Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shisha (Mirror) Embroidery

Wallhanging with applique and mirror work (personal collection)
One of the most distinctive features of Indian embroidery is the shisha (mirror) technique. It is a technique in which a small, flat and round piece of mirror is encased on a fabric using a series of chain stitches. This extremely popular technique is used on all fabrics and all types of clothing (sari, tunic), accessories (bags), linen (pillow covers, bed covers) and so on. The trick to this techniques the tightly woven chain stitches that keep the mirror from slipping out of the casing. It is really quite easy and a fun technique and pieces of mirror strategically placed can enliven a piece of embroidery very beautifully (like in the picture above). Below are few more examples of this mirror work:

Gujarati Bedcover (personal collection)

Yarn wrapped box with mirror work on the cover (my Etsy)

A cool bag for my ipad (personal collection)

Mixed media canvas art with mirrorwork (my Etsy)

Sling bag (personal collection)
If you are interested in learning this technique, here is a link to a very clear and detailed tutorial.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week as Art

Wow...Very excited to be selected for the CreateMixedMedia's Week as Art feature. It is such an honor!  (Thank you Tonia.) As you can see below, I used my favorite materials, burlap, vinyl chalk cloth and my latest discovery Pentel's Wet Erase Chalk marker. If you go to my Etsy shop, you will see how I upcycle burlap.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Electromagnetism: Attraction of Opposites

This is my rendition of the scientific phenomenon known as electromagnetism in a three-dimensional format. The idea for it came after seeing digital rendition of protein molecules in the shape of ribbons, tendrils and corkscrews in the chemistry magazines that my husband, who is a chemist, subscribes to.

Electromagnetism is one of the fundamental forces of nature that regulate the movement of particles. To represent this phenomenon in art form,  I used a stretched canvas, embroidery threads, metallic beads and paints. I edged the borders with a map of the world to emphasize it show its material aspects.

I have also incorporated some zentangle patterns, such as the Golven to add depth to the design. It was not intentional but as I was doing the art, I noticed how these patterns were getting woven into it. Overall, I am pleased with the three dimensionality I have been able to achieve just with hand tools and techniques.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Redefining our past to recreate our future

The cover of this journal was originally a bag. An embroidered sari that I bought at a handloom and handicraft exhibition two months ago came packaged in this bag. Made of spun polyester there was nothing remarkable about the bag except the words that were written on it: "Redefining our past to recreate our future" " Hast Karigar Society". "Hast Karigar Society" means "a community of artisans who make things with their hands". Thus a community of artisans are reaching back into past traditions of making things by hand for creating livelihood in the present. As an handmade artisan myself, the message touched me. After I had taken the sari out, I wanted to reuse the bag in some way with the text intact. Since the material was soft but strong, I remade it into a journal cover. 

I used the entire material of the bag into two layers with the top layer consisting of the text. I embellished the cover with wood beads in several places. The journal has three signatures for a total of 120 pages (counting both sides). It closes with a detachable cord. The journal measures 6 1/2" by 9 1/2".

Available in my Etsy Shop

For more eco-friendly journals in my shop click here

Sales from this and every item in this ship go to support handicapped Indian children at http://www.sukriti.org

Thanks for visiting.