Wednesday, 28 May 2014

S n i p p e t  *  9       B U T T O N    M A S A L A


Clothes without a stitch! 
By designer Anuj Sharma 

Anuj uses only buttons, rubber bands & at times button straps to create wearable garments. Reinvention, experimentation & giving in to the creative side are the bywords here.

See a very inventive undertaking by the Designer here: 1 piece of fabric & its 20 facets

Sunday, 25 May 2014

C L O T H E S      W i t h    a     D I F F E R E N C E

Indian Summers are varied & colorful. The plains are sweltering hot, hill stations cool. Some places have added humidity. North witnesses dust storms. Roads burn & its a luxury to be indoors during afternoons. All await Monsoons - a four month long play with rains in India!

Despite the heat and humidity, I am enjoying Summer for its fruits - Mangoes & Litchi :) This is the ideal time to drown oneself in cool fruit drinks. Check out Paperboat for some amazing Indian flavors.

And now for those of us rummaging for comfortable cottons to beat the summer heat, clothes with a difference, all the way from Thailand, by Cocoricooo. 

A team of six manages this label, that uses only natural fabrics - cotton, rayon, linen, silk. Working out of Chiang Mai, a beautiful mountain city in Thailand, the team derives inspiration from nature around it. 

Cocoricooo, to me is "Out of the box Designs". 
Be it Dresses, Tops or Bottoms (especially) one can see a new take on garment design & construction.

I particularly liked this shrug for its many 'avataars'!

Bottoms - neither a trouser nor a skirt! 
What shall we call this but pure Ingenuity..

Easy silhouettes and fine detailing are the hallmarks of this label. 
I love the flow & fall of these garments.

Don't you love their color palette - earthy in line with the natural fabrics they use. 

Again, a different take on winter coats. Still a few months away for those of us in the midst of summers to consider :)

Cocoricooo sells online through sites like Etsy & Dwanda.  
A great advantage is you get to choose from their fabric swatches, the color you would like the garment made in!

Go summer shopping here from Cocoricooo

All images: Cocoricooo
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Sunday, 18 May 2014

P L A Y F U L N E S S    P E R S O N I F I E D
Text: Hina Nitesh

If I said crochet and playgrounds in the same breath, I would probably get a blank expression from you. 

But just keep this is mind while I take you back to the time in design school when one of the creativity exercises involved magnifying and minimizing elements around us in order to find a hidden pattern and then applying it to a practical product. The results were amazing and till date I feel it is the best way to find a design solution. It is a great way to nurture the left side of the brain. 

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Now coming back to my opening sentence and linking it with the design exercise and I have for you a craft form that had been adopted similarly in a very ingenious way. Crochet is a knitting process that involves a small hook like needle that helps in knotting the thread to make a mesh pattern.

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Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, a Japanese textile designer knots the threads but only to end in creating play areas for children. It all started with a sculpture that she had knitted and exhibited in an art gallery. This attracted the children and they started playing in it – after all it all about perception and perspectives.

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From here on there was no looking back. Toshiko had always looked at ways in which her work could add value and these children had helped her discover that. She started knitting large crochet structures to be used as play spaces for children.

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Toshiko along with her husband Charles MacAdam established Interplay Design and Manufacturing Inc in Canada to develop and manufacture these crochet sculptures for play areas. These brightly coloured structures are a big hit with the children. 

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Complete with voids, loops and gently curving surfaces these structures do not have a fixed algorithm for playing. It is probably because of the encouragement that children get to discover their own way of playing and also bring their imagination into play. 
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To add to this is the fact that these structures are absolutely safe – the fibres stretch and are strong enough to accommodate a large gang of kids. Norihide Imagawa, a prominent structural designer from Japan engineers each project ensuring the safety of the sculpture.

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Toshiko has come a long way since her first project in 1979 but the concept continues to enthrall children even today.

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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

S n i p p e t  *  8      U N D E R    W A T E R
An awe inducing illustration (and rib tickling in places) that I bet all of us will enjoy spending 5 minutes over!

