Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Tonight the task of swathing the tiger in red velvet will be complete.

Monday, August 30, 2010

not calcutta

A neglectful patch of bloglessness ... I'm now working towards showing the entire body of work that is the vanishing ... all three tigers, 5,000 glass bullets and oh yes a new component that I decided upon just over a month ago.

Of course it involves LOTS of sewing and I'm now sailing close to the wind to complete it, as is often the case.

On my last day in Kolkata, I bought three beautiful white dupattas - the long sheathes of fabric that are worn draped over the shoulders. These ones are very fine cotton, open weave and handloom. Didn't have a purpose or particular idea in mind until discussing the advantages of wall-texts vs. no wall-texts with a friend, I pondered stitching the text I wanted to use on to the dupattas.

So, here is the last and longest that is not yet complete - 'the gift'.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

turning 40

Happy Birthday Archana!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Achintya has about twelve teenage nieces who looked after me on the morning of the puja. We hung out in his grandmother's room on the bed, which works as a huge sofa, while various family members and friends came and went.

I was given 'prasad' ... sweets blessed by the priests, and tea and was introduced to Sayandip, the youngest member of the house at one year old. He was passed around amongst the girls and never touched the ground once. I was very taken with his bagh impersonation, a wide open mouth, screwed up nose and a silent roar every time someone said 'bagh'.

one thousand names

Achintya, who made my tigers, lives in beautiful old family home in Mandirtala, with a joint household of around fifty people. They are Brahmins and have lived there for many generations. The family temple at one end of the compound, is over two hundred and fifty years old and is well known among Hindu pilgrims.

On Tuesday they celebrated Annapurna Puja and invited me to join them. Annapurna is a manifestation of Parvati, Shiva's consort and she is the goddess of nourishment. And Annapurna has one thousand names.

Achintya constructed the deities, as he does for all their pujas.

I took some rasgullas, sandesh and burfi from Jugal's Sweet Shop which were offered to Annapurna for blessing by the priests (Achintya's uncle and brother). They had been chanting since 6.30 am and would continue throughout the day until around midnight. People were coming and going and with all the household there as well, it was bustling and relaxed.

Tonight the family will carry the deities in procession down to the Ganges and immerse them in the river, completing the puja for another year.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Yesterday I had lunch at Sholo Ana Bangali with Kazima and then went to the Victoria Memorial to see an exhibition of students work from Rabindra Bharati University. There was also an exhibition of paintings and drawings by artists from the West, watercolours and prints from 18th & 19th century which was fascinating.

The Victoria Memorial is self-explanatory and much has been written about it. The monument was commissioned by Lord Curzon, the Viceroy at the time, after Victoria's death in 1901. It cost over ten million rupees and took sixteen years to build. It is an enormous classically designed white marble structure, and quite blinding in the heat of the day.

As we left the Kolkata Pipe Band was standing to one side of the entrance and warming up for a performance. Bagpipes in Bengal, now there is another story.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

picking up the pieces

I'm back in Kolkata and back at Khoj, just for a week. Abhida said I could have my old room back and I have to say it is a little like coming home. Tamal, Tapan, Kaushik, Abhi and Smriti were here waiting for me with a cold beer, a delicious meal and a warm welcome.

I walked up to Rashbehari yesterday and bought a few supplies, some fruit, bread, milk. So easy.

Stains on my Chintz closes on Wednesday, after having had a lot of people through the show over the last seven weeks. I have to sort out some freight issues and coming here myself was the easier option than trying to do things by email and phone. It will also be some time before I can jump on a plane and be here in under four hours. Sydney seems like a long way away.

It is so nice to be back at Khoj, though I miss Teresa not being here. This is something she made while working for the Chintz show. Two beautiful woven pieces made up from the offcuts of her large wall installation 'Language Curling in on Itself'. Teresa's weavings are a lovely reminder of the days we worked here in the studio.

The Harrington Street Arts Centre has posted images from the show, and I have attached a link here. It's a little clunky but worth looking through the work and Paula's essay.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

it grew

Blog-lag apologies! I will post more images and entries post-Kolkata.

Last week was so busy with installing, the opening and then recovering. I think everyone has gone into hibernation for a few days.

I will also post Paula's wall text that gives a very good explanation of her curatorial premise.

I'm off to Flury's for a coffee then an afternoon nap.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I've just finished installing 'the vanishing'.

It's part of the show 'Stains on my Chintz', curated by Paula Sengupta and opens tomorrow night at the Harrington Street Arts Centre.

I'm sitting at the computer, and there is a lot of discussion going on down there, Archana's laugh, Tamal's calling out and giving instruction. Dharminder is up the ladder and ten people telling him 'up, down, right, left'.

Happy with the work, in spite of the 5,000 glass bullets still floating out there somewhere on the Indian Ocean.

Sylvia rang about one hour ago. She and Graham arrived tonight. That's her, circa 1940. Hand coloured sepia. I must ask her if she remembers the studio.

I'm about to go out and meet Andrea at the airport, then go home to the Bella Vista and flake.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

working hard

I've been trying to write but hands are busy right now. Day two of installing for 'Stains on my Chintz' ... great title!

All works behaving badly, in particular the tiger.
The velvet sea is almost done and I'm not leaving the gallery till it's finished.

Oh yes, look at that verandah. My room is just opposite where I'm sitting and sewing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

masala chai

I didn't realise I'd missed my chai on the run stops till I had my first cup on Tuesday morning.
The hot sweet tea, the rough terracotta cup, standing and sipping. A quick pick-me-up.

It's great to be back here in Kolkata, though my time is not so leisurely as before. It's full steam ahead. We begin installing for the exhibition on Tuesday, with four days to complete, and it opens on Saturday 6th Feb, which is also Dominic's birthday.

I'm going into Harrington Street Art Centre this afternoon, to measure up the fireplace and make a template for the velvet spill. Still sewing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

red sea

Bags packed, somewhat overweight.


25 kg of glass
6 metres red velvet, gathered and stitched
1 pair scissors
thread - pink and red

Clothes, shoes, yoga mat, notebooks
Heaven's Edge by Romesh Gunesekera,
laptop (almost).

Arriving Kolkata 7.30 pm tonight.

Twelve days till the opening of 'Stains on my Chintz'.

Friday, January 22, 2010

ghost in the machine

no diversion, no distraction
says the sewing machine oracle

no zig zag, no reverse
straight stitch only
going forward

Monday, January 18, 2010


5,000 or 1,000 invisible objects ... sea or air ... somewhere afloat on the Indian Ocean.