Let’s seek some INSPIRATION!!!

Before I start anything, whether it is re-decorating my room or revamping my closet for the season, I do myself a favor and create an inspiration board. LOVE is the word I would use to describe an inspiration board as it is the perfect place to stick all my favorite magazine cutouts, quotes and other pictures. Not only do these boards help build my excitement for the task at hand but is also a way to do some visual mind mapping. However, when it came to making an inspiration board for my Dhokra project, I was surprisingly blank. Usually, I put on colorful magazine cut outs, quotes, fabric scraps, beads, glitter and basically anything I can get my hands on. Plus, to my dismay, dhokra is certainly not the most colorful. After a lot of thinking and flipping of pages at the library, I finally made a list of the elements of Dhokra I would like to represent. The list included: animals, figurines, the detailed meshes, jewelry on the figurines and decorative embellishments used. Thereafter, I started collecting parallel images and in no time, my inspiration board glittered gold.

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I used images of a Dhokra turtle, elephant and cattle as these are commonly represented in this craft. The tall slender figurines are also a common element. Next, I decided to zoom into the intricate detailed aspect of the product.

Mesmerized: What is Dhokra?

I was sixteen years old when I was first introduced to the mesmerizing craft of Dhokra. The craft pieces created by the visiting Dhokra artisans at school left me spell bound. All I wondered was; what is Dhokra and where does it come from?

The Bronze Age on the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BC when inhabitants of the Indus Valley started developing new techniques in metallurgy. Dhokra is non-ferrous metal casting using the lost wax casting technique amongst some aboriginal nomadic tribes of eastern India. It is also known as “Cire Perdue” in French. Apart from India, this technique is also quite common in Egypt, China and Greece.

In India, the craft got its name from the “Dhokra Damar” tribe of Eastern India. This nomadic tribe hence moved along the eastern belt in search of raw materials like copper/bronze and finally settled in Chattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal. The most common models of the Dhokra craft are animals (such as horses, elephants, turtles, owls, etc.), human figurines and also some modern dhokra jewelry.

Stay tuned until next time to delve deeper into the history of the whereabouts of Dhokra with me.

 

-International Journal Of History And Cultural Studies (Ijhcs), Issn Print: 2454-7646, Issn Online: 2454-7654, Volume 1, Issue 3, Oct – Dec 2015, Pp 31-33, and Www.arcjournals.org. Dhokra: A Traditional Craft of Rural India (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Conflict: Various Options and One Decision!

Module three for the Foundation Level at Pearl Academy requires research and exploration at its core with a final outcome of swatches inspired by the essence derived from our topic. Now this is exactly what I enjoy to the utmost. Introduction to the module and this fascinating project started with the disclosure of 5 themes, namely,

  • Indian/International Craft – Crafts originated and produced within India or Internationally (history, geography, origin, process and purpose of production, commercial use)
  • Folk Art – includes art produced in cultural isolation by untrained or partially skilled artisans
  • Tribal Art – includes artifacts created by people living in isolated tribal groups
  • Design Movements – when trends, economic, social or political conditions influence artists of a particular time perio to introduce a new concept into the art world that changes/influences the dynamics of the industry
  • Biomimicry – it is taking inspiration from the biological environment to create a design with similar characteristics as a natural being

After subjecting my brain to what seemed like a huge battle, I narrowed down to three subcategories, namely:

  • Indian Craft – Dhokra
  • Folk Art – Rangoli
  • Design Movement – Bauhaus

Although Google seems to be the primary information provider to make a choice in today’s digital world, a visit to the college library seemed like the ideal way to begin. While all the shortlisted topics were intriguing, Dhokra enthralled me the most as I had already attended a workshop for the same in school. A visit to Delhi Haat ended up in a fair amount of time being spent at the Dhokra stall, interacting with the artisans and carefully observing and photographing the final products.  By the end of the visit, I had cherry-picked this 4000-year-old non-ferrous metal casting technique, Dhokra as my topic, as the process and evolution of this craft intrigued me to delve further.

The Ultimate Debate: What is the difference between Art, Craft and Design?

