Saturday, January 28, 2012


Threshold Ganesha Remover of Obstacles

Unlike my family or friends, I am not a collector of Ganesha images. Yet, I was surprised to see how many I had in my home! Here are a few samples. Enjoy.

Papercut Ganesha Lantern

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Challenge #54: Purple Haze

I have not been participating in zentangle challenge hosted by I am the Diva in a while, mainly because of time constraints. But, I do follow the challenges regularly and also keep up with what's happening in the world of plucky Laura Harms.

When I discovered that this week's challenge is called Purple Haze I realized that I have already created ZIA that would qualify for the challenge. It is a mandala (kolam) painting that I drew and colored in purple and other colors on a box. It is one of my favorite decorative work and I am happy to be submitting for the challenge. It is available for purchase at my Etsy shop

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Altering an Old Calendar into New

It always seem that at the beginning of the new year one does not seem to have enough calendars for use. Typically, I need one for each room in the house, plus one for the office. I also like to have the religious calendars like the one I get from the temples which are marked with all the Hindu festivals, moon's phases etc,.

Sometimes, I also like to repurpose old calendars into new like the one at the top of the page. It was originally a 2010 calendar I got from a local Chinese restaurant. Shaped like a scroll, in plastic (!), it was the usual kitschy stuff, except that it was a zodiac calendar. I like anything zodiac, so I kept it even after the year was over. As 2012 was approaching, I decided to reuse it with some alterations. These are the alterations I made:

Original 2010 Calendar

1. I kept the "Good Luck Every Year", since it was neutral year wise. 

2. I replaced the year of the Tiger (2010) with the Year of Dragon 2012. Using the word processing software,  I composed the Year of the Dragon with text and image and printed it on a green card stock. I laid it over the over the old text using glue dots.

3. I replaced the cherubic images of bouncy Chinese children with a colorful Hiroshige woodblock print of Tanabata Festival.

4. For the calendar part, I adhered a square of chalkboard cloth over the old calendar with brads. Then drew the grid for the month of January 2012 using chalk and white Gelly roll pen. 

Each month, all that I need to do is to wipe off the chalkboard and create a new grid for the new month. I look forward to it with pleasure. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Enabling the Disabled, 2012

Children at mid-day lunch at Shri Arunodhayam
All concentration! Road Safety Poster Contest

Despite some unexpected events during this recent trip to Chennai (Dec, 2011), I managed to do two projects for the Sukriti Social Foundation: a craft workshop for special educators for mentally challenged children, and jurying a road safety poster contest. Sukriti is a non-governmental organization that I support. Founded by Sowmya Simhan (my sister), it is a  cross-disability organisation based in Chennai (Tamil Nadu, South India) that addresses key disability issues with initiatives in the areas of prevention, rehabilitation, employability and advocacy. (Sowmya too is a victim of childhood polio.) My support for Sukriti usually takes two forms: (1) donation of funds from sales from my handmade shop Dharmakarmaarts and (2) free arts and crafts workshops. (During my visit to India last year, I conducted a jewelry making workshop to a group of physically challenged young women at the Andhra Mahila Sabha.)

I. Paper Crafting Workshop: I was requested by Mr. Iyyappan, who runs a home for orphaned mentally challenged children called Shri Arunodhayam, to conduct a craft workshop for his special education teachers and care-givers. 

Good lunch and Happy Smile!

After much back-and-forth, I decided to do a paper crafting workshop for them. One of the core principles that I follow in teaching these workshops is that the tools and the materials used are economically priced and locally available and, the techniques are accessible and sensible (no burning of Tyvek paper here!). The goal is that the participants, should they choose to, be able to continue with the craft after the workshop on their own. With that in mind, I took a collection of stamps, inks, punches and papers from my own stash for use by the participants. Though my own stash was American bought, I made sure that equivalent materials are available in India. 

The workshop participants were from both sexes--all of them have vocational training in special education. None have been exposed to paper crafting tools like punches or stamps. So, it was a totally new craft experience for them. I started it small with tag decoration and then moved on to decorating book covers.  Each participant first created a blank book using the slot-and-tab method and the proceeded to decorate the cover using scrap papers, old greeting cards, cut outs etc. They were like kids in a toy store, punching and stamping away to glory. Overall, it was a very enjoyable morning.

Happy crafters!

II. Road Safety Poster Contest: It may seem strange, but the biggest contributor to childhood disability in India is not natural diseases like polio, but road accidents. So, it is not surprising that organizations such as Sukriti that focus on disability put a lot of time and effort on raising awareness about road safety among school children. In addition to road safety workshops, Sukriti also sponsors poster contests at local schools. This year almost fifty children participated in the contest and I, along with another artist, juried the contest. I was impressed by their seriousness and many of the posters were creative and accurate on facts. It was tough choosing the winners! Here are some photos of the day and the winning entries.

Road Safety Poster Contestants

Tips on Becoming an Artist

Winning Entries

If you are interested in knowing more about Sukriti, please check out its website.

Thanks for visiting.