Friday, June 02, 2006

Influences of India

Some years ago I went to an exhibition at the V & A. It was on the top floor up a long flight of stairs, but worth the effort as it was a fantastic special exhibition of Indian embroideries and fabrics. I found it very inspirational.

The same year I also had the good fortune to see an Exhibition of Sheila Paine's in Woodstock Oxfordshire. This exhibition was also about the embroideries that she had discovered in her search for the truth about amulets. Her new book at the time was "The Golden Horde." Rivoting reading, as are her more recent publications.That year I also saw Sheila Paines' collection again at the Knitting and Stitchning show in London. I was very lucky at the K & S show as I managed to have a lengthy conversation with her about her journeys in search of the Amulet.

These two exhibitions gave me the inspiration to study some Indian embroideries including shisha and other traditional stitches and then I tried out the techniques for myself. This is tea dyed calico and just 2 colours of embroidery thread white and rust.

I also tried the Kantha style stitching for the first time at the end of the nineties. Easy to guess I had a thing about elephants at the same time. This is turquoise turban cotton, and sewing thread for the Kantha, and a yellow varigated embroidery thread as well as a rust coloured thread.

I had also found some articles in an old copy of the Embroiderers' Guild magazine about decorating elephants, and so I decided to try and use them as a design source, great fun. Unfortunately the magazine copy of the decorated elephants is not available online. Its a fascinating world out there as long as we are prepared to look and discover.

1 comment:

MargaretR said...

That was a wonderful exhibition in the V and A and so inspiring. I still have a large poster I bought up on the sloping ceiling of my loft. It's the same image as on the book cover, which I also have. Elephants are fascinating creatures in themselves, but when decorated, then Wowo. I recnetly bought some serviettes with elelphants on which I intend to use in some way.