Monday, 23 November 2015

The Quintessential Indian ... Interior!

Well, now that I have you here, I need to confess that there is actually ...such ...thing! 

For a country that is as rich, dynamic, complex, crazy, contradictory and multifarious as Mother India would be a misnomer to use the word 'quintessential' or 'typical' to describe any of its overarching characteristics, artistic proclivities or aesthetics.

Somewhere in Puri ... 
internal grills, wooden shutters, deep, 
 dark vermillion, tribal borders ...& a bust of Lenin!!  

You will find on the east of the Subcontinent a reverence for dark, lineal, earthy & brooding colours, designs & utilities -- as befits the folkloric & tribal observances of, say, Odisha & Assam -- as well as the austere, erudite tastes & influences of both pre & post-British Bengal

Colonial-style, peacock wicker-chairs
weaved moda (stool/table) in a Bengal bungalow

Terracotta, earthen-ware, stone/concrete walls & floors,
& lattice screens are common in east Indian homes

Traditional textiles - Odishi, handloom, ikat sari in 
 mustard and navy blue/aubergine. Tonal 'tastes' seem to 
reflect the staple diet of fish, dahl & brinjal (eggplants)

*A Kolkata classic. 
Earthy hues, historic, time-worn collectibles, dhokra (brass) accessories, plates, pictures, patina & solid rose-wood furniture...

...All add to the fusion of old-world charm & indigenous artisanship of this region.

Over to the west side, the desert dominates, giving way to an explosion of light-absorbing, architectural & textile-reflecting counterpoints. Rajput & Mughal warriors, Gujarati Garba & Rajasthani Kalbeliya dancers, snake-charmers, gypsies & merchants all accede & ascend to the spectacle of effusive colour. To dazzle in 'full' light, or by romantic moonlight, is both a palatial & personal predilection in these parts.

*Don the sunnies for this Jaipur gem -
fashion designer, Liz Bruce's confection of
cushioned alcoves, elaborate arches & stenciling,
cobalt-glass chandeliers & floor pillows for flouncing

Doors of distinction.
Jewel-toned Amber fort with its opulent recesses
& gestures in gold

 A chorus of kaleidoscopic choli blouses awash with
the west-Indian wow factor -- textured, glittering threads &
no colour restrictions, set the tone for one's home

 *Bolsters are BIG & reclining is recommended!
Enamel, glass, precious-stone & metal inlay,
marble, mud-brick & maharanis combine to produce the most lavish west Indian interiors

*A decorative jhoola (Indian swing)
just seals the deal

Down south, with its tropical climate and lush, verdant greenery, a light hand & deft touch see simple, subdued cotton textiles, brass fixtures, wooden houses, sculptures & evocative rangoli patterns -- all part of an intrinsic southern lore, governed by female energy (shakti), motherhood & holistic living. This classical, artistic influence & beautifully serene style can be widely viewed & experienced throughout much of Asia, where Hinduism was exported -- most notably in Indonesia, Cambodia, Burma & even Vietnam.   

Keralan teak-wood mansion with sculptural roofs,  
Venetian etched mirrors 
& sacred Hindu deepam (oil lamp)

*Simple, white & indigo cotton, 
Nelson-fluted floor-lamp & side-table

*Easy, breezy, ethereal ...
with trompe l'oeil stair mural

*Teak toys, antique brass scissors 
other apprized items

Chalk rangoli design
welcoming friends & good fortune

To the north of the continent, where vertiginous cliffs, mountainous terrains & robust residents salute the source of all life -- rivers, endangered eco-systems & the loveliest of low-clouds ...we stumble upon practical magic. Fishing, farming sacred ritual & all things fertility come into play in art, design & building. Villages & villagers of the north place great emphasis on blankets, bamboo, coir, cane, Warli paintings, murals & metal-work.

*Traditional Indian charpoy bed 
& blankets galore

*Sculpted wood & woven cane, sparkly 
cushions & silvery things (including Nandi the bull -
bearer of truth & righteousness)

Handmade bamboo 'chik' screens
allow for airiness & peekaboo privacy

'Warli' home paintings of the north
tell the tales of nomadic Adivasis

While there's enviable variety & heart-heaving abundance in the textiles, textures & treatments of Indian homes & palaces -- from north to south, east to west, big, small, traditional or contemporary -- one thing underpins them all; the interpretation, expression & celebration of the specific environment in which they exist and the ancestral legacies that have coloured & constructed them.

I find the hearths & homesteads of my homeland to be imbued with instinct & individuality ...& much like the people themselves; mindful, artful & decidedly devotional. 

Thank you for making space in your day to read my post 
#All Writing & Water-marked photos by Rani.C (Char)
*Image from Elle Decor International edition 2012 - Kolkata home of Surajit Iyengar (personal copy)
*Image from Celebrity Style magazine 2006 (personal copy)
*Seeta Devi in the film, Prem Sanyas (The Light of Asia) 1925
*From 'India Style' - Monisha Bharadwaj (personal copy)
*Image from 'Indian Interiors' - Sunil Sethi, featuring the south-Indian home of Jean Lesage (personal copy)
*From 'Indian Interiors' - by Sunil Sethi.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Of Beauty, Background & Eastern Belonging

Beauty is in more than just the EYE of the beholder … it is in the very SOUL. Without it, soulfulness, that is, things are just things -- no shape, context or meaning. And I LOVE beauty & beautiful things to the depths of my soul. If that sounds shockingly materialistic or shamefully shallow, well how’s this, I make no apology for it either! 

