a mask making workshop

“…Asuras who live under the earth…are hostile to humans and hence deemed demons.” Jaya: an illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik.

Last month, I participated in a Cherial Mask Making workshop, conducted by National Award-winning Artist M. Madhu and organized by the Happy Hands Foundation.

Cherial masks are a folk art, made using an unusual medium mix of tamarind seed powder and sawdust and in keeping with Indian tradition, are painted with bright and vibrant colours. The masks are used as accompaniments to story-telling based on popular folklore. You can see examples of traditional Cherial masks and read about the process here.

I used the technique to make a mask of my own, inspired by the description of Asuras, as given in the Mahabharata (see quote above).

Asura

Asura: Front

Asura

Asura: Back

 

 

 

Spring: the season of love

Riding on a cloud

Riding on a cloud

Moonlight in spring

Moonlight in spring

Moonlight in spring: earrings

Moonlight in spring: earrings

Sunshine in spring

Sunshine in spring

Moonriver

Moonriver

Spring breeze

Spring breeze

Two birds in the bush: patina colours

Two birds in the bush: patina colours

Two birds the bush: finished piece

Two birds the bush: finished piece

Love in the city

Love in the city

Love in the city: back

Love in the city: back

A collection of 7 pendants & 1 pair of earrings in sterling silver, brass, pearls

A Postcard from Spring

A Postcard from Spring

I love this season. It makes me restless and I wake up every morning with mixed emotions. The sun is finally out and the warm spring breeze- comforting…so is warming my hands on the toaster every morning.
There’s …a blossoming Simal tree outside my window….infact many where I live. Sometimes I go for a walk after lunch [yep...I can do that ; )]. Beautiful big red flowers, supple and voluptuous(hmm…definitly female), strewn all over the street. There are those who complain of the mess and the garbage bags nowadays are full of them [not the complainers : (..sigh]. In a couple of weeks, the flowers will give way to cotton balls, mercilessly aggravating my allergy. Itchy, breathless and teary-eyed, I continue to look to Spring, lovingly..longingly…afterall, it heralds the coming of my favourite season: HOT HOT Summer! : )

A Simal Spring

 

Mandala

Mandala, Brooch, 10 X 10 cms approx.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “circle”. In the Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the shape of a T.

An example:

shri mandala

The brooch is inspired from a generalised concept of the mandala using the square and the circle.
The corners of the square symbolise the 4 gates or directions: north, south, east and west. They lead to the inert, complete and pure circle, and thence to its core, led to by the 4 needles.
The gates are made of hollow pipes symbolising other passages prevalent, that maynot lead to the desired destination.
 

Mandala, brooch: Top view

 

The mechanism

 
  
Here’s how I got here:
 

initial thoughts: exploring through different materials (a)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

initial thoughts: exploring through different materials (b)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

initial thoughts: exploring content (a)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
initial thoughts: exploring content (b)

a clearer picture: exploring content (c)

  
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Lovebird Family

The Lovebird family: Front & Back

 The Lovebird Family ring is particularly dear to me, as it helped me make that ‘significant’ leap in the quality(maturity) of my work and skill set.

It has Mr. and Mrs. Lovebird sitting atop one side of a vine-strewn castle wall and li’l Miss and Master Lovebird on the other side. The ring is made entirely in sterling silver.

This ring is also the 2nd ring I made as part of the ‘Ring A Week’ challenge on flickr.

Here’s how it started…

the sketchy sketch

I developed the piece as I went along, without any accurate drawing. I quite enjoyed this rather unplanned process and have made many more pieces following this method since.

The engraved castle wall

 

Behind the castle wall

 

Almost done

 You can see all my RAW rings here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/studio605/sets/72157625799589384/

Beaten and weathered…O! but it’s new ; )

Textured and enamelled pure silver ring

 I made this ring some months ago, filed in the grooves and filled it with yellow enamel…an average run-of-the-mill smooth and shiny ring…not something I cared about too much.

so I decided to give it a texture and hammered it…

needless to say, the enamel cracked…the ring had also started to darken and take on a rustic worn down character…

and cracking the enamel was turning out to be…just fun! No intellectual reason there…just pure fun! I guess I hadn’t done it before and wanted to see what it felt like to see glass crack…

it was funny…I have a hand torch..and the splinters flew all over…I poured it with dirty flux..it made it crackle even more…and that made me jump higher each time!!! there were bits of glass left in the grooves of the ring..I hammered again…more fell out…

And then I just let it sit and age…

and that’s the whole story from about some months ago…

 it’s a heavy solid pure silver ring, weighs about 13 gms…it’s beaten and weathered…O! but it’s new

a ring for Viswakarma Day

iron clamp, red 'mouli'

no i didnt make this…it was supposed to be a brass electrical fitting..bt now…iron.

And it just sat there on my table for many days, weeks…

I made some ambitious plans for it…definately something fancy…

And then i heated it…the brass ‘coating’ was the first to go…leaving behind what looks like a cast iron clamp, particularly prone to rusting in Delhi‘s humid monsoon weather.

The plan changed..and i didnt mind it, since I really loved the rusted edgy industrial look.

I proceeded to seal it with laquer and tied the sacred red thread ‘mouli’ around it.

“a ring for Viswakarma Day”

Viswakarma is the ‘The Architect of Gods’, the divine engineer. He is worshipped in the month of September. On this day all the workers worship their tools and instruments in front of Him.
The red mouli(sacred cotton thread, usually tied on the wrist: used in many ceremonies)is tied in a knot around the electrical fitting and is an offering of cloth to the deity.

Now when i wear it, it looks like a sacred relic

I unscrewed it a tad bit so it could fit an average-sized Indian finger

iron electrical clamp, red thread 'mouli'