Wednesday, 30 March 2016

N A T U R E 'S    w o n d r o u s    D E S I G N S

Nature never ceases to surprise. Exploring the widespread presence of Fibonacci numbers in the plant kingdom, or elements of nature (including human bodies) reflecting the Golden section, sets one thinking to the extent of precision and geometry present in Nature. Is Earth merely an accident, or, a precisely engineered wonder, whose creators choose to remain unknown! 

Mathematics apart, the color palette seen in Nature is as astounding. Umpteen shades of red, green, blue and colors I wouldn't even know the names of - all are on brilliant display in flowers, birds and leaves. 

Succulents, plants that thrive in arid conditions, are my most recent discovery in the color category :) What a big revelation these pictures have been to me - I never knew stems and leaves could have so much color. Guess, nature's unique and yet another mysterious way of bringing cheer to arid and barren landscapes.

Scroll through and revel in the beauty gifted to us...These are Nature's wondrous designs.

Images (L to R):;

 This 'ever green wreath' is a visual treat. Succulents grow easily from cuttings - just plant a small leaf/ pod and watch it thrive.

Images (L to R):;

Images (L to R):;; unknown

 A medley of varieties planted together to create a miniature Eco system!
Images (L to R):; linzzuelich@flickr;;
Were you too tricked into believing these are flowers?! 

Images (L to R):  Oberryssucculents (Etsy); design*sponge;
 Pot them, vase them

Images (L to R): Well-rooted Designs;

or watch them thrive wild.

Images (L to R):;;;

Images (L to R): unknown; The WHOot;

 Use them as center pieces, or, let go free.

Images (L to R):;;

Images (L to R): hiddensandiego11@flickr;;

 Do you see a nautilus too!

Images (L to R):;;
 Cacti are a sub group of succulents - a fact I recently discovered.

Images (L to R):  sfgirlbybay/ victoria smith;;


Images (L to R):;;;

Terraniums are a perfect place to showcase your creativity with succulents. I love these these miniature gardens.

Images (L to R): unknown; unknoown;

Note: Image credits in this feature show the source, not necessarily the copyright holder
Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

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Sunday, 13 March 2016

O N C E  U P O N  A  T I M E ...

by Hina Nitesh

Who doesn't like stories especially when they start with 'Once upon a time...' There is so much that can happen after this short introduction... Stories that remain with us for long are often ones that are told in an interesting manner. Picture book, puppets, animation, enacting, voice modulation etc are the many popular ways in which children enjoy stories. Are the stories only for children? Maybe today, but there was a time when stories were told to a big group where age was not an issue.



One of the traditional forms of story telling from Rajasthan, India is the Kavad. This 500-year old tradition uses all the nuances of story telling that the present day story tellers use. Two people were involved in this form of narration. One is the Kavadia Bhatt, the wandering priest who would go from village to village to recite the stories and the other is the craftsman who would make the Kavad. 


Kavad is a painted wooden box made to look like a temple and is carried by the story teller - it is like a mobile temple. The story teller would use this as a prop to tell stories of popular characters like Gods and Kings and their bravery. The interesting thing about this hand crafted box is that it is in layers with  multiple panels are joined together with hinges. There can be as many as ten panels in one kavad.


The scenes of the story are illustrated with bright natural colors. The performance starts with a small prayer to Gods and Goddesses asking for blessings for a long and prosperous life. After this the Bhatt starts singing the story and open the panels slowly one after the other as the plot is revealed. A peacock feather is used by the story teller to point at the story which he is reciting at the moment. How the story unfolds and what the kavad holds in its panels is a big mystery for the audience and the cause of attraction. 


This craft form finds its origins in the Kumavat caste of Bhilwara in Rajasthan. The box itself was made of the soft mango or adu wood which was carved and painted to make it look attractive. The inner most panel often has the image of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Kundana bai the patron Godess of the community is always illustrated hidden somewhere in the painting. 


The audience is taken on a spiritual journey with the Bhatt singing stories of the Gods and Goddesses. There are always morals and values to be learnt from these tales. These acts of story telling shaped and reinforced the religious beliefs of people and guided them on the right path.

Story telling was also the source of income for the Bhatts so at the bottom of the kavaad was a small drawer which he would open for money and people would put in whatever they could in it. 

Like many other craft forms, Kavaad too is dying. There are a handful of practitioners of the art left today. The craft which was passed on from father to son does not have many takers today. There are many reasons for this like since the coming of the television, there is little demand for these forms of entertainment.


The only way the craft can survive is if it can be given a contemporary touch both in terms of the story that is narrated and the visuals that accompany it. An artisan from the community, Dwarka Prasad Jangid, is  trying to keep the art alive by giving it s contemporary twist. Meena ki Kahani, story of an educated girl who improves her family's standard of living and Jungle ki kahani based on eco-friendly living are the themes he has worked on. 

Another example is Satyanarayan Suthar who has designed a kavad as a multipurpose cupboard which became an art piece too. The story it tells is that of the artist's journey. It uses the same colours as in a traditional piece but in a more contemporary manner leaving the bright blues and greens only to convey special actions. Kundana Bai is there as a symbol of  integration of past and present.


These are some of the efforts that are done to help this traditional art form can survive. Kavad can be adapted to contemporary style and be used as an engaging and interesting story telling medium.

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat   

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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Snippet * 25     E d i b l e   A r c h i t e c t u re

Chocolaty Dutch facades, the outcome of a creative workshop conducted by Architect Willem Heeffer for the Dutch Embassy in Helsinki.
 They 'look' delicious for sure - don't they!