Note the depths that James Cameroon reached in DS Challeger and really how deep our deepest lakes look when put in perspective with the world's oceans..

Click here for a larger image 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

S n i p p e t * 7        S T O R Y T E L L E R S

Some of the fondest childhood memories 
for most of us would be of listening to stories lying in the comforting lap of our parents/ grandparents. 

The Pueblo People from New Mexico have given an endearing shape to this tradition, in Clay. Called the 'Storytellers', these Clay figurines portray a gaggle of kids, sprawled around and listening in utter joy to stories from their favorite adult. One of my most precious memories is of my Nana* singing portions from the Ramcharitmanas** to us during the summer breaks. 
 What about yours?!

*   Maternal Grandfather
** Also called the Ramayana of Tulsidas, an epic poem in 'Awadhi', that poetically retells events from the 'Sanskrit' Ramayana.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A R C H I T E C T U R E    to    i n s p i r e    ALL

 Text: Divya Agrawal

City life is challenging & invigorating yet chaotic and mechanical to an extent. After a recent daybreak to the outskirts for a trek, I felt rejuvenated. As I lay gazing at the night sky teeming with stars, far away from city lights, curiosity struck & technology came to aid. ‘Google sky maps’ helped out with the names of some brightly glowing stars & formations :)

Though the post that follows is about architecture, talking about stars I can’t resist sharing this bit about the Universe from Stephen Hawking’s 'The Universe in a Nutshell'. A 'Snippet' ;) that I’m sure all of us have observed, but perhaps rarely questioned.

The observation…that the night sky is dark, is very important. It implies that the Universe cannot have existed forever in the state we see today. Something must have happened in the past to make stars light up a finite time ago, which means that the light from very distant stars has not had time to reach us yet.”   

Simply put, the night sky, by virtue of it being dark, is evidence that the Universe was created, a finite time ago..

With this prelude to Nature & Technology, I bring to you today a masterpiece by acclaimed London based architect, Zaha Hadid. Located in Baku, Ajerbaijan and designed to be used as a Cultural Centre, the Heydar Aliyev Centre is a captivating amalgam of these two elements.

Image: DesignBoom

Image: Hufton + Crow
With curving forms & ornamental patterns of traditional Islamic Architecture as design inspiration, the architect has chosen to interpret the same in a firmly contemporary vocabulary – one that aspires to “express the sensibilities of Azeri culture and the optimism of a nation that looks to the future” Project Architect Saffet Kaya Bekiroglu

Image: Iwan Baan 

Reminiscent of forms from nature,  the building curves gracefully, rising from a beautifully landscaped plaza.


Image: DesignBoom

The spaces ensconced within are equally eclectic – an auditorium fashioned out of back lit ribs, seemingly suspended viewing balconies, gravity defying curves, to point a few…

Image: Interior Rendering of the Heydar Aliyev Centre
The building seamlessly integrates function, form & aesthetics. A concrete structure combines with space frames to create the skeleton. This is clad with plastic materials that allow for an effortless flow of the exterior form.

Image: DesignBoom

A masterpiece that will inspire many of us, for sure!

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Text & creative layout copyrights: Onthedesignboat  
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Sunday, 4 May 2014

S n i p p e t * 6           F O R     t h e    C H I L D    i n    M E

Some wood block play for the child in all of us :)  Shape makers, Face makers & others by MillerGoodman. 
Each cube has a different pattern on the six faces, making for endless design possibility.

David Goodman and Zoe Miller, the creators, are interested in "exploring the intersection between art and toys, and inspirational play is at the cornerstone of their practice".  David Goodman

 Indulge the child in you at their shop here.