Tonnes of tuberose & jasmine Gajra (flower garlands) 
& their necklace twin below.

Cotton/silk materials used for
OneRoseOneRuby necklaces, emulate flower leis.

To have a discerning eye, a discriminating taste, an appreciative appetite for beauty (AND, by default, the artist, artisan, crafter, atelier who’s beautiful thoughts germinated into a tangible creation that so captured you) ... is, in my opinion, not necessarily a bad thing. The secret is in the economy of choosing & the reasons behind the choice. Everyone’s desires, motivations & ‘money-bags’ are different, of course, but the finding, filtering, flirting & fascination with objects of beauty are part of the dance of life, & sometimes even, the letting go of the need to HAVE them. (I’ve not ENTIRELY reached that stage yet!)

Hand-crafted choker of 24Kt (mesh) gold.
A (maha)Rani family heirloom.

Bangles to bequeath, betroth & 
bedazzle the subcontinental lady.

Sensually, transparent net-sarees with delicate Chikankari embroidery ... to be transformed for my shop!

I, for one, am a person highly sensitive to my surroundings. A bare wall & a beige sofa are an ‘emergency surgery’ situation in my home. I’m also the individual who buys ‘travel candles’ & lights incense in the loo, for, you know, devotion … to the dunny goddess! From the tenderest age (in my homeland of India), I have witnessed colourfully colossal din-dins to the deities, fulgent fashions fit for a feathered monarch, high-octane, fragrant festivities, the likes of which only the Gods can fully digest, & homes festooned with truck-loads of tinsel, that TALKED! All of this has saturated my inner-world with an intense light & vivacious pulse -- the volume & velocity of which are always on MAX.

Tinsel ... of the 'vocal' variety!
(Old Delhi -- Chandni Chowk market)

Colourful crescent moons at the Muslim 
marriage registry (Kolkata)

As a consequence, I simply can’t live without the warmth & glow of colours in my home that recreate the dazzling sunset over the Yamuna river, nor the contrasting sheen & coolness of exquisite alloys against my skin, echoing full-moon nights, collecting water from a well. I always ‘hear’ bracelets, ‘smell’ sandalwood & ‘taste’ rose-water in my creations -- for they are the essence of the Orient ... & the bed-time story of my youth.

'Teratali', tribal dancer -- 
the embodiment of extravagance
colour & cultural connectedness
(Ranakpur, Rajasthan)

 Pink, orange, purple & green
Agra, a river & a row-boat.

My 'OneRoseOneRuby' shop pieces are a living, breathing tribute to this heritage. Every fabric, sari, trim, filigree-design, sumptuous stone & swinging pendant is a sonorous song to the past, present & future of my creative life -- afforded to me by ‘accident’ of birth & the ‘provision’ of certain artistic leanings. These memories & personal accessories; hand-crafted, designed & created by me, bring me enormous comfort … & much more, they bring me (& hopefully others) immense joy & pleasure.

'OneRoseOneRuby' textiles, trinkets, tassels, trim ...
= my treasure & my toil

Pleasure, for me, is the ultimate reward for a life well 'spent' ... AND intentioned. In my case, this has been studying history, commerce & art, independent travel, living abroad (both in Europe & Asia) … and seeking & ‘speaking’ beauty wherever I go. Yes, for me, beautiful things need to speak. They need to teleport, translate in all tongues & transmit endearing energies. They need to remind me of certain events & emotions -- hold strong memory connections of some ONE, some PLACE, some TIME; a thoughtful, well-made gift from a lover, a congratulatory gift to self, one's first pay-check purchase, that dream-trip to Tangiers ... each offering a story of our likes, loves, tastes, traits & interactions.

Cairo's carpets. 
A middle-eastern melange & magical remembrance.

Antique Ottoman oil lamps. Turkey's got taste ... & talent!

There needs to be ALL of this, coupled with croon-worthy craftsmanship & a sharp sense of history, for a thing to have ‘value’ for me. In my world, you see, ‘things’ are not just functional ... they are EXPERIENTIAL, often emblematic & almost always edifying.

Mud-brick paintings & 
primitive places (Shilpgram, Udaipur)

A medieval marvel ... 
Kalna, terracotta temple carving.

I don't want to get to the end of my days with a storage-unit filled with meaningless fandangles that were de rigueur for a hot-minute. No, I want to own things, make things, gift, see & share things that stand the test of time ... that turn heads, start dialogues, warm hearts. I want my life & my painted tomb to say (like Tutankhamun himself) … I was here … I lived ardently, expansively … & I liked a bit of the good stuff! Xx

Thank you for making space in your day to read my post 
#This post seeks to articulate the 'SOUL' of OneRoseOneRuby & appears as a link on my website, under that tab/title.
#You can read about my jewelry process & dedication to the craft 'HERE' or ... 'RETURN TO MY SHOP'
#All Writing & #Photos by Rani.C (Char)