The Art Blog by Wovensouls

Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

A Culture Celebrates Identity! Happy New Year!

I have grown up in Mumbai …. in a neighborhood that was made of up mainly Maharashtrian and Gujarati residents (us). I learnt both language even before I knew what … Continue reading

March 30, 2017 · Leave a comment

Shigmo Utsav Festival 2017 Goa

Connected to our roots through the amazing Shigmo folk festival parade in Panaji. Proud of all the regular people participating so wholeheartedly in this parade Proud of the absence of … Continue reading

March 19, 2017 · Leave a comment

Choosing A Wedding Dress – Swat Valley Textiles

Choosing is wedding dress can be tough – especially when each is a stunning work of textile art. Presenting a few vintage and antique bridal dresses from the Swat Valley region

March 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

Jan 2017 Update – The ASTITVA Project – Rescuing Textile Traditions

UPDATE JAN 2017 The work has begun and the preliminary details are as follows: 1. Structure of the Project Number of Villages: 4 Number of Teachers: 1 per Village Number … Continue reading

March 8, 2017 · 1 Comment

Ballad by the Bauls of Bengal

A glimpse of the music by the Bauls the wandering minstrels of Bengal

February 28, 2017 · Leave a comment

Where the Men are Liberated

In most places around the globe, the world has imprisoned men in clothing of plain colors – colors that ensure that the wearers melt into the background. The most they are allowed is a strip of color in the form of a tie. [But don’t be fooled – it is mostly lip-service – out of the 5 feet of fabric, only about 1 foot is allowed to peep through from under the coat!! ]

February 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

Home Decor Art: Embroidery on Pot Cushions

  “Pot Cushions? What on earth is a Pot Cushion?  And why would anyone put embroidery on it?!” This is the incredulous response of my friend – raised in the … Continue reading

February 19, 2017 · 1 Comment

Let’s Celebrate the Rooster!

A Very Happy New Year from Singapore! Wishing everyone a year of Prosperity & Good Health in the Year of the Rooster! Gong Xi Fa Cai embroidery; costume; antiques; artifact; … Continue reading

January 28, 2017 · Leave a comment

A Seat for the Gods 

Furniture is so hard to photograph!! And this piece was not even meant to be furniture! It was the seat on a bullock cart. Not an ordinary seat for you … Continue reading

January 16, 2017 · Leave a comment

Goals for Tattoo Lovers

They say be careful about tattoos because you have to live with them for the rest of your life. When I turned 40 I realised that I was way into … Continue reading

January 15, 2017 · Leave a comment

The Way We Were

Stunning larger than life print from the collection of negatives of Souza & Paul, Goa’s oldest photo studio, presented by the Serendipity Arts Festival. Soooo beautiful!! Jm Dec 2016   … Continue reading

December 23, 2016 · Leave a comment

Lives lived differently 

Goa. 2016. And people still fish for their dinner. As these men and I are now neighbours, it is time I adopt some of their ways. 1. Eat what you … Continue reading

December 13, 2016 · Leave a comment

I met Begum Hazrat Mahal

Meeting people from that lived more than a century before one is born, is usually not possible. If one restricts the meeting to one within the physical realm it is … Continue reading

December 2, 2016 · Leave a comment

One More to Decipher! A Phulkari Textile

A Temple Hanging from Punjab with its unique motifs makes it an intriguing subject to explore!

November 6, 2016 · 1 Comment

Selk’Nam People

We talk of “vanishing” cultures…. here is one that has vanished. The Selk’nam also known as the Onawo or Ona, used to live in Patagonia. Most photos by anthropologist Martin … Continue reading

October 14, 2016 · Leave a comment

Talk: “Wedding Embroideries of Kutch”

A presentation of the Talk held at the Textile Museum Washington D.C. in June 2016.

September 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

Kashi nu Maran – The Flood of Ganga – 2016

According to a famous saying in Gujarati – my mother tongue –  one can attain Nirvana (bliss) through two simple ways: “Surat nu Jaman ke Kashi nu Maran” i.e. (By … Continue reading

September 3, 2016 · 1 Comment

The Holy River Ganga

A few sunrise photos captured on the phone camera of the important Ganga whose significance to Hindus is as deep as its waters.   This may seem obvious – but … Continue reading

August 30, 2016 · 1 Comment

Ganga Diaries

An unplanned visit to the Ganga came my way. For spiritual reasons. For filial piety reasons. For ceremonies that complete the cycle of life & death. Measured in the number … Continue reading

August 29, 2016 · 5 Comments

Pattua Singing from Bengal

In Bengal, in the olden days, in order to disseminate the holy stories, folk legends adn perhaps even news of major events, Pattua scrolls were used. Women first painted out … Continue reading

August 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

Homage to Subarnalata

Subarnalata lived a long time ago. Mainly in the imagination of the author – but nevertheless, she did live. Her life was probably borrowed from the author Ashapurna Debi’s own … Continue reading

July 31, 2016 · 1 Comment

Parsis and the Opium Trade

Yesterday at a condolence visit, the conversation with my top mentors, inadvertently veered into the subject of collectibles and we spoke of many random subjects such as his encounter with … Continue reading

July 24, 2016 · 2 Comments

External Link: Bali’s Island of the Dead

A note about the unique ritual in Bali.   Extrenal Link

July 7, 2016 · Leave a comment

Warding Off Evil – Enigmatic Dayak Baby Carrier

One more stunning work of art created for the purpose of warding off evil and deflecting the evil eye! A Dayak Baby carrier with sveeral spirit motifs, a variety of … Continue reading

July 3, 2016 · Leave a comment

Art in service of Culture – A Sindoor Box

As I say in my lectures – traditional art in Asia is rarely ever “art for art’s sake” and almost always has a second layer hidden beneath. It is either … Continue reading

July 2, 2016 · 2 Comments

Exotic Art from an Exotic Era

We all read the newspapers even today. But in the past 4-5 years, newspapers have been replaced by the internet as my main source of news. By the time I … Continue reading

July 1, 2016 · 1 Comment

Rich & Poor

The Barber comes home…. Do we in the big city have this luxury? A little village with its own little wheels of economic output, buying and selling services that are … Continue reading

May 13, 2016 · 1 Comment

External Article: Caste System

Worth reading “Why is the world so obsessed with India’s caste system” by Sahana Singh    

May 12, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Beauty begets Beauty

Old Rabari Great-grandmother working on her embroidery. Photo taken in 2012 in Gujarat.   jm May 2016

May 9, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Lontar Baskets

“There is no limit to creativity” – these cliched words come alive with these palm leaf baskets that have been decorated with beads … When the first artist created this … Continue reading

May 8, 2016 · 1 Comment

External Link: A Wedding in Central Asia

I do not understand the words – but the beauty can be seen and understood easily! LINK  

May 5, 2016 · 1 Comment

Little Purses for Big Money

Coin purses from the olden days …. When the coins were small & made of gold & silver and their value was huge! When there was no fiat money or … Continue reading

April 28, 2016 · Leave a comment

And we thought ornaments were only for people? Traditional Animal Adