Hawa Mein Uddhta Jaaye – Dec 2016

I remember a conversation or was it a few lines in a book?
A serene idyllic view of a mountain side and a naughty boy pulling at a yellow dupatta. A young woman shyly  admonishing him as she watched it float away..

The dupatta/stole/scarfpreserves modesty for some and adds colour for others. It can make or break an outfit. For me it is my shield. It shows you my mood if you only look carefully. It is bold or fluid. It is breezy when chiffon and base when khadi. It is so many things to so many. My maasi’s drape it a certain way and I wrap it around my neck. It is like substituting my lovers arms around me. And if I have memory attached to that yard or two of fabric… sigh!!!

In my never ending quest to further an idea and concept across mediums, here are 21 one-of-a-kind dupattas up for grabs. 

Happy shopping!

Happy shopping!

 

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7 skirts for 7 sisters – Nov 2016

Everything takes time. There are issues and then more issues to deal with. Life as we know it is a constant tsunami of change. Ideas that came to me a few years ago may only just find fruition. So without skirting any more issues at hand – here are a few of the skirts that I have been working on for a long while now 🙂

Each of the seven skirts is hand dyed and one-of-a-kind. Each has been lovingly made with new, up-cycled and recycled material. There are custom appliqués from the signature ArtByAarohi label along with some that have up-cycled fabric. These skirts have elements of hand painting, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, appliqués and patchwork. And they have all been done individually by me. I hope you enjoy them. Click here to buy.

Happy shopping!

Happy shopping!

 

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Fempowerment Women Achievers Award 2016

I won! And the best part – I had no clue that I was even in the running!

Some one from YourStory wrote to tell me that they had nominated my name for an award and that someone from the awards organization would get in touch with me. I thanked the said person and promptly forgot all about it.  Imagine my surprise – I learned that I had won the award in the category of Fine Arts – Painting and sculpture 🙂
Thank you YourStory!!

Sadly due to unforeseen scheduling problems and prior commitments I was unable to make it to Mumbai for the Award show on the 17th of July 2016. Swanky affair it was from what I understand. I looked up the past recipients for 2014-15 and 2013-14 of the awards and this year’s winners in the 16 categories – I am in exalted company and I love it.

It would not have been right to post about it without actually having the physical award in my hands. I just got my hands on the trophy a few days ago. So now I am sharing it with all of you.

    

It’s been a joy to receive the Fempowerment Women Achievers award 2016 for Fine Arts. Recognition of any kind for work one loves is always wonderful. The jury was daunting to say the least and the illustrious lot of achievers before me is both empowering and humbling. Thank you so much for giving me yet another push in following my dreams.

You can read about the award here

And this is an excerpt from their letter to me –

“…proud to inform you that you have been selected as the Fempowerment Winner in the category of Painting and Sculpting Artist, your selection has been done unanimously at our Jury Meet on 7th July’16 at St. Regis, MumbaiFempowerment Women Achievers Awards is an initiative of Molecule Communications where women achievers are honoured in their respective fields, the one and only Women Awards where the nomination process is open and anyone can nominate any woman along with one unique category.  Zee TV has associated with the awards for the cause of social betterment and soon the awards will be telecasted on Zee TV. The nominations have been received from the every corner of the country in all the 16 categories and a strict and unbiased on-site review has been done by the Screening & Main Jury. The event is happening on 17th of July, 2016 at Mumbai.

Mr. Subhash Ghai, noted Director, Mr. Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor in Chief – Business World, Mr. Adil Malia, Global Head For Leadership, Learning & People Management, Essar Group, Ms. Mrunalini Deshmukh, Senior Lawyer, Ms. Bhawana Somaaya, noted Journalist & Author & Mr. Ridham Desai, MD Morgan Stanley were the respectable Main Jury for the Fempowerment Women Achievers Awards 2016.”

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Diwali 2016 – Besan Laddoos!

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The only time in a year that I make sweets for a festival is Diwali.

Don’t get me wrong, I always have sweets, cakes and other (healthy) sinful stuff that I make for my home- I do have two growing kids who are ever hungry!

It started 17 years ago when I got married. I am the product of a mixed marriage and as such there were never any rituals or puja’s in my house growing up. While I don’t miss that I do miss the culture and tradition associated with festivities. Though we celebrate everyone in our own way. So once a year I go on a laddoo making spree. It started with one odd kg. Last year I topped it at 19kg’s!! This year is a little scaled back at about 15kg’s 🙂

I thought I would share the recipe with you all. I make really good melt-in-the-mouth laddoos even if I say so myself 🙂

Ingredients:
– 1 kg Besan or fine Chickpea flour

– 1 kg fine ground sugar

– 1 kg Ghee or clarified butter

Method:

The original recipe calls for roasting the besan and ghee together but I find it easier to dry roast the besan first. Remember to keep stirring till the besan gets a darker hue/tan and the kitchen is filled with a nutty fragrance. Stir and stir some more or bits of besan will burn. That much of tan you don’t need!

Next put it a large vessel to cool. At this stage it helps to sieve the besan so as to break any little lumps. They look unsightly later and these little pockets of besan that did not get to mix with any sugar or ghee… trust me not nice to taste when one gets these bits in a bite full of sumptuous sin.

Once cool then mix the ground sugar. Remember to wait till the besan is cool before adding the sugar as the sugar will leave water and that will be the end of your laddoo making experiment.

Then add warm/hot ghee and knead the mixture till smooth and evenly mixed. The temperature of the ghee will depend on how cool your mixture is at this point. That’s it. You are ready to start shaping the dough balls.

It also helps to roll the balls out 2-3 times as it’s easier to shape into balls as the dough cools. Else they will look like flat pedas.

In the traditional recipe you would have to wait till the ghee and besan mixture cools substantially before adding the sugar. Then knead away and shape into balls.

Oh! and the reason I am standing on a stool in the first picture is that after an hour and a half of constant stirring your arm will pain. The elevated height really helps.

It’s quite simple. And your family and friends will love you for it. My kids keep sneaking a few every time they pass the dining table 🙂

Happy Diwali!!

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The Fusion Projects – With Glasshopper

The first in the series of The Fusion Projects is with stained glass studio – Glasshopper. It’s been 6+ months in the making but the thought actually has been brewing in my mind for almost four years.

Jewellery.

I have always wanted to see my work in the many possible ways it can be used – to take a concept across mediums and hopefully have it successful in all of them. I wanted to take my art and make it accessible to more people. To those who may not have space for a trunk or a kettle or even a large painting…

But the jewellery had to be different and yet be universally appealing. I could have worked with a regular silver/gold smith to make the pendants but then where is the fun in that? Enter Saarus Nirhali – my friend and a wonderful stained glass artist.

I had originally asked her to just encase my artwork into some pendants and I would buy those off her and then get down to my solitary work. Collaboration had been on my mind for sometime so it was serendipitous that she asked to collaborate. And things took of from there. I knew what the end pieces needed to look like. I just needed Saarus to see my vision. And she did.  Her reaction when she saw the first set of completed necklaces was something I can’t describe.  Her words -‘ I knew you would do something but this I had not expected! I did not know my work could look like this...’ 🙂
Saarus works with glass but on a much larger scale.  So to work on one square inch pieces meant she needed to rethink her entire approach to her own work! The challenge for her was to get a fineness in the edges and edge finish. She needed to see the potential. I have to say. Saarus was ready for the challenge. The pieces are truly wonderful even if I say so myself.

At ArtByAarohi I have always tried to push the envelope a little, to blend material and media. To add an element of up-cycling or recycling.  An element of surprise. This collection too has a little bit of that.

Gold and silver have an innate value irrespective of how good or bad a design maybe. These needed to be good designs! Since neither gold nor silver is being used. The design and finesse had to be something that worked for everyone. Or at least everyone with a certain sensibility. It has been months in the studio, doing, re-doing and refining pieces.  There have been instances where a finished necklace has been pulled apart and re-done because the loops on the pendant did not sit right. I am an extremely detail oriented person and would go back to the drawing board  when I wanted a piece to be a certain size or the loops a certain orientation. But I think we are now at a level of finish that I am happy with.  Our work will only get better from here.

The artwork in each piece is based on my original painting. The materials, their use and how the end piece would look has been my work. Saarus on the other hand has worked on encasing the artwork using true Tiffany style stained glass techniques.  Her studio has been busy working away at cutting/grinding and then soldering many tiny pieces of coloured glass to fit my vision. The  loops on each piece of glass has been a very time consuming and exacting process.

I have learnt so much through this collaboration. Not just about stained glass and it’s possibilities/limitations but about working with another individual. Patience was never my strong point but I have learnt it along the way. This collaboration has allowed so many wonderful iterations in the ideation process that I can truly say that alone this series of jewellery may not have packed the punch that it does.

Please do click here to read Saarus’s experience in the making of this collection.

To view this first collection do drop by at my Studio in Bangalore on the 27th and 28th of Aug 2016 at:

The ArtbyAarohi Studio
C-44 Diamond District Apartments,
Kodihalli, Old Airport Road,
Bangalore – 560008 KA

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The Fusion Projects

Collaboration.

Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit. Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose. – (this was the first result for the definition in Google)

There are some ideas that need to be worked on from multiple angles. A multi-pronged approach as it were. They need skill-sets that one may not necessarily have in house or have but they may not yet have reached the level of refinement needed to bring that idea to fruition.

I usually work alone. I have worked with others only in a very limited capacity. Though I have always felt the need to bounce ideas of someone else. Supreet Singh – my husband, friend and in many ways my partner in work has always been that. And my dearest friend Meghna Vakada has been the one to be brutally honest with feedback when I needed to see the light.  She has been at the receiving end of many ideas that needed talking thru to just refine the idea to a point where I could run with it.

But it was time to let others into my circle. To push boundaries. So collaboration with others was a natural step in the progression of my work. Both for the work itself and for my own individual growth as an artist.

I am happy to say that this year I finally decided to take the plunge and collaborate with others in a more serious way.  Collaboration allows for ideas to reach that one step higher that would have been difficult on my own. I have always wanted to mix materials and genres but have often realized that I may not have a level of refinement yet in every area of skill and knowledge that is needed. Working with others allows accessing of ideas/thoughts/skill and knowledge across metaphorical borders. What would a graphic designer and a weaver create. Or an architect and artist/sculptor. A wielder and a silk screen artist. Maybe even a writer or lyricist with thread work… these are areas of art and collaboration that excite me and make me want to explore.

Yes, Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize mutual goals. But it is more similar to, but more closely aligned than, cooperation, and both are an opposite of competition. Collaboration for me works because the parties involved respect each other and their work. Their goal is to put their best forward. It is a desire to get the best outcome of ones craft.

The first in the series of my endeavor will be out soon. Wait for it.

But till then..

The Fusion projects is an initiative for collaborative experiences with others across genres and mediums. If you think there is anything you and I could work on which would benefit from both our combined experiences/skill sets/ vision than write to me at aarohi@artbyaarohi.com

As has long been said ‘no one is an island’.

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The Denim re-done Collection July 2016

The first edition of the Denim collection was a sell out.  If I remember correctly there were about 14 bags at that time. Actually sell out is not technically true – one was left at the end. These too sold out in about 12 hours from the time they went live on the store much like the first edition of the Jhola Bags and the second. The second took a little longer. You can see them here and here and here.

With me and my penchant for wringing the last bit of use from a bit of fabric – old jeans are a no-brainer. There are many who make bags out of old jeans, but I would like to believe mine are a tad bit hat kedifferent. For starters they use prints from the signature Art by Aarohi collection. Which in essence means each piece of art has been hand painted by me at some point. These prints are appliquéd on the the denim and then further worked on and embroidered by me. So there truly is a little bit of me in each bag. Yah! I know sounds cliched but it is true.  This is actually the third or fourth edition. Like I mentioned in a previous post, much gets sold from the studio itself or at exhibitions that it never makes it to the store online.

This time along with Denim Jhola bags we also have Laptop bags to comfortably fit two sizes – 13″and 15″ – with a little room to spare post that! Oh! and a few satchels too…

I leave you with a two images from this next edition of the denim bags. And you – guessed it – They are live on the store at this time – Happy Shopping!

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The Jhola Bags Collection : July 2016

The first edition of the Jhola bags that came out last year in February was a sell out. I mean that literally. They all sold out in about 12 hours. Though in the interests of full disclosure, I must be honest and say there were only 12, but still 🙂 You can read about and see some of that collection.

This edition is different looking in terms of colour and the surface treatment but it still has the signature ArtByAarohi feel. Each bag has a print portion of original art which has been appliquéd and then the bag further worked on and embroidered by me.

There are 18 bags in this collection and each is one-of-a-kind and hand-crafted by me. It uses left over pieces of fabric from other tailoring and bag making projects and yes, just the like the last time – the inner lining between the actual outer and inner fabric is old curtains (washed and cleaned before use).

I do take the feedback you all give me quite seriously. So this time there is no faux leather. The straps/handles are made with woven cotton yarn and the tie ups on the side too are recycled yarn. The bag is a tad bit smaller though that in no way compromises the insane amount of volume that one can pack in!  And the interior pockets are bigger and deeper. It really is a joy to behold.

I leave you with a few images from the new collection and a link to the store.

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Hello!

The kids are growing up and time is going faster then I can keep up. Some days it feels like I am running to stand still. I know I have been quiet here for a few months but I find most people are on Facebook or Instagram or some other social media site.  I do post there every so often but that too has been sporadic at best.

I found myself going through some earlier posts in a an effort to find a specific post a few days ago and realized I miss my blog. I used to try and post a little something at least once a month. And then life caught up with me. I found myself with not much to say. And then guilt came calling. I had been away from the blog for so long that I did not know where to start. So much to share and no words to share it with. I decided to just write from the heart and say Hello! 🙂

I am hoping to get back to writing here. And sharing again. I find that since I work mostly on my own, I produce far from staggering quantities and most of what I do usually sells from the studio itself. So I have been lax in putting things up on the shop as well.

I wonder if my fellow bloggers/artists/creators feel the same way – that while e-commerce is good and wonderful, the effort to update the shop – take pictures/manage inventory/answer queries/ the trips to the post office etc don’t really leave too much time to create!

There are a few things in the works right now and I will of course post about them here when done.

This was just to say Hello…
…hello from the other side…
(may as well leave you with the whole song !)

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Simply Bangalore – February 2016

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I was pleasantly surprised when India Today asked to speak with me on sustainability and how I see that. A bit more so as you get a glimpse of my new home and I made the cover 🙂

I try and incorporate something old into most of my work. I hate wasting something that might still have life. But more important to me is to maintain connections with the past. For everything shapes us into who we are. That has to be honoured.

Thank you Khusboo Patodia for the lovely write up in the Feburary issue  India Today magazine – Simply Bangalore. It was wonderful talking to you.

 

Note- Please click on the image to read the text.

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