Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Season of Gratitude & Artnlight's 1st ever year-end SALE + a give-away !!

Another year is coming to a close. And what a year. A year of many ups and downs. The downs being my health, and the ups being many opportunities to do good work. One of them was being called to design signature prints for Nisha Sainani's Spring Summer Collection - which went on to become a wild success and had the likes of Sonam Kapoor and many female leads in the film industry loving and wearing them at various events. 

That followed by the launch of the Artnlight online store which got a very very warm and reassuring response. 

And then came the show at Serendipity  - which was not only good for business but also a place where I met many wonderful, warm and amazingly talented fellow entrepreneurs and designers. 

There are a couple more which are speedily moving to point where I can tell you all about it. So much to be grateful for. This year I met so many people whose work I have only seen from afar and admired. The more I see of life, the more I am wowed by its generosity and gentleness. Everything in its time. And how taken care of one is. 

This year is also a year that taught me the value of slowness. That how it is ok to not rush from one adrenaline high to another. It opened my eyes to how much love and support I get from my closest people who stand strong and hold me tight when things are not ok, This year has been about my closest family, friends, their love and unconditional support. I have experienced stupendous love and respect coming my way and my heart is full of gratitude. 

Gratitude, to all the people who love me, my work and show it by writing to me, coming to meet me at exhibitions, by investing in artnlight products and making it possible for artnlight to grow, by adding me as a friend on FB, by following the artnlight FB page, by commenting regularly on the FB posts, by registering on the new artnlight store, and by simply coming here regularly and reading this blog. Thank you. Thank you each one of you. You have no idea how much it eggs me on to walk this path that sometimes feels scary, lonesome and like I have bitten off more than I can chew. 
All of this definitely calls for a celebration and I want to start by announcing the very 1st Year-End Sale on the artnlight store. Its a flat 20% off of EVERYTHING on the artnlight shop. So shop away.

IMPORTANT: Apply your discount coupon code : ARTNLIGHT100 in your cart before checkout. You will find it on the bottom left of the cart window - please be sure to key it in this the slot. Or copy paste it. 


There is an Special Artnlight Gift Hamper for one lucky artnlight blog reader - All you have to do to be that person is :
1. Write in the comment section below what you are most grateful for in your life.
2. Like Artnlight's FB page - if you haven't already that is.

I saw a video by Marie Forleo - on how its important to list out the many reasons you are grateful for something/somebody. Many a time we hold ourselves back from saying thank you or even allowing ourselves to feel completely and unabashedly grateful, so this once, just go all out :) 
Plus because I'm feeling completely happy, there is another give-away happening on the FB page. Which is separate from this. Yes, you can participate in both :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Aparupa Ghosh's Syu and a giveaway

Colour. Blocks. Unlimited. When I saw Syu's page the colour is what hit me. As I kept looking at the pictures the rawness, the handmade earthiness and a certain honesty of the work stayed with me. Such interesting fabrics. Such bold colour and pattern. I like the unabashed statement that Aparupa Ghosh makes with Syu.  Jit Chowdhury an artist whose work I fell in love with on instagram sent me this link. Syu is a recently launched clothing and accessory label that makes beautiful block printed fabric and currently their range of products include stoles, sarees, canvas +leather bags and clutches.
And recently I had the good fortune of meeting the talented duo, when they travelled to Bombay. It was interesting to note that the creator of Syu was as quiet as her designs are bold.

" The distance between restoring tradition and moving on with the contemporary can be bridged by a thread. In Sanskrit, syu defines this very thread that runs across the length and breadth of fabrics to create something wholesome. Therefore at syu, we work with our hands to lend character to a product, that’s lost when machine-made. Using traditional textile techniques and natural materials, we try to shape a trend that you love while staying close to a method we love." - Syu

For all those who want to buy Syu's gorgeous clutches they are selling right now on Jaypore.

And for some good news for artnlight readers! 
You can win this Syu silk cotton muslin scarf :)

All you need to do is like the Syu FB page, and put a comment right here about what you loved about Syu and what Syu products would you love to own.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kumortuli, where the Gods are made.

Kumortuli is where the the Goddesses and Gods of Kolkata's famed pujo are born. It is here at the hands of the skilled God makers that they take shape and are dressed till they are ready to be worshipped by the world.   I had spent the last 3 important Pujo days nobomi, dashami in Kolkata, the festivities and especially the fervour with which Ma (as everyone calls Durga) is worshipped, clothed, loved and fed, made even someone like me, a non Bengali feel rather attached to her. Then followed the immersion. Having grown up a Bombayite all my life, I am reminded of the inexplicable sense of loss that plagues one on visarjan day, to come back to your galli, to see the empty pandal after 10 days of your entire teenage life revolving around it, gives you a taste of detachment that does not linger despite its annual dose. Gatam Gatam Sarvamupekshaneeyam. Detachment is a lesson Hinduism places great importance in, which is probably why the annual immersion of favourite Gods and Goddesses in water so we may be better acquainted with it. A visit to Kumortuli definitely pushes this envelope.
It is just as well that the time we walked into Kumortuli, it was evening. Kali Pujo is round the corner and to walk into a place where the Kali idols are in various states of creation - so all versions, headless rough hewn and ten armed figures to clay moulded and unclothed and bald mannequins are clustered together under blue tarpaulin covered sheds. It is a rather potent dose of reality, after worshipping an all powerful revered goddess who stands in towering isolation and opulence for many days, it is like seeing her before she becomes god, perhaps I was being unusually sensitive, but there was a strong sense of  - "I should not even be seeing this". It almost seems a violation to see that an object of worship is indeed made of straw, and yet I had wanted to see this, unspoken, it was my deepest wish to have this experience. I realise it is important that this reality that is left unprotected and open to anyone who wishes to see it, and open to interpretation says a lot about truth and an intrinsic piety that cannot be touched by physicality or by the cyclical process of creation and destruction. And this may well be true of all forms of life and not just clay idols we worship as Gods.


50-year-old Cynthia Siegel an award-winning sculptor from the US, who was at Kumortuli to learn the special unfired clay technique, is not bothered that Kumartuli is no visible match for her world-class studio in California "I instantly knew that I had to live and work with these artists and started my own research. Finally I applied for a Fulbright scholarship and titled my project 'Clay, community and collaboration' because I knew that I would be a half-baked sculptor till I learnt the art of modeling with unfired clay," Cynthia said. "Our style is to create permanent installations, but here, hundreds of self-taught artists work to create grand idols that find their culmination, rather fruition, only after immersion"
 "Every morning as the kumor started his work, we children gathered around him and gaped in awe as he gradually turned a fistful of straw and a huge mass of clay into a perfectly formed, larger-than-life figure. And then came the most intriguing part — the painting of the third eye of the goddess. The artisan would sit in meditation sometimes for hours and then suddenly in one swift stroke of his paint brush, it would be done.” - Sunil Gangopadhyay

Maho-Ghora-Raavaa Su-Damssttraa Karaalaa |
Vivastraa Shmashaana-[A]alayaa Mukta-Keshii
Mahaakaala-Kaama-[A]akulaa Kaalikeyam
 I am very grateful to Dithi Mukherjee and Diganta (Dizzie) Gogoi, without whom Kumortuli would not have happened for me. I also made this post because Dithi is working on her new Baul Kali Linocut. And her work inspires me beyond belief and brought back Kumortuli memories back with such force. You can check out her Baul Kali here.
Image credits: Vineeta Nair.