Sunday, 17 June 2018

Vacation, Settling in And Back to Work

The Annual vacation starting a few days before April, was just a hectic time of preparation and making sure that schedules and lists were made in advance for - sightseeing in Doha,  spending quality time with my brother and family,  especially my cute nephew, visiting old friends and landmarks and also shopping !

Back in Doha, the place of my oldest memories, before coming to India for schooling,  where we spent all vacations,  started my first job,  and worked for a few years -even after marriage.  This was the longest I had not been to Doha - nearly a decade!!

It was astonishing to see the progress,  the huge number of sky scrapers dotting the horizon,  the Corniche-changed,  yet the same,  the old Sheraton made diminutive by it's towering neighbours and every single road,  and by lane,  just filled with vehicles.

It was great to see the Heritage village and the work that is going into preserving and documenting the bygone era.  On the other hand, the huge advancement in infrastructure and rapid changes on  the landscape including demolition of old institutions like the Popeye restaurant,  the Amani shop, Sana,  the New World Center,  just made us feel like we were visiting a new place,  and not one we had built memories over three decades!


A few pics from our sightseeing.  

Revisiting the sights,  sounds and amazing eateries.  

It was a good thing we did not have a place to stock the lanternS,  decorative plates,  boxes,  ornate lamps and such,  or I might have been tempted to buy a few!  The artistry is amazing.  

There was the unavoidable trips to quite a few malls,  and I succumbed to the wealth of irresistible handbags and purses. 

The biggest spending was on art supplies as I had planned in advance.  It was quite tempting to grab everything I saw,  but managed to ensure that I bought things on my list,by and large,  and so I rewarded myself for good behaviour! - By buying a few things that were not on my list. Hahaa!!!




Taking leave after a blissful month was tough.  Our childhood was full of such scenes,  flying away from half the family with regularity.  AS grown ups, I had thought that saying good bye to my brother would not be as tough,  but somehow the pain was still the same,  made worse by the heart-wrenching sobs of my nephew and sadness of my daughter. 

By now,  we are resigned to the fact that this is going to be an inevitable part of our lives since we plan to meet whenever we can do so. It is the depth of love and caring, that makes saying goodbyes so tough,  and thus not to be taken for granted.  

Back to normal, has been tricky, a whole month just getting back into routine, putting the house to rights,  preparing for the next academic year. 

The one thing that I had been keeping up with, has been the 2018 earrings challenge on instagram.  It is up-to week 24 and I have managed to keep up,  albeit not with the creations that I had planned to make.  

This week's earrings are made of cold porcelain and are handpainted,  with Warli designs.  I will update the earrings of weeks 16 to 23 soon.  

AND yesterday,  was our 17th wedding anniversary.  It was a double celebration with family.  With my sister and brother in law with us,  it was extra special.  Hoping for  few more decades with my best friend and partner.


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Gadget Problems

Ever since my iPad has been acting up,  it has been a huge pain to do anything other than post occasionally on my social media sites and that too,  mainly because I had taken up the earrings challenge for the whole year.!! 

I am one of thoso people who do not take to new devices easily,  and then once used to those,  want to keep them forever.  But this time I did take a huge leap if faith,  and have gone in for the new Lenovo yogabook,  instead of continuing with an iPad.  Mainly becauso of the Wacom drawing pad that is part of its feature. 

It has just been a few days,  and I am just getting used to the device and installing my favorite apps and such. 
HOPE BUYING THIS HAS BEEN A GOOD DECISION.  TIME WILL TELL,  I GUESS..

 





Tuesday, 3 April 2018

#Earringchallenge Weeks 5 to 12

It is the week 13 into the earrings challenge, and I have managed to post a piece, albeit by the skin of my teeth, a couple of times. I have seen a few people do the same, but this was just a personal challenge to see if i can stick to something for a whole year ! The only thing that I found vexing, is when I have projects that have totally different supplies out, it is tough to switch to jewelry supplies every few days in that tiny work spaces. It takes a lot of organisation, and a juggling to keep all of the stuff in that same space.

So here are the earrings in random order, weeks 5 to 10.

It has been fun to make them as varied as possible. I had repeat orders, and it is never easy for me to get multiples of the same. Mainly because I do buy my supplies in variety rather than bulk.

Few days ago, I did get an order for multiples, and thankfully, I had enough of everything to get them done, Also it was ordered before I put away the supplies. So that was a breeze ! Almost makes me want to do all of the elements myself!

These are the earrings of week 11 and 12. The frames are ready made. But they have both been popular designs.
I am getting more orders on variations of the above designs. But they will be limited editions because I do not believe in making things in bulk. The whole point of handcrafting many of my elements is so that it cannot be available elsewhere.

It is vacation time for my daughter, and I find that it is tougher to stick to a schedule, than it was when it was her exams ! The next few weeks of sticking to the challenge, is going to be.... yup, Challenging !!

Check my Facebook page, to see how I fare..

Monday, 26 February 2018

Handcrafted Cold Porcelain Focal, Inspired By Clay Embroidery

The first thing that I was thinking of, when I started this piece, was an earthy palatte of colours that is my favourite. I took pains to ensure that the designs would not seem similar to a couple of pendants, I had done in similar colour tones, before.


While the technique was inspired by the ever popular faux clay embroidery, it is not truly the same as that. It is slightly reminiscent of a henna design , even when it is colourful.

Once the clay design was set in , It was time to add the rhinestones. I find a few aesthetic placements of the bling better, rather than going overboard with it.

Finally, when it was done, it felt like there was still there was something lacking. Since the design was inspired by a mehendi style design, I decided to accent the dimensional design with a few tints of brick red.

I also edged the side with the similar design, with also some raised accents .There are a few amber colour rhinestones, hence when I picked out the simple wooden beads, shaped like rice grains, again, earthy and organic to complement the feel of the pendant - I picked a few amber beads also to create the accents on the necklace.

While I do go off a tangent and sometimes just put together a design, this was one of those that I took a long time to find the right fit. I hope that I was able to do it justice.

Friday, 9 February 2018

1st Month Of The Earring Challenge

First month into the earring challenge, I managed to make them in time ! So happy about that .
With my daughter’s exams coming up, it is going to be more daunting to design new earrings, rather than to make a pair of them.

It is no use sweating about it early on, I have decided to take each day as it comes. Hoping to make the designs more intricate as the year progresses.

I have decided to blog each month on the challenge, instead of each week.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Kathakali - Mixed Media Art On Canvas

This is the work in progress, which I started with acrylic paints, and the dot painting was done with two sizes of round brushes, mainly number 6 and number 1 for the fine dots.

I have been thinking of doing a piece on Kathakali, in acrylics, but it is not something that is so tough to see in Kerala! In fact, to make something about Kathakali, in Kerala, and having it look totally new, is a tough ask. It can be seem in every medium, across every possible surface.

It was while I was checking out dot mandalas, that it occured to me, that maybe that is something that would look uniques. Atleast, so far, I have not seen any Kathakali motif rendered in the pointillism style.

So it started out with that , and it was really exciting to see that it looked nice on the stark black background. And then , I was checking out all the ornate head gears and the face painting that is the trademark of Kathakali, I thought that it would look more striking to make it a mixed media piece and adorn it with rhinestones and some tiny sheeshas or mirrors , that too, framed in my favourite cold porcelain.

In the beginning, I had decided to center the figure on the canvas. but as I was about to sketch it, I decided to shift it a bit to the side. Actually, it was a momentary instinct, and I has no clue what to do with the rest of the space.

And as I was checking more details, I happened across a Kathakali video, and the lit lamp in the beginning. So the final detail was in place.
Finally, this is the finished canvas.

Monday, 8 January 2018

An Earring Challenge, And A Week Into 2018 !

Already a week has flown by, and felt like we wished each other a Happy New Year, just moments ago!
I am not one to start a year by making resolutions, that I fail to remember by year end. Been there, done that.

My goal is just to have productive days , and just tune in to peace. I have been doing a whole lot of the latter, by weeding out people who just seem to thrive on negativity. Not always easy to avoid, but be as scarce as possible around that company.

I am also making an effort to connect with people who mean so much to me. I realise that there are quite a few than I had thought! It was great getting in touch with old classmates and teachers and just walking down memory lane, for our school's alumni meet, last month.

Recently, I had decided to just put my work out there, even the ones that I was not really happy with. Quite a lot of my experimenting stuff gets trashed or broken up and reworked. Even if I do ultimately rework the designs, I have decided to record those too, so as to chalk them up to lessons learnt, mainly on what not to do !

The toughest thing in my current situation, is that same problem anyone who works from home, faces! You may have a dedicated space to work in, but there are numerous callers at home, many who never get the fact that disrupting the creative mode is painful, and sometimes to get back into that state, is not easy at all. This is beside the time alotted to family, cooking, daily chores, adjusting my creative time to accomodate shedules of everyone in the house, welcoming guests and relatives, and looking after my daughter's needs. It is sometimes a miracle that I have anything left to spark my creativity, but stubbornly clinging to spending time in my space, atleast 5 days a week, is what I have been trying to stick to, even if that means just rearranging my supplies, or going through my notes and such.

To mark the New Year, I have taken up a challenge on Instagram, to make a pair of earring each week, so by the end of 2018, hopefully, I will have 52 new earrings to show. ! A pair of earrings per week does not sound too daunting, but just this past week, is enough to indicate how days just meld into each other!


I am happy the first pair of earrings, made from handmade Cold porcelain elements. I just hope all of the successive earrings are on par with these, if not better. I will certailnly strive to make them so.

It was certainly a great start with my little sis and brother in law, here. Nothing like loved ones to make the days brighter. I also hope to get back to painting. Instead of always going for big pieces which take a long time planning, and somehow I do not end up doing anything but the preliminary sketches, concept and colours. I plan to do a few watercolour and acrylics on paper too.. I just love the soft watercolours done with one strokes and such. It has been ages since I did any !

Speaking of big paintings, I have currently started one, that will take a considerable amount of time to complete ! It is going to be a mixed media piece, with acrylic paints, and I had to decide on pointillism technique, of all !! Anyway, once I started on it, it seems like that is the correct fit, and so far, I do like how it is taking shape !

Sometimes, I do feel like I cannot do things the easy way ! But it is fun, and a bit therapeutic too ! So I cannot wait to see how it will look finally .

There are a few more goals I have set for myself, but mainly, I just want to make each day count. Hopefully, the rest will fall in place.