Thursday, December 22, 2011

The India Song Project: Reinventing the Panchatantra

The Danzinger Gallery in New York, currently has an exhibition of stunning images by photographer Karen Knorr. She traveled to North India to photograph some of our most beautiful forts and palaces and then digitally inserted photographs of animals (also photographed by her earlier). 

The Queen's Room, Udaipur City Palace

Takhat Vilas, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

This series titled 'India Song', has recently been nominated for the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize- one of Europe's most prestigious awards for photography. 

Samode Palace

Udaipur City Palace

Karen has made a special effort to capture the mardana and zanana  spaces in the Mughal and Rajput buildings that she photographed. Traditionally, the men spent most of their time in the mardana spaces and in the zanana- the women. You can read more about that here

Humayun's Tomb, New Delhi

Aam Khas, Junha Mahal, Dungarpur

This last image might be familiar to most of you. It grazed Elle Decor's (India) cover for their 10th Anniversary issue. On a personal note, I would like to thank Kamini for mailing me the issue- Thank you, K! You're the best :) I spent many-a-night drooling over the issue.

Karen's exhibition ends tomorrow- sorry for the short notice, my fellow New Yorkers. 

Here's making up for it- The Met Museum has a wonderful exhibit on, till Jan 8th 2012, of over 220 paintings from India, dated from 1100 to 1900. You can read more here.

I did visit the museum over 2 weeks ago to view the exhibit (and earlier even attended a Amjad Ali Khan concert for it's opening), but was quite distracted by the beautiful new Islamic Art wing instead. I promise to bring back photos of both soon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nina Paley's Avatars of Vishnu

Earlier this year, Nina Paley of the Sita Sings the Blues fame released a series of artwork, in her distinctive style, titled the Avatars of Vishnu. The artwork was originally designed for the Brooklyn Museum, in the traditional Javanese shadow puppet style.

Gnaana now offers the artwork as a calendar for 2012, with all the South Asian holidays marked.

Go here to check out the other avatars and to download them under Nina Paley's revolutionary free license- CC-BY-SA.
Go here to buy the calendar.
In 2013, I would just cut out the images and frame them for some Nina Paley's museum-worthy artwork on my wall.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And the winner is.....

.... Ratzzz!! Please find her comment below,

I was down with Viral fever and hospitalized. Came back home, opened Google reader and found this. What more can i ask for the Guy in my life who spent all his waking hours with me in the hospital, forsaking his office and friends.. :)

Cause I love the way he looks in Kurtas -

Oh he is a big time Party guy, hence this -->


Congratulations Ratzzz! Krithika and I are glad it was  Ratzzz, her husband definitely deserves a gift for having taken such good care of her when she was hospitalized. Congrats 'Hubby Ratzzz!'

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Maheshwari Janarthanan: Little One's Doodles

I know hitting the refresh button means no longer dedicating a whole post to just one feature, but I do have a few old promises keep. So you will see the odd feature popping up in your Google Reader or FB feed over the next weeks.
Here's a story of yet another lovely creative soul who quit her full time job to pursue her passion. 

Maheshwari Janarthanan- erstwhile graphic designer, currently a full time illustrator.

Sources of Inspiration- books, songs, movies, under water, colours, people

 For those who are trying hard to read what's written, the lovely words are,

when the spirits are low, 
when the day appears dark,
when work becomes monotonous,
when hope hardly seems worth having,
just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road,
without thought on anything but the ride you are taking
When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help the person to realize his dream

The path to fame and fortune, you ask? Facebook! Maheshwari uploaded some of her doodles on Facebook and the tremendous response (mostly from people she didn't even know) motivated her to launch Little One's Doodles

She designs and sells beautiful...

Tea towels



and Coasters

To see more of Maheshwari's work, please visit her blog or her Facebook page.

Don't forget to drop by and participate in Shopo's giveaway

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shopo Giveaway

Shopo is back on SHP, this time for a giveaway. Yep, you heard right! 

Win a Rs. 1000 voucher to buy gifts for the special man in your life.

The rules? Simple!

Pick any gift(s) for the man in your life (boyfriend? dad? brother? husband? son?) in the budget of Rs.1000 and give us a fun reason for having chosen that gift by writing to us on SHP's Facebook wall! If you don't have a Facebook account, go ahead and leave us a comment here below this blog post.

If Krithika and I find your reason the most fun, we will give you all you have ordered for AND this lovely pair of Pachi Jade and Ruby Jumkas from Accede Fashionz worth Rs. 2999.

