Monday, December 7, 2015

No Sew No Glue Sari Journal: An Immigrant's Journey

It was my favorite sari. Handwoven from the finest softest silk cotton, it was one of the best specimens of the Oriya hand loom weaving style. I brought it with me to the US thirty years ago. When the number of suitcases I could bring with me was limited to two, I gave away several of my saris to my sister, but not this one. But quickly it became obvious that the very same qualities that made it so lovely in India made it an impractical garment in the US. It slowly sank to the bottom of the pile and languished there for thirty years. I could not bear to throw it away. Then one day,  as I was making my rice bag journals it came to me that I could make cloth journals out of it. I cut the six yards into three parts, washed and starched each one individually. I tore them into roughly equal sized pieces and using the slot and tab technique created the journal you see above . I used the pieces as they were which led to some interesting variations among the pages. The top page above , for example, comes from the end piece of the sari and has fringes while the two below come from the border and the body sections.

I was very pleased with the way it come out. I decorated, wrote on it, painted---oh, the possibilities were endless. On one of the pages I wrote a little message "Bloom where you are planted" which is what this old sari  and I have done.

Last summer, it was published in the Cloth Paper Scissors Pages issue. This sari has reinvented and replaced itself in such creative ways. I wonder where and what it will be next, I wonder.

A popular Chinese saying (from the Book of Dao-De-Jing), this page was created using various fabric markers and Prisma brush pens.

This fabric collage page was created using remnants from old silk saris on which I stamped paisley
print using hand-carved wood blog from India. The image of the cranes came from an 18th century Chinese painting. The quote around the image is from T.S. Eliot : "The end of all exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time".

This is fabric post card that I made with the word "Aseema" meaning "without borders" hand embroidered. 

 Handwritten using Prisma brush pens and collaged with ephemera.

Embroidered, painted and handwritten. 

Silk and stamped with jacquard paints using wood block stamps.

This is a favorite quote from J.R.. Tolkien: "Not all those who wander are lost".  I used a bamboo stencil for background and collaged with an applique cut out from an old dress and a little carved bone tortoise.

Below are some additional photos from my trip to Santa Fe. These were taken at the Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu where Georgia O'Keefe spent the second half of her life and the scenery around her became her muse.

These photos are untouched except for cropping. New Mexico skies are really this blue.

Thanks for visiting. Linked to Art Journal Journey 
and Paint Party Friday


  1. Wow, what a treasure, absolutely beautiful. Thanks for joining us at Art Journal Journey! Hugs, Valerie

  2. Your fabric journal is more than wonderful!! And I love the story about this old sari of you. There is so much more I think about the journal and post but I'm too tired now to write more. But I think I will come back again
    Ciao Beo

  3. Oh wow.. amazing artwork ! I am thrilled about all this! Thank you very much for joining us at Art Journal Journey Indira!

  4. Your Sari journaling art is wonderful. Beatiful details and wise words.
    Happy holiday time to you, too ♥

  5. You have preserved your beloved sari so beautifully-each page of this book being very special. I will now remember this when I come across a special piece that although cannot be kept as is I can keep a part of it and use it in my art. Gorgeous pictures of Santa Fe too!

  6. I love your fabric collage page most of all, but all your work is simply beautiful. Wonderful to have been published. And that you used your sari is such an intimate part of your work. hope you have a peaceful weekend.

  7. That is truly genius. Beautifully turned into art.

  8. WOW! Gorgeous artwork!

  9. What a beautiful way to resurrect a favorite item of clothing!! A wonderful tribute to honour your past and present! A keepsake, an intimate treasure! This is such a wonderful inspirational story!!

    Hugs Giggles


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