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Travel, traveling with kids

Chennai with Kids

We have been to Chennai with our kids many times, and yet I have never written a post about the experience. Strange, right? I love writing travel guides for parents, and have waxed lyrical about London, Paris, New York, and Copenhagen in the past, but not Chennai. Why? Because, to be very honest, Chennai is …

art and design, British Indian, crafter, small business, textile design, Travel, Uncategorized

Dakshina Chitra (a post I should have written long ago)

“What was your favorite part of the trip to Chennai?” I asked my six year old. “Dakshina Chitra” She replied without even blinking first. I’m not surprised, it really is a wonderful place. Dakshina Chitra is a heritage center just outside Chennai, on the way to the beautiful beach town of Mahabalipuram. According to my …

art and design, crafter, small business, textile design, Travel, Uncategorized

Ink and Courage

When I was 19 years old, I convinced my parents that I was mature enough to travel around Northwestern India on my own. I obviously possessed greater powers of courage and persuasion then.
My idea was to travel around with a sketchbook and camera, and produce an amazing portfolio of work that would help me to get into an Art college of my choice.

It worked.

While on this trip, I often ran out of art materials in places where there were no stores that sold them, so I improvised.  I painted with spices such as turmeric and chilli, and used old pieces of fabric and packaging to draw on.  But my favorite of these ad hoc materials by far was a stick from a neem tree that I had carved to a point. I happily filled sketchbooks with big, drippy ink drawings, and actually had a period of mourning when the stick finally broke, exhausted by my furious scribbling.

Many years later, I would range around woodlands like a crazed yeti, collecting sticks and branches for my students to dip into ink and draw with at school.

I have recently rediscovered the joys of  drawing with ink. It is really so much fun.
It is hard not to relax when you draw with ink, because you have less control over the sorts of marks you produce, every line has an unexpected beauty to it. Try it.

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art and design, crafter, small business, textile design, Uncategorized

Loosen up lady!

A blog about drawing and un-drawing…. I have produced some pretty uptight drawings, and now I’m going to have to unravel them a bit. One of the things I like most about henna, or mehndi, is the fluid way in which it is drawn. Henna artists don’t really plan out their designs in advance, they …

Travel, Uncategorized

Funny Signs

The Mysore Zoo is impressive in so many ways. It has a huge and varied collection of animals, some so rare and exotic that it seems quite unbelievable that you are looking at them. Some of the highlights of our visit were a white tiger, an albino peacock, a Tapir, and (much to my daughter’s …


A Sketchy State of Mind

It seems like ages and ages since I last blogged. The holy trinity of Free time, Computer, and Connectivity have been very elusive since I arrived in India.  I have been practically bursting with news, but with no outlet everyday. All of this, however, pales in comparison with the following discovery for me… I have …

art and design, crafter, small business, textile design, Travel, Uncategorized

A Very Silly Post about Mosquitos

I have been in Chennai for five days now. The mosquitos don’t seem to have forgotten me. They follow me everywhere, and completely ignore my companions. I think that they have actually been anticipating my visit. Maybe they arranged some sort of convention. Maybe they put out an advertisement announcing my arrival. If they did, I would imagine …

art and design, crafter, small business, textile design, Travel, Uncategorized

Keeping the Ball Rolling

 Greetings from Chennai, India. I was supposed to write a post  a week ago about my upcoming trip, but I didn’t manage to. I was supposed to write a post a few days ago saying good bye, but I didn’t manage to. During the past week or so,I have been totally immersed in the mammoth …

art and design, crafter, small business, textile design, Uncategorized

Leaving some spots uncolored

I have become a White person. No this is not a statement about my racial identity. It is purely aesthetic. I have recently discovered my love of the color white in all it’s variations. Ivory, cream, jasmine, titanium, I love them all. The simple pop of a clean color print on a white background can …

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