If you've chosen products that are worth more than 1000 bucks, you can go ahead with the order and get an immediate refund of Rs.1000. So you only have to pay the balance over Rs. 1000. I know we read all your doubts the moment they cross your mind ;)

All the lovely things you can buy for Rs. 1000 and under....

The giveaway is open from Monday, November 14th and closes at midnight on Friday, November 25th. Delivery is free within India.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The New SHP Says Hello

 ~ A Love Story of a Blogger and Her Blog ~

Love at Second Sight: When blogging first burst into the Indian scene, I stayed away. Everybody I knew seemed to write a blog. Meh. Fast forward a few years- A move to New York City. The tiny world of 'The Arts' as I had known it, exploded in my face after what Manhattan had to offer.  A year or two later, an annoyance set in on how a large part of the new Indian creative talent was relatively unknown here. 

SHP was born. I fell head over heels in love with the design blog community. It has been a wonderful year long journey of meeting several creative folks, online and offline. 

Growing Apart: I slowly realized that I had dived right into the deep end of the pool. I loved what I was doing, but simply didn't have the time to handle the amount of correspondence and requests for features that landed in my SHP inbox. It was starting to weigh me down.

Denial: I furiously typed responses, coordinated feature dates, coaxed out an artist's story; all on the tiny screen of my iPhone on my commute. I wrote up posts offline and hit publish as soon as I surfaced from Manhattan's underground subway system. All this multitasking eventually (and predictably) resulted in a complete 'blog burnout'. 

So-Not-Over-You: I sporadically resurfaced, but the 500 unread mails in my inbox kept blinging at me with the ominous red labels I place on unread emails. When I mulled over my reasons for starting the blog, I felt immensely guilty about not replying to all those creative folks that needed a shout out.

Re-Kindling the Romance: I don't give up on relationships in real life, I decided I shouldn't here. I hit the refresh button. I disappeared to teach myself the basics of photoshop, CSS, HTML; I gave SHP a cosmetic change. Like it? Love it? Hate it? I wait with bated breath. I'm blowing bubbles to kill my stress, while I wait to hear from you.

Voila! A solution to everything that was bogging me down! Notice new tabs/ pages right on top? 

A curated list of 'Favorite Indian Designers': A  growing list of all the young creative Indian talent India has to offer. Writing in to SHP? I promise to add you to the list. The word 'curated' here means that promises  can at times be bent on discretion ;) I hope to do bi-weekly profiles of all the new artists that are added to the page. Keeping my fingers crossed that this should ease my 'blogload' and also give me the leeway to blog on all the other stores, topics and pretty things that I want to have excited animated conversations with you, my lovely readers.

The 'Shop Indian' page: I get a large number of emails asking me if I can dole out information on places to buy desi stuff online, the stores to visit on trips home or where the people I blog about retail. It's is now all on SHP's landing page. Need a quick reference list? Hit Shop Indian!

Verdict please? Like SHP's new avataar?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diwali Wishlisting with Shopo

Diwali here, far away from the motherland is quite tame. It involves heading to a friend's place for dinner and some Indian-esque dressing up. Back home, Diwali was a week/ two week long celebration involving lakshmi puja, a week long marriage of tulsi to krishna, gorging on sweets and lots of noise and sparkle. So I promptly agreed when Krithika asked me to come up with a Diwali wishlist from products launched by Shopo exclusively for Diwali. As an NRI, all I can do is dream about an extravagant Diwali, so dream a little with me?

 Diwali is all about....

 An invitation for an evening of celebrations
 L to R: 1, 2 and 3

 An evening brightened by the soft light of candles/ diyas

 L to R: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

An excuse to dress up: Sigh... This truly is a wishlist. I love sarees, but never get to wear them here.

 L to R: 1 and 2

A bit of sparkle, a bit of bling

L to R: 1, 2, and 3

And of course, an excuse to re-decorate your home!

L to R: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Love what you see, head here to Shopo to check out their Diwali offerings.

~ Happy Diwali ~

{Credit for all images go to Shopo and the creative talent behind the products}

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Art of Stenciling

As all of you who've read this post, know how much I love going beyond just dabbing some color on walls. Here is some gorgeous stencil inspiration (To be specific, inspired by India pied a terre via Pinterest), that has been making me wish I didn't live in a rental.

Over the past 2 years, with great delight, I've followed Maryam setting up of her boutique hotel 'Peacock Pavilions'. I love how she has stenciled Moroccan patterns in so many innovative ways with absolutely gorgeous results.

A stenciled staircase

Ceiling and Floors

And even stenciled placemats!

Here's some more inspiration from Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio responsible for several of the stencil projects featured above at Peacock Pavilions.