Friday, 2 May 2014

T H E  W A L L  is my  C A N V A S

Text: Hina Nitesh

Sometime back we had done a feature on the Ndebele Art from South Africa which was well received. 
Since then I have itching to do a post on what India has to offer by the way of wall art. So here goes…

Like almost everything else in India, folk paintings too have a really really long tradition. They originated in rural and tribal India from the beliefs of people and almost always have a sacred connotation attached to them. Some types of traditional wall paintings are -

Pithoro Paintings

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Made by painters from the Rathava community of Baroda, these paintings are a means to appease Pithoro the God. When a person makes a wish, five dots are marked on a wall. If the wish is fulfilled, the artists are called to paint. The process starts with young unmarried girls preparing the wall surface with clay and cow dung plaster a day prior. Only men are allowed to paint Pithoro while a group of singers sing about the myth of creation, the Gods etc during the painting process. Images from daily life, bulls, horse, birds etc. are depicted in the painting. When the painting is complete, a badva (an elder) who is supposed to be possessed by Pithoro and is in trance comes to inspect it in detail. After the approval is granted by him a goat is sacrificed to consecrate the painting.

Comb cut painting
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The tribals in Jharkhand practice the ancient art of comb cut painting. The process is pretty simple – a comb is run over a freshly painted wall. Colors on the walls come from things in daily use like black from charcoal, red from red soil, orange from the Flame of the forest flower, white from ground rice etc. Mixing up of these colors creates a different color tone on the wall.

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This art form belongs to Mithila district of Bihar. Originally only women used to execute these paintings which were themed around love and fertility, with scenes from the Ramayana and motifs like fish, parrot, elephant, turtle, sun, moon etc. The wall would be plastered with mud and a prayer offered to the deity before painting starts. No part of the painted wall is left blank. Double lines are used to highlight and a net of smaller lines fills up the space between the two. Traditionally, natural colours were used for these paintings.

Mirror Work in Mud
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Similar to these paintings in south eastern Gujarat, the tribals of Kutch decorate the walls of their bhungas (circular houses with conical roof). A mud and cow dung mixture is used to plaster the wall which is then decorated with floral or geometric motifs. Often mirrors are inlaid in the plaster and bright colours used for painting.

Gond Art
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The Gond tribals from Madhya Pradesh have their own distinct style of painting which is marked with rich colours. They paint the flora and fauna that they see around them in beautiful compositions which is an outcome of their close link with nature. Originally the paintings were made in three mud based colours on a white background but these days chemical colours are used which makes it possible to have yellows, oranges, greens and blues etc in the paintings. 

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This folk art from Maharashtra belongs to the Warli, Malkhar koli, Kathodi, Kokana, Dhodi tribes. The paintings are made by the women to pass folklore down the generations. They are considered sacred and are an integral part of marriage ceremonies. Unlike most traditional paintings where the subject is mythology or images of deities, Warli paintings depict scenes from nature and daily life. Main elements are represented in abstract forms, for instance the human figure is represented by two triangles joined at the apex. They are traditionally painted with white colour made from rice paste on mud walls coated with cow dung or ‘geru’.  Small twigs are fashioned to be used as brushes.

Saura paintings

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This style of mural painting is credited to the Saura tribals of Odisha. Known as Ikons, these paintings are dedicated to their deity - Idital. Ikons are made on the wall which is prepared with red or yellow ochre mud. The brushes for the painting are made with bamboo shoots while the colours used are natural. Originally, the artists belonged to the priest class to explain the symbolism of the images.

Ikons look like Warli paintings however the style of painting and treatment of the subject is different in both. Ikons are painted from border towards the centre and it is not possible to differentiate between male and female.

With that I will end today's post, but mind you this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many many  more types of tribal art that India has to offer. Maybe you could write to us about them.  

Most of these art forms are vanishing especially in their original form. Changes in life styles has adversely effected this art.Using natural dyes to paint is both time consuming and expensive and hence there are not too many people who are interested in these art forms. It saddens me to think that we in India do not appreciate this rich heritage of ours. 

However there are some art forms like warli and madhubani which have found a new definition through commercially viable products like t-shirts, saris, mugs, vase, etc. 
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For the artists these are ways to keep their art and its traditions alive and also bring it to a larger population. We need to do the same with other forms else it would not be long that these too will become a thing of the past..

Any takers?