India

Khushbu Mathur ✿ Sowing seeds of friendship between sister and brother - A new member of the Garland team writes about the seed rakhi, which helps shares the love between brother and sister with mother nature.
Maggie Baxter ✿ Peeling walls and tattered ledgers - Maggie Baxter shares new works that use embroidery to evoke the textures of time she has found in India.
From earth grew rice, from rice grew the Warli art - LOkesh Ghai's enchantment with Warli art is reflected in the films of Johnnie Magee.
Shilp Shakti: A legacy midst crisis & opportunity - Ashoke Chatterjee champions craft as a vital part of Indian society and economy at an event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Visva Bharati, the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore in Santiniketan.
Re-Threading the tapestry of an arid topography: A return to Kutch with Maggie Baxter - Gopika Nath returns to Kutch to reflect on the enduring embroidery culture and distinctive collaborations of Maggie Baxter.
Male: The act of flowers - Krishan Rajapakshe pays homage to the garland-makers of Indian with his camera.
Do you know what this textile from Nagaland is? - Please note this query about a sash from the Indian north-east state of Nagaland. 
Sahaj ✿ The Vernacular Furniture of Gujarat book - An important new book from our friends in CEPT Ahmedabad about vernacular furniture
Glimpses of the first Indian Ceramics Triennale - We're excited to herald an important new event in our orbit of craft and design in the Indo-Pacific. The first Indian Ceramics Triennale: Breaking Ground is open in Jaipur from 31 August to 18 November 2018.
Votive Horses of Poshina, Gujarat - Mitraja Bais writes about votive offerings of terracotta horses
KUTCH: a visual identity for a radiant people - Ishan Khosla reflects on a graphic design project using the vibrant crafts that belie the parched and bleak salty land they live on
Alistair Rowe’s Chandni Chowk: One Altered Move - Andrew Varano maps the influence of Old Delhi on the grided glass sculptures of Alistair Rowe
Washed ashore: Art works from the Indian Ocean - Gopika Nath mends a life as shells along the Indian Ocean
They remember those who do not speak: Madhvi Subrahmanian’s recent ceramic works - Nancy Adajania delves into the map shields of Madhvi Subrahmanian and discovers a sense of place in an interconnected world.
Looking in looking out: Yogic practice and public art in Western Australia - Maggie Baxter writes about two public artworks: 'Spanda' by Christian de Vietre on the new Elizabeth Quay Big Healer made of recycled Peppermint Trees by Lorenna Grant Busselton.
Vahana: An Indian-Australian cross-cultural ceramic experience - Bernard Kerr describes the epic production of a 3.5 m high terra cotta horse at the Midland Junction Art Centre by potter Mr Kasirajan from Tamil Nadu
Katna’s Kantha: Stitching a future - This December, Katna’s Kantha by Street Survivors India will make their debut at ARTISANS’ with a collection of quilts, saris, dupattas and stoles in silk and cotton.The Street Survivors India project was founded by Shabnam Ramaswamy in Murshidabad in 2004 and employs 1500 women in 50 villages. At 19, Shabnam escaped domestic violence, living in impoverished conditions while trying to support two children. She overcame these challenges to eventually become a social entrepreneur. Shabnam started Katna’s Kantha, to provide women with education and financial independence, reviving a local skill unique to the women of Katna. Today their kantha embellishes bags, stoles, saris and dupattas all made by upcycling vintage saris, and turning rags into textile riches.
Mala: The floral garlands of India - Mitraja Bais explores the meaning of the garland that pervades life in India.
Turkey Red on India Street - A fascinating collaboration between India and Scotland around the mythical dye, Turkey Red.
Galeecha: Cultural Textiles Design -   This exhibition is a marvellous sequel to Liz Williamson’s article Sky’s the limit: The Cultural Textiles Rug Project Galeecha: Cultural Textiles Design is an exhibition presenting work designed by students enrolled in the 2017 Cultural Textiles course which ran in Gujarat, India in January / February 2017. One of the course projects involves students designing for handblock-printed rugs or yardage. Having undertaken a course in Gujarat, India, students translate patterns and motifs of their experience in India into designs for rugs or yardage. Selected designs will be block printed by hand with natural dyes onto cotton dh Source: Galeecha: Cultural Textiles Design
New space for objects in Sydney: HAKK by Gunjan Aylawadi - The inaugural Object Space exhibition will feature the work of talented paper artist Gunjan Aylawadi. Sydney-based paper artist Gunjan Aylawadi presents HAKK, a large-scale, intricate paper installation.