Till date, many people debate about the things that differentiate art, craft and design from one another. Artists, craftsmen and designers all create visually appealing products using a set of techniques, however, the purpose for all three differs. Having spent an entire semester as an Art and Design Foundation student at Pearl Academy, my understanding of the differences is as follows:

A work of art is usually a reflection of the artist’s pool of thoughts and emotions that give rise to an artistic outcome. The art piece may be inspired by an event in the artist’s life or it may be communicating the artist’s personal opinion on a particular topic. The purpose of an art piece is to usually form an emotional connection with the audience, pushing them to question things, so that they are either emotionally moved by it or inspired by it.

On one hand where art does not have any particular function to cater to, design is produced to cater to a particular function. It is need based.

Instead, craft is structured and has a definite tangible outcome. It is usually a prolongation of the traditional techniques passed down from one generation to another.

These were just some of my thoughts on the topic. What are yours? Please do share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s strike a discussion right here.

Age of Adaline – Review

For most women today, not aging would seem like the greatest blessing from God. Imagine you could hold and preserve your youth and beauty for the rest of your life. But what would life be like if you just stopped changing? If you became immortal?

“The Age of Adaline” has an interesting take on the subject. Preserving one’s youth and beauty is only one aspect but would one be willing to see their loved ones grow old and complete and fade away? This exactly the dillema Blake Lively faces as Adaline Bowman in this film.

Adaline Bowman who is born in 1908, is living a normal life with her young daughter when she meets with a fatal accident which cause some chemical reactions in her body changing her genome making it impossible for her to age. Although there is no scientific explanation for this concept, the makers smartly justify the subject by saying that this will scientifically be discovered only in 2035. As time passes, it becomes difficult with each passing day to explain the reason for her agelessness to the people around her, hence she gets into the routine of shifting base and renewing her identity each decade. Not keeping in touch with anyone form the past except for her daughter and a blind friend and refraining from getting her photographs clicked help to keep this act realistic.

The sets and costume show a clear contrast from the past to the present day. The way Lively dresses in the movie is what shows the contrast and how she has adapted to the change over the years. The screenplay is interesting but it only grips the viewer more firmly when we get to see the vulnerabilities of Adaline in scenes with her daughter as well as with her love interest, Ellis who she cannot resist but fall for. The story only gets more interesting as Ellis’ father turns out to be Adaline’s long lost lover whom she had forbidden due to her secret.

The logic given may have some loopholes and is questionable but the story does come a full circle at the end of the narrative.

Tarun Tahiliani at the India Couture Week – Review

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Tarun Tahiliani showcased his collection at The India Couture Week 2016 where he payed tribute to the Indian courtesans who were the highest upholders of culture, poetry, dance and finesse who led the fashion scene of their times.

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Sufi Kathak dancer Manjari Chaturvedi was adorned in a peach-pink lehenga choli embellished in Swaroski crystals as she splendidly brought alive the inspiration behind this collection with her “Darbari Kathak” representing ‘The Dance of the Courtesan’ at the commencement and end of the showcasing.

Furthermore, for me, the beautifully designed and well thought out set consisting of a huge crystal chandelier, worn our mirrored pillars on either side of the ramp and mogra flowers looming from the ceiling helped in transporting us to the era of the courtesans and their court.

In his collection, “The Last Dance of the Courtesans”, models walked down the ramp in suits, sarees, lehengas, lehenga-sarees, sherwanis, all in pastel hues of cream, ombre, red, ivory, blush pink and black. The use of the color black in an Indian bridal collection is especially noteworthy as in the Indian context, a bride wearing black on her wedding day is usually considered inauspicious.

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What is interesting is that the collection shows the possibility of keeping traditional bridal outfits contemporary and light weighted but with inspirations drawn from the finery of the courtesans. Tahiliani has created his designs by taking references from the past bust for the present contemporary women. He used fabrics like tulle, silk and brocade mixed with fine thread work which worked exceptionally well with the contemporary cuts. The use of different shapes and sizes of the Swarovski crystals embellished on the outfits made even the pastel colored outfits glimmer.

 

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What stood out the most to me was a heavy bridal lehenga in pale gold with red embroidery showing a complete scene of a Mughal darbaar hand embroidered intricately onto the bottom of the skirt.

Tahiliani teamed his outfits with side-buns with a flower on the side, makeup and nose rings, bringing out the grace and subtly showcased by the courtesans.