This lovely stencil design called the 'Gujarat Indian Border' was on sale the last time I checked. I need to mention that the colors used here also have lovely names- China Blue, Bengal Rose, Indian Purple and Agapanthus.

Leaving you with one last image...
 I had a wonderful thanksgiving with family and friends. Hope yours was as good?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SHP Feature: E'thaan

The story for E'thaan starts with Ritu Varuni's architectural thesis. She lived in Nagaland for a year to conduct research for her thesis. It's usage in traditional architecture and craft among the Nagas was an eye opener and inspired her to start a bamboo craft development project in Arunachal Pradesh. It's now been 18 years and Ritu's love slowly took the form of E'thaan. E'thaan is a Lotha Naga word meaning something 'new'.

 Tortoise Coasters

Ritu had also begun to work with Sanjhi and wood craft artisans from North India since 1999. Over the years as her organization gained popularity she was frequently asked if she had a shop. On her move to Delhi, entered Bharati Chadha, Ritu's friend who was a marketing expert. And together they started E'thaan in 2004. Ritu and Bharati's love for traditional craft and their desire to support the artisans is visible in that they pay the craftsmen fully on completion of a product and take the risk of sale on themselves.

L to R: Handcrafted tealight holder in stone, Bookends hadcrafted from stone and Carved tile door knobs

A mix of strong ethics and an innovative use of traditional handcrafted woodwork led to them being awarded the UNESCO Seal of Excellence Award in 2006.  

 Sanjhi teak floor lamp

Apart from the products featured here, E'thaan also makes gorgeous pieces of furniture. They  specialize in wood, stone and bamboo interiors, with a focus on energy conservation. Please visit their website here to take a look at some gorgeous divans, side tables and floor lamps.

 Carved Roti Box

I came out of hibernation to do an SHP Feature to thank Bharati. I bought this absolutely gorgeous Masala Dibba from E'thaan a while ago and Bharati's professionalism left me gasping. She asked for my parents' phone number; called and confirmed that she had mailed it out and then called them a day later to check if it was delivered to their satisfaction. Thank you Bharati! I think a combination of Ritu's passion to work with artisans and Bharati's personal touch will definitely bring more awards E'thaan's way.

 Carved wood masala dibba with ceramic containers

Also, E'thaan will be at the Dastakar Bazaar from 8th to 19th October at Crafts Museum, New Delhi. Please drop in to drool. For all the non-Delhites take the drooling online to their website or Facebook page. 

{Credit for All Images to E'thaan} 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Craftsmen from Morocco at Work

I absolutely love Moroccan architecture, design, lanterns, embroidery and I could go on; as would anybody reading this blog.

Here are a few gorgeous images from a Moroccan home that was a spotlighted on Elle Decor a few issues ago to give you a taste of Morocco invading a home.

Hopefully, you've now fallen in love with Morocco too? Then this video by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York of Morrocan craftsmen at work should be a treat for your visual senses.

The craftsmen are working on a wing of the New galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia. You can find more information about the new wing here.

The Met along with the Rubin Museum of Art, happens to be one of my favorite museums in Manhattan. If just the wing is so beautiful, could you imagine how gorgeous treasures must be treasures that the museum is going to house there soon?!

I bid you goodnight or good morning, as the case may be, with a huge smile of anticipation on my face.

Tip: If you are in town and visiting the Met, call me. Else, make sure you go looking for the Spanish section. When you stumble on a sunlit courtyard with intricately carved balconies and a high ceiling covered in tiles you know you are in the right place ;)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Fasinating Art of Re-creating Photos of Old Hindu Deities

First, there was performance artist Pushpamala N re-creating the familiar Raja Ravi Verma oleograph of goddess Lakshmi to much acclaim.

 Image from here

Photographer Manjari Sharma recently launched an interesting project to do similar work at a much grander scale. I'm not sure if I agree with her statement that there aren't photographs of Hindu deities in India- as far as I remember most homes have/ had multiple! But reiterate, interesting project nevertheless.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What do Royalty and the Streets of Delhi Have in Common?

...........The fashion designer JJ Valaya. JJ Valaya recently turned photographer and the results are a stunning mix of gorgeous textiles and antique jewelery. As soon I laid my eyes on the stunning black and white images, I had to come back from obscurity to do this post.

 The overnight change in their lifestyles in free India- A maharaja sharing a bench with a commoner, another standing proud in front of a slum and yet another sitting upright among the ruins of his fort....

 ..... And the contrast with a fleeting glimpse of their former glory.

For more pictures, please go here.

{Credit for all images to JJ Valaya}