Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bundelkhand Summers, Endless Sun. Etsy Inspiration and Embroidery Fun!!

While the title of my post has pretty much conveyed everything I have to say, summers in Bundelkhand meant a season of indoor confinement (That is when you don't have work to attend and official visits). I joined in Banda in July 2011. By that time the first monsoon showers had already provided the much needed respite from heat in this arid country and everything seemed fresh and verdant. The confluence of River Ken and River Yamuna at Chilla was a sight to behold and the rivers were brimming to the top. It was a new place for me. For the first time, I was living at such a distance from Delhi. The event calenders, both official and social, were abuzz with activity and there was little time to do anything else.

Sunset as seen from the drive way
However, come March 2012 and the first signs of summers were beginning to tell. Tired and exhausted from the elections in the state, one had little energy and appetite to explore places for the sake of it and meet people endlessly. The change of guard in Lucknow seemed change was inevitable for us too and one lived by counting days and watching the golden sun set over the horizon each day. The saving grace of the day would only be the birds which came to roost in the lawns every evening (hope to do a post on them soon!) and the magical star-lit nights which made you forget the oppressive heat and endless paperwork each day brought.

The fact that the much awaited 'change' came only in August is enough to convey the good deal of time one had in hand after work and being the self proclaimed 'crafts addict' that I am, I turned to Etsy for inspiration. However, it is also imperative to clarify at this point that being a good 150-200 kms away from any city of repute meant that the choice of crafts was severely restricted to materials which could be easily procured from the local market but would also yield good results and above all immense satisfaction. Add to this equation, my constant desire to make something however small for my home and one has no choice but to do something of the table/bed linen or wall art variety.  

Add to that also the fact that in a place like Banda, there are little avenues for getting a good frame done. Bearing all these considerations in mind, I did a Google search on wall art-watercolors,photography,collages,embroidery,tapestry and pretty much everything that could be hung on a nail.The most wonderful find turned out to be small embroidered diskettes which could fit any occasion and any need. More intensive Etsy search revealed to me the wonderful world of 'HOOP ART' with its endless possibilities and bewitching colors.

Somehow all the people I have known all my life and all that I had read and heard about till the 'Eureka moment', nobody and nothing ever carried any mention of the word 'hoop art'. And once the discovery had been made, it was contagious (at least in the family!)Thus began my adventures as a hoop ARTIST (I can proudly call myself that!) and my first and rather simple hoop. 

The flowers are done in simple stitch with french bullion knots at the end and stem stitch for the stalks. I must also give the credit to my mother-in-law (Mamma) for all her encouragement and more importantly for her EASY EMBROIDERY book (which turned out to be a repository of beginner level stitches) which dates back to her post wedding Nigeria days. It was only much later, thanks to uninterrupted broadband connectivity, that I discovered endless tutorials on internet for various kinds of stitches

The first hoop was widely appreciated. Combined with a whole lot of encouragement, it was all I could ask for and a huge stimulus for the bigger and more colorful hoop that followed. It was again inspired by something similar I saw on Etsy and is done completely in double stranded chain stitch.

Needless to mention,  in Mamma's words, she could not take her eyes off the hoop and it adorns a huge column in her drawing room wall singularly. My love for concentric circles introduced me to the magical realm of 'WHIMSICAL ART' and am eagerly waiting for an opportunity to try my hand at the same. As for now, am linking this post to Artistic Inspiration for their Challenge 56.

The fact that am writing this post in the July of 2013 speaks volumes about my cherished and well preserved memories  of embroidery as a pursuit. My love for embroidery though dates back to my Agra days. There was something in the air in the city of Taj!! Will hopefully capture a pic or two of my first real embroidery when I visit my parents and would also request my lovely erstwhile neighbor and lifelong dear friend,P, to share her interpretation of the same work too!!

Till then, Happy Embroidery! And yes, in the words of  Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac: With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River)
"A hobby is a defiance of the contemporary. It is an assertion of those permanent values which the momentary eddies of social evolution have contravened or overlooked. If this is true, then we may also say that every hobbyist is inherently a radical, and that his tribe is inherently a minority." 


  1. Wow.. they are beautiful. And I must thank you for initiating me into this beautiful world of color and creativity back in the same magical Taj city :)

  2. These are beautiful, such beautiful colors. Please could you leave a link from your blog to Artistic Inspiration. Thank you for joining us this week at Artistic. Abbie xx

    1. Thanks Abbie and EsVee for your encouragement!

  3. love yor card design and colours, good luck in our challenge over on artistic inspirations xx

  4. oh wow what a fabulous creation, thank you so much for entering it into the Artistic Inspirations challenge and good luck. Tina-Maree DT x

    1. Thanks Theresa and Tina.. Fingers crossed for the challenge..