The time-honored Ashavali brocades of Gujarat - Vishu Arora finds a workshop in Gujarat India that is successfully continuing a textile tradition more than 500 years old, thanks to the magical waters of Lake Kankariya.
A textile selfie, with love from Rajasthan - Fiona Wright weaves a story that combines stencil art, Indian block printing and selfies. And it's all in the family.
Godh: in the lap of nature - Mandy Ridley shares her experience collaborating with Indian designers and folk artists for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Narrative design – Learnings from India - Following issue #5 of Garland magazine, a series of events in India brought experts together to reflect on the role of storytelling in craft practice today. There was special interest in the role of new media, such as video, websites and e-commerce in offering space for narrative development. We learnt that the “story” was often about the process of “getting to know” the object. It was a sign of care that the user took to ask the question, click the link or travel to the place of production. The information gained then provided the user with privileged knowledge that they could share with others, such as when visitors to their home inquire about a curious object on the shelf. The […]
New Homes for Old Stories – Symposium/workshop in Mumbai, 5 February - A symposium/workshop, 5 February 2017, 3-6pm Artisans Gallery, Mumbai To coincide with issue #5 of Garland magazine, a discussion and workshop will be conducted on the nature of storytelling through objects. This will involve a review of the traditional stories attached to objects and the new platforms emerging in e-commerce. The challenge is to find a way in which the online market can sustain some of the rich narratives previously transmitted through oral traditions. What are the components of a good story? How can we add narrative value to handmade objects today? If you are interested to be part of this event, please send an expression of interest to [email protected] by 16 January.
Issue #5 – @India - Thanks to your support, the first Garland was launched exactly a year ago today. We hope you’ve enjoyed the journey thus far. Now we venture to India with a feast of articles to engage your eye and mind.The centrepiece is a quarterly essay about Sandra Bowkett by our new laureate Andrew Stephens, which explores how a foreign ceramicist can connect so deeply with a village of Indian potters. We focus particularly on the West of India, featuring what’s old and new in Mumbai and Gujarat. Articles consider whether the spirit of Gandhi is still alive and innovative takes on classic textiles.Next door we feature two surprising views of creative life in Pakistan. There are stories told through glass to coincide with next […]
E-commerce: what is gained and lost when artisans sell online - By contrast with the retail story, e-commerce promises to convey more of the stories of the handmade objects on sale. Aerospace engineer David Moorhead looks critically at its benefits for the craftsperson. This articles includees an outline of recent platforms for evaluation.
New homes for old stories - “Durvásas  was wandering over the earth, when he beheld, in the hands of a nymph of air, a garland of flowers culled from the trees of heaven, the fragrant odour of which spread throughout the forest, and enraptured all who dwelt beneath its shade.” Vishnu Purana Book 9 As the story goes, Durvásas gave this garland to Indra, who placed it on the head of his elephant, Aiávata, which took it by the trunk and cast it on the earth.  Incensed at this disrespect, Durvásas cursed the deities and the earth they inhabited, leading to the withering of life. The ancient story of Samudra manthan can be found in most of the Hindu scriptures, like a tale of original sin. It […]
The kaavad: from devotion to decoration - For Ishan Khosla, ventures forth to revive the traditional storytelling device known as the kaavad. Does it still serve its original purpose as a form of religious worship? The kaavad that results from this quest tells the story of its own evolution from sacred to social.
Quarterly essay – The world in a chai cup: Sandra Bowkett and a village of Indian potters - In an old cardboard box on the concrete floor of Sandra Bowkett’s studio there is a huddle of raw-looking chai cups. They are Indian by design and were made by an Indian potter. What are they doing here in rural Victoria? Are they out of place? There are certainly no chai-wallahs (Indian tea-sellers) to be seen nearby.   So begins Andrew Stephens essay on the remarkable life of Sandra Bowkett. To learn why she is driven to connect with a colony of Indian potters, subscribers can read the essay here. 
The world in a chai cup: Sandra Bowkett and a village of Indian potters - Andrew Stephens visits Sandra Bowkett's studio in the central Victorian town of Tallarook and learns about her life-long connection to an Indian potter's village within Delhi. Despite the economic and cultural gulf between the two places, he finds a compelling dialogue about the elemental forces of our world.
Made in Mumbai - Fiona Caulfield's iconic Love Travel Guides cover the authentic experiences and innovative outfits in today's India. Here she shares her pick of what Mumbai has to offer.
Barbara Mullan: A life with Gujarati textiles - Ansie van der Welt writes about Barbara Mullan's life long affair with Gujarati textiles
Sky’s the limit: The Cultural Textiles Rug Project - Liz Williamson describes an ongoing exchange with rug block printers in Gujarat who are commissioned to produce designs from Australia. The results show a wide-eyed view of India, such as kites in the skies over Ahmedabad.
The kediyun: A slow turn for fast fashion - Intrigued by the kediyun, a Rabari traditional upper garment, LOkesh Ghai apprentices himself to a traditional tailor. Along the way, he learns an important lesson for contemporary fashion.
Indian dirt - In Issue #3, we featured Clare Kennedy as a case study for the Apprenticeship exhibition at Artisan Gallery. She wrote about going to India to study the changing brick industry—"It is a story worth telling". She shares with us now the remarkable discoveries of that trip.
Letting go design in Dharavi - Trent Jansen ventured into the Mumbai "slum" named Dharavi to collaborate with makers in the spirit of jugaad—the Indian ethic of "make do". To finish the job, everyone finds that they have to "let go".
Is Gandhi still alive? A journey to Surkhama - A young craft writer wonders where the spirit of Gandhi might be found in India today. Tanya Dutt hears of a remote village named Surkhama renowned for its handwoven rugs. Will Gandhi be there?
The rare art of Mumbai’s Parsis - Priyanka Kochar uncovers the rare embroidery of Mumbai's Parsis. She finds a combination of Persian and Chinese influence in the textiles of this declining yet powerful ethnic group.
Craft classic: New moves for the old sari - Border&Fall is a fresh force in Indian craft and design. This Bangalore agency has initiated a number of programs to promote the handmade to a new generation of consumers and users. We hear from its founder Malika Verma Kashyap aboout the recently crowd-funded How to Drape Film Series, which will promote this traditional dress by documenting 84 ways in which it can be worn.
Next generation patua: The Handmade Tales project - Medhavi Gandhi shares recent initiatives to revive Indian storytelling traditions. Handmade Tales gathers stories of the craft objects that are treasured in Indian homes. And Folk Fables developed workshops for children to teach them these traditional techniques. As she says, "We believe that to know your future, you must know your past."
Patua storytelling today - Sunaina Suneja writes about her homage to Gandhi in her curated exhibition, Bapu: The Craftperson’s Vision. A highlight is the patua scrolls of Rani, representing a key Indian storytelling tradition.
Launch of Garland #5 – Trading Tales in India - Garland Magazine Launch at MPavilion – 6 December 2016 at 6pm MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne India has some wonderful traditions for telling stories through objects. The December issue of Garland magazine features these along with their contemporary versions in e-commerce and a profile of the vibrant scene around Mumbai and Western India. Join us for the launch at MPavilion. Arts writer Andrew Stephens will talk about his essay on the work and life of Sandra Bowkett, a Victorian ceramicist whose life has become bound up with the world of Delhi potters. Let’s chat over a cup of chai. 
Trading tales – call for works - The upcoming December issue of Garland features an online exhibition of objects that tell stories. Artists are invited to submit images of works that fit this theme. This is an opportunity to not only promote work across the broader Asia Pacific but also to compare the creative ways in which we can enable objects to tell tales.
Embracing unpredicability: The collaboration of Laxma Goud and Adil Writer - Aarti Vir writes about the vivacious collaboration between ceramicists K. Laxma Goud and Adil Writer.
The next Taj Mahal? - The Taj Mahal remains today as a testament to the extraordinary beauty of Persian design and craftsmanship. The skills that produced this in the seventeenth century are very much alive in Iran today.
The fragrant myth of Parijat - Our special garland for #3 With Nature was devised by Tanya Dutt, who swapped an Indian summer for a bone-chilling Melbourne winter to help produce this issue. To honour the contributors to the issue present at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, she made this garland fashioned from pages of a book about Australian craft, which tells the story of the tragic love of Parijat—the night jasmine.  There are many stories and references in the Puranas and the Mahabharat to the Parijat tree. Known as the Night Jasmine and even Queen of the night, it has several beneficial properties for the mind and body. It is said that it was one of the sacred treasures and among the five divine trees […]
Remembering Kamaladevi - Jasleen Dhamija presents a eulogy for Kamaladevi Chattopadhay, who was instrumental in tying a craft revival to India's independence struggle. She went on to help established the World Crafts Council and provide inspiration for craftspersons globally.
Nature craft -                                         In what way can craft be in partnership with nature? The traditional story of craft as an art of civilisation involves controlling nature. Fibre is spun, wood is carved, metal is cast, glass is blown and clay is thrown. Making seems to involve an improvement in the otherwise formless quality of materials found in the environment. Natural substances are mastered in order to manipulate them into forms of useful beauty. So what might be a craft of the anthropocene era, where nature and human are seen to be intertwined? How does craft practice reflect an ecological relation to nature, where the process […]
Crafts in Interior Architecture: India, 1990 Onwards, by Rishav Jain - For many years. Rishav Jain has been researching the contribution of craft practice to interior architecture in India. While most attention is given to the object as the product of craft processes, in India there is a living tradition of craft skills in the fashioning of interior spaces. The repertoire of skills that can be applied to the built environment includes a variety of techniques involving materials like wood, stone, clay, bamboo, textiles and paintings. Finally, this research is now available in a handsome publication, Crafts in Interior Architecture: India, 1990 onwards.  As well as documenting outstanding examples of crafts in Indian buildings, Jain offers a conceptual framework for understanding the value of the handmade in architecture. This includes a fascinating exposition […]
Hangout with Gopika Nath - Through art collecting, tourism and gift giving, precious handmade objects move around our world. To help tell the stories behind these objects, Garland brings together leading voices from our region.
A map for the embroidered garden - Gopika Nath's essay draws on a lifetime of learning in the enduring power of craft. Here's a quick guide to some major influences in her essay.
Rethinking scale: Craft traditions in the contemporary market – by Judy Frater - The talk at Santa Fe International Folk Market was of "scaling up" craft production. Judy Frater considers whether the unique value of craft can be sustained with increased production. As an alternative, she proposes ways of adding value, such as improved design, a network of venues that support fine craft and advocates in media, museums and galleries.
Crafting Gujarati Tradition into the Future by Hannah Robertson - The National Craft Fair 2016, held in Ahmedabad – the cultural hub of Gujarat from 17th to 23rd January 2016, provides a platform to engage both the public through live demonstrations and stalls and the craftspeople themselves in a seminar and craft database registration. Upon entering the fairgrounds you are cast into an epic bazaar style arrangement complete with vibrantly decorated tents, traditional horns and drum music and people dressed in colourful folk costume.
Quarterly essay – Reclaiming the Lost Embroidered Garden - Unlike block printing, weaving and other textile arts, embroidery work such as Phulkari is heavily invested with the passion and presence of the person handling the needle and thread.
The Bolga basket: Ahmedabad comes to Accra - The purpose of the initiative is to adapt sensitively basket-making traditions, practices and challenges facing Africa’s women basket weavers, through drawing on the experience and knowledge of India’s traditional craft and highly developed design sectors.
Reclaiming the Lost Embroidered Garden: The Bagh and Phulkari Embroideries of Punjab - You need to login to view this content. Please Login. Not a Member? Join Us
Craft ethics: Finding a moral compass in a harsh terrain, by Ashoke Chatterjee - News has gone around the world of this spectacular V&A display of textiles from the subcontinent. Among the exhibits are examples of contemporary design that demonstrate the vitality of crafts that reflect today’s aspirations. Controversy has emerged on a particular exhibit. It draws on an Ajrakh past, reflecting a leading designer’s effort at innovation using contemporary design and non-traditional production.
Happy Vasant Panchami - Garland magazine is very pleased to share this harvest celebration with some tips about how to enjoy the Vasant Panchami festival.