Thursday, April 18, 2013

An India moment

On our last day we had a few hours to kill before our long journey home.  We traipsed over to Hauz Khas Village and did some personal shopping. 
I had to take a couple shots of graffiti and a perfectly India sign at the Deer Park next to the warren of shops.
Kookoo India cow

 And then there is this building-sized sea monster?

 But this is classic -- 210 deer, 174 rabbits, 15,500 shrubs?  I can just see an army of uniformed park attendants swarming the grounds once a year with little thin papered notebooks, meticulously noting down every tuft of grass. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

India - Textiles!

Indian Textiles -- a major love of my life...
Today was devoted entirely to all things of brightly embroidered beauty....

We bought piles of mirror cloth toran, which are wall hangings used over doors or windows with festive trim hanging down like oversize rick-rack.

Cowrie shell tassels
 Old Kutchi pillow cover fronts
 Stacks of silk hand stitched shawls
Did I mention how much I love these intricate Kutch mirror worked pieces?  They are from an area in north Gujarat known for it's incredible artistry in cloth.  Often included in girl's dowries, these beautiful cloths take women weeks to complete.  Light dances across the tiny mirrors and the brilliant colors seem to vibrate.

Good old kantha - these blankets made of old cotton saris and other household textiles are an easy thing to overlook.  They are suddenly everywhere in the design world and I keep thinking they are done - over-exposed.  But then we start looking through the piles - turning over one questionable side to find the most delightful pattern on the reverse.  Maybe I'll just open one more, three more, two dozen more -- and that is how you end up with stacks of them -- such fun!  

Speaking of questionable textile purchases...  Yes - we bought a dozen or two kooky patchwork critters - from tiny to trottable.  Camels, horses and elephants -- we couldn't help ourselves.  See how they look like they are making a break for it out the door?  That's what shopping for textiles for 9 hours straight does to you...
Reality of shopping - it takes a lot of patience....
And perseverance -- here is Linda in the basement of the third textile warehouse of the day...

But even the simplest cotton blankets are beautifully rendered in earthy tones, subtle stripes. with delicate hand knotted trim - they are subtle and love to layer.
Other pieces beg to be touched and examined.  These Afghani Zazi textiles are the perfect size to traditionally cover your tribal tea table while having a cup of chai.  The little hand embroidered squares have clusters of blue seed beads completely surrounding their borders. 

Last but certainly not least - a delicious double sided Pashtun pillow cover - these are from the Swat Valley in Pakistan and are covered entirely in the most delicate silk hand embroidery. 
This might very well have to follow me home...

Monday, April 15, 2013

India 3

Amazing India - it is all in the details...

 Peacock carved into old teak shutters
 This incredible craftsman is rebuilding the antique ceiling panel behind him - one teeny, painstaking puzzle piece at a time - and still has a grin for us - wow
 A random baby buggy filled with old shoe forms on iron stands -- someone obviously ordered these - but who??  Why??
Great lion on the side of an antique carriage in the museum up at the fort
 Detail on a pair of doors we bought
An army of rusty bird bells

India 2

There are endless treasures in Rajasthan -- we bought beds and benches, buffets and birds, bajots* and brackets...  Containers full of fabulousness soon to be heading the AZ way.  Our last day in Jodhpur we even got out into the daily markets piled high with vibrant veggies - the lush garden colors competing only with the bright kaleidoscope of saris on the shoppers.  We hiked up to the fort overlooking the blue city below and had a moment to ponder the ancient history of this city we've grown to love over the years.  It's been 16 years now that we've been coming here - crazy.     

*tea tables in Hindi
Diving in
 A cute cart - what a darling coffee table this would make outside

 A collection of old stone ventilators on iron stands

 We bought this antique cabinet by the light of two cellphones when the power went out in one warehouse -- honestly I can see it in the photo so much better than in person!  Classic India moment.  

 Old brackets - these once radiated off of huge columns 8 at at time.  This vendor had a great collection - we bought all 60 he had. 
 Dramatic new carved bed out of old wood - we have one in this creamy finish and one in "medium antique finishing, madam" as they say in Jodhpur -- it means a dark mahogany basically.

 Linda in a metal warehouse

 Spooky old carousel weathering away

 A view of the fort and Jodhpur below

Bitty brass eles rolling along

Friday, April 12, 2013


Once again - back in India!
It is so familiar - sitting here at the Inn Season in Jodhpur.  Quiet evenings after a long day of shopping.  The dust and grime of centuries crusted over the day's clothes, tucked neatly into the hamper for the laundry wallah to take away later.  We stalk through warehouses and yards acres wide for days here looking for the treasures we send back home to the store.


The slight electrocution of my computer as I type - whenever plugged into the makeshift sockets here the voltage ever-so-slightly quivers through the metal casing of the keyboard.
A Kingfisher beer in a colonial era cut crystal glass.

Trilling horns from passing Tata trucks, the wisk-wisk of the bundled stick brooms the yard boys use for leaves, the faint melodies of temple music -- all wafting in the window.
Awkward five course dinners served in the tiny dining room downstairs -- the only dinner service at our guest house -- soup, half a dozen delicious Rajasthani veg dishes, and even ice cream -  I think it all costs around $6.
Waking up again the next day - before dawn to realize the power is out again and the room is still and hot -- what to do until the light comes in again...
And starting the hunt again - new warehouses piled high with remnants of colonial powers, ancient villages, tumbled down towns' worth of goods...

To be continued.