This was the eighth annual collective by AHH (a not for profit organization), but the first one that I attended. I had plans of being there every day but couldn’t make it on the last day. It was such a colourful treat that coming away from it every day was a big challenge. But at the end of the day though I was tired, my soul was happy for having seen such talent and beauty of Handmade around me. On my first day I was lucky to get the Madhubani artist Vidushini Prasad and the Kaavad artist Dwarka Prasad Jangid to talk to me about their work. After that they were totally busy and on the last day I could see that all the beautiful Kaavad stories had found new homes.
I was also amazed at the energy levels of Mala Dhawan and Sonia Dhawan. They were taking care of every aspect and together with the volunteers did an amazing job at the bazaar. It was the culmination of months of preparation and planning. The artisans and artists were all happy with the successful bazaar. Inspite of the rains and the cold weather Bangaloreans turned up in good numbers and the kaarigars did brisk business.
If Day 1 was all about seeing all the stalls and shopping to my heart’s content, Day 2 was about introducing my five year old to the talent and beauty of handmade. She had a lovely time, not only shopping but also making new friends and a trial at being a volunteer. She loved putting the stamp on all those who paid the entry fee. Thank you so much Anjali for the experience. She totally loved it. The cloth bags by A Hundred Hands were available for block printing and she happily indulged herself there. She was over the moon when the kaarigar told her that she did a good job and was very strong. I am happily carrying this bag with pride, after all it says I support handmade. This simple bag with blocks printed by my child is an ambassador for the beauty of Handmade.
Dolls Everywhere- This could be the tagline…when the dolls from Coimbatore met the dolls in Bengaluru. Aradhya all of four and my girl became instant friends. My child also gave her a tip on where she could buy the Kannamma doll. And as we were browsing through the stalls, these two met again. Each one with her doll, named and loved already. They would say goodbye when it was time to leave but again get back to play. It was a lovely sight to behold.
Then there were the books by Tulika… wow…what lovely books. I was like a child in a candy shop. Both my daughter and I picked up books after books. With a heavy heart I left behind so many. But I buy books very often. So some for next time! I especially loved their ‘Looking at Art’ series, ‘Under the Banyan’ series, Gajapathi Kulapathi, the gentle elephant and the A to Z of Ajrakh. Books are a beautiful way to introduce children to the beauty of handmade and folk art.
Day 3 was again a ‘just me’ time (don’t we all need that?) at the collective. Not only did I get talking to some kaarigars and artists but I also went over the top with pictures. It was so colourful…I couldn’t resist it. The Dhokra artist Rajib Maiti from Chattisgarh, Jagadish who works with leaves and onion peels, the banana fibre accessories by Gramya, Vidya Nag from Aardra who weaves newspapers, Purkal Sthree Shakthi ladies from Himachal with beautiful quilted work, the handmade dolls from Coimbatore by Shivanjali Creative Arts and Crafts, the weavers from Benares, Srutiza from RishamJewelry who weaves beads like our grandmothers used to (Detailed posts on all of them in queue). The Kerala mural work on wooden chest, the leather puppetry, Orissa Pattachitra, Miniature art, Jute and cloth weaving, beauties in glass, Himalayan Weavers working with Yak wool, Pipli work from Orissa, Batik like never before by Shunya Batik, Klaykarma with ceramic art…they were all there along with so many more talented artists.
Day 4 was again shopping with my cousin who is crazy about sarees. My daughter wanted to join us and off we went on a shopping spree. The Kalamkari artist from Tirupati, Raavilla helped us identify handpainted and screen printed Kalamkari, the elaborate process on colouring and sketching. It was very informative…
Soon the sarees from Orissa were beckoning to us, the Sambhalpuri ikats. The beauty of the weaves, the subtle colours all handwoven won our hearts and made our pockets lighter. I off course had already done a lot of shopping. So I have told my cousin to lend her saree to me next time..it’s a win win you see. What do you think?
The Bengal tants, with pattachitra were also very tempting. So too the Sandoor Chitrika collaboration resulting in beautiful duppattas and blouse pieces with lambani embroidery. I loved so many things at the collective…it is impossible to choose a favourite. I also got a soft soft stole from Aranya. I also found these masks and a cute minion set in nesting dolls. After this it was time to take a break and have something yummy and scrumptious.
The food stalls were all we needed and on our way out, I spotted the ‘Big Bad Wolf’…a venture on homemade yummy jams, jellies and chutneys by an architect! The plum and orange concoction was to die for…ummmm. A lot of organic food products, organic balms by Granny Gregs ( I loved the orange lip balm) beautiful handmade clothes, upcycled products such as the Denim Project by AHH, Bags and lamps made of waste plastic by Aarohana, art and craft…what else can a person ask for? It was a great evening and I happily came home all excited about the last day. There were a series of Art Appreciation workshops lined up. The Benares weaving workshop which I attended on day4 was not only about gorgeous sarees and weaving but also the kind of work and planning that goes into a single piece. Anyone who wears a saree or spends for one, should understand the process to really appreciate that it is a true labour of love. These workshops help us appreciate the beauty of Handmade. Unfortunately I couldn’t go on the last day. Well not to worry, the collective is coming to fort Kochi and Coimbatore later this month. Check the AHH facebook page for more details. If you can make it, don’t miss it.
Lots of twinkles to all of you.
He does not tire easily…in the forty minutes that I was there, Dwarka Prasad Jangid easily re told the story of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Meena and Krishna at least three times. And how! With pictures painted on the panels of the Kaavad from Rajasthan, a mobile temple or story telling on the go…it is an art of story telling which is easily 500 years old. Made of wood from the mango tree, it is a box which consists of panels of paintings opening to reveal hidden stories, panel after panel. Just like a temple, the doors are guarded by the two sentries, Jaya Vijay (You can check out their story here.) As the doors open, the story is revealed…and stops at the innermost sanctum sanctorium. The bigger, more elaborate Kaavads also have additional panels on stories of people. The Kaavad also has a compartment for money. There is a disclaimer on the Kaavad that the money given to the story teller will be utilised for the holy cows. And all those who listen to the story will be rewarded and blessed. But if the story is not heard, then they will be cursed.
This art is from Rajasthan and though not known to many urbanites, in the villages, it is a ritual to call the story teller. The story teller wraps it in cloth and carries it around on his shoulder.They travel from place to place and each story teller has patrons where he visits repeatedly, not just to tell them stories from mythology but also to recall the family’s forefathers whose names and deeds he talks of. This is a sacred ritual for the family where they remember their forefathers and also listen to stories from mythology. Dwarka Prasad Jangid from Chittorgarh tells me that it all started when temples were being destroyed by invaders. The mobile temple, the Kaavad from Rajasthan was how the stories and Gods continued to spread, in all their glory.
This art is also an example of how with the changing times, the artisan also changes. There is this story of Meena, a girl in Rajasthan, who is given an opportunity to study when her teacher convinces her father. She studies diligently, goes to London for her higher studies and also exhibits her father’s art work there. She comes back to India and starts a self help group and a school for girls. One educated girl changes the future of many...”Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.”(Save and educate the girl child) and off course in the end, she gets married to a suitable boy selected by her parents (after all it’s the ideal happily ever after scenario) I loved this story. It has all the elements of our mega serials but without the drama. It is a story of hope. This Kaavad from Rajasthan symbolises our hope as a nation.
I got a small ‘Kaavad’ for myself. Every handicraft has a story to tell and more so, the Kaavad from Rajasthan. It calls to me as it does to so many others to take it home and continue the saga of story telling. So when you are at the eighth edition of A Hundred Hands annual collective, make sure to visit this stall to listen to his stories and take home one for the little ones. Dwarka Prasad Jangid makes these Kaavads, paintings on wood, fabric and the puppets. And he is ever ready with the stories.
Tips for home decor….I think this would make a great addition to a wall gallery or could be a part of your coffee table decor. The possibilities are endless…And when you are at the collective, do take a selfie with the gond art and the madhubani panels.Post on FB and share the joy with friends.
Twinkles to all of you.
When I came across the stall of Madhubani by Vidushini Prasad at the annual collective of A Hundred Hands, I immediately started with all the questions that I had for her. This was a great opportunity for me to meet such a talented artist who is in an urban setting but continues to be in touch with her roots. Originally from Patna, she has no formal training in the art form. But her work speaks of her flair for the art, and the simple elegant lines of Madhubani captivate us. She says, “I have inherited the art from my culture and am proud of it.”
Vidushini Prasad has been doing Madhubani paintings for over a decade now. With a degree in chemistry, art was never on the horizon. But it was something which just chose her. When she started painting, she never thought it would bring her recognition. But now as a member of A Hundred Hands, her work is instantly recognised. Having displayed her work in art galleries, made to order pieces, installation in FabIndia Sarjapur, exclusive art pieces in NOVICA, displays in bazaars, santhes and innumerable workshops..she is candid in saying that it becomes mechanical if she lets it. “Just like any job…I have to keep reinventing myself and my art.” So she finds inspiration everywhere and brings in new elements in the age old art form. Though a folk art, it beautifully lends itself to the artist’s creativity and this is very evident when I see her work. Right from using old book pages as her base to the fresh colour scheme, it is all her signature style. Her speciality is the kutchi and bharni styles of Madhubani. Sometimes she also does the godhna style which is the tatoo art used by tribals.
As we chat about her work and the method she follows, she happily shares all the details and even tells me where I can buy the nib for drawing the outline! I am always surprised when people are generous with their art and ideas. When I say this she just laughs and says that creation has to happen by each person, which is the beauty of handmade. Her happy and cheerful personality infuses her art with positive vibes and happy birds chirp out. Her foray into Madhubani art which started with the Ardhanareshwar has come a long way. Her group on Facebook has more than sixteen thousand followers and is an interactive platform for people to share their work, ideas and get feedback. It is this aspect of her personality which I find very endearing. In fact she also uses her platform to encourage an NGO which specialises in Tikuli art helping rural women make a living.
Check out her collection at the eighth edition of A Hundred Hands annual Collective at the United Theological College, Millers Road Bangalore. Madhubani by Vidushini Prasad gives you the symbols of fertility, prosperity, love and harmony. The different animals and birds symbolize not just the beauty of nature, but also the different aspects for a fulfilling life. My personal favourite was the ‘Tree of life’ with beautiful birds, the owls on the notebook, the Ganesha (which I got for my home), the peacock….I know… the list of my favourites is endless! Madhubani by Vidushini Prasad is not just beautiful but also useful and affordable….the notebooks, key holders and many others. Being part of the ME TO WE project, she has collaborated with the paper mache artist and you have Madhubani in a new avatar. All in all, I am motivated to go back to Madhubani and try my hand at it with the nib. With all the tips that I got from Vidushini, I am sure it’s going to be a success.
See you at the annual collective.
Twinkles to all of you.
It was the first day at the eighth annual handmade collective of A Hundred Hands at Bangalore. Though I was there for most of the day, I could not visit all the stalls. Each stall was so unique, colourful and intriguing, that I just could not go browsing….I had to spend some time with the artist and before I knew it, the day was over. Brimming with ideas and talent these are the select members of A Hundred Hands, where there is a waiting list of over 200 artisans for membership.
I off course, happily did some shopping even as I chatted up with the artists talking to them of all that makes up their art. Even though it was the first day, I could see that it was long awaited by the patrons. And no wonder – beautiful, good quality and unique handmade products from all over India, reasonably priced and all under one roof. The ME TO WE project where the focus was on bringing in new products with collaboration between the artists was a big hit.
I couldn’t resist and happily splurged on Madhubani by Vidushini, Thangka paintings, beautiful earrings made using dried flowers, soft soft stoles from Himachal, Cherial masks, pretty dresses for some pretty princesses and earmarked some more beauties for the rest of the days. Also planning on getting my cousin who is crazy about sarees and in that department you are totally spoilt for choice. Ummmm soft soft fabrics like Malkha, Ajrakh, maheshwari, kasavu with Kerala mural work, exclusive droolworthy kalamkari, ikkat…it was too tempting so I did not venture too close.
And if you would like to do some good, even as you shop…you have the quilts, bed covers and cushion covers from Purkal Sthree Shakti, the denim project by A Hundred Hands in association with NIMHANS ( you can donate your old pair of jeans for some serious makeover here) and others. If you are into reuse and recycle then you have colourful bags, basinets, dhurries, lamps and decor items made of jute with cloth, discarded plastic bags (not an error …it’s true!) newspapers, onion peel, twigs and leaves.
Miniature paintings with gold, pattachitra, palm leaf engravings, gond art, kalighat paintings, delicate figurines in glass, marble inlay work, fabric from banana fibre, home decor accessories using sustainable materials….the talent you will witness here is endless.
And you have just four more days to discover this for yourself. Lose no time…and get yourself to the eighth annual handmade collective by A Hundred Hands. This is an opportunity for you and the artisans…let’s have some fun shopping. The magic of handmade is here in Bengaluru until 3rd Dec. And look out for posts on the different artists from the collective in this space.
Lots of Twinkles to all of you.
See you at the Collective.
Old inscription stones of Bangalore -At first glance, you would think they were illegible and in a language not known to you. But on closer inspection of the pictures you realise it’s in Kannada. Of the 150 (Only within Bangalore) recorded by Mr. B L Rice from 1894 to 1905 in Epigraphia Carnatica only 27 are in existence now. Mr. Uday Kumar an engineer by profession started looking for these stones when he heard of one such stone in his vicinity in Rajajinagar and was disappointed as he did not find it. But he did not give up and went in search of the other inscription stones. When he discussed this with his cycling buddy, Mr. Vinay Kumar, he volunteered to be part of the project. In their words, “What started as a conversation ended up as an exhibition.” With each of these stones, there are stories. Stories on how they found it or didn’t find it, the condition they found it in and the stories on these stones.
What is the purpose of this exhibition of inscription stones of Bangalore? I was expecting the inscription stones to be at the museum but was surprised to only see their pictures. If the intention is to preserve these, shouldn’t we just keep them in a museum? So many questions and all of them are answered here….in the stories you hear from Mr. Uday Kumar and Mr. Vinay Kumar.
I especially liked the story of Chikabettahalli and the new found pride of the localites in their place of birth. Where urbanisation has brought Vidyaranyapura to the forefront, kids from Chikabettahalli might rather say they are from Vidyaranyapura. But now when they have realised they have a stone inscription from 1524AD mentioning their place and the history, it is a matter of pride for them to belong here.
A broken stone– It speaks of our lassitude where our history is concerned. Leaning against a temple wall, painted a brick red to match the temple and burning leaves against it, the stone finally broke down. You can see this inscription stone at the museum or rather whatever is left of it. These inscription stones of Bangalore also play an important part in language study and give us an understanding of those times.
The story of the shepherd, who did not know the stone was in any way special. But when Mr. Uday Kumar told him about its significance, he has taken ownership and now explains the significance of the stone to all who come to see it. The story of the priest who does not understand the language but has his family tree traced to the stone inscription and takes good care of it. The stories are many and are best told by Mr. Uday Kumar. With their interest and efforts, Mr. Uday Kumar and team have brought about enormous change in how we see our history and feel about the place we all call home, Bengaluru.
This is a crowd funded program, supported by the archaeological department and the government. But more importantly it’s the culmination of the work and efforts by Mr. Uday Kumar and team. Beginning this August, I doubt they have taken any holidays. Working at day jobs as engineers, they have given all their spare time to this project. And the engineers that they are, it’s been beautifully presented with the sole purpose of creating awareness and pride in our history. They also recieved support from across the world with all the different aspects of the exhibition on ‘Inscription Stones of Bangalore’.
The inscription stone dated 900 AD found in Begur near silk board has the first mention of Bengaluru. So Bengaluru is older than Kempegowda…there’s proof. There’s also proof for the cosmopolitan nature of Bengaluru from as far back as 1350AD, where Kannadiga kings had inscription stones done in Telugu and Tamil to facilitate the local population. You can also see the method in which such inscriptions were understood. The paper used to record the writing using water and paint was demonstrated by the archeology department and is kept as part of the exhibit.
Children will also get to take postcards with the history of the stone inscription and a special cancellation seal which the postal department has come up with featuring the name Bengaluru as on the inscription stones of Bangalore. My child was totally excited about posting the postcard to herself. Unfortunately we were so engrossed in the process; I did not click any pictures (This reminds me that she has no idea about letters, the post office and the post box! She thought it was like a temple hundi!) Just shows that in this digital age we need to make efforts to teach them something that we took for granted...the post office in our neighbourhood.
These ‘Inscription Stones of Bangalore’ make our history…history is not in our textbooks but derived from these stones. Just like the drawings on caves helped us unearth the roots of our civilization, these stones are witness to the times gone by. They tell us of traders who donated to temples and so exempted from paying taxes in return (Tax was a pain point even then!), of brave hearts who lost their lives (Veeragallu or herostones), of kings who conquered and rewards received….Let us give them our Sunday…listen to their stories from those who have been with them and understand the times that these stones come from.
Lots of Twinkles to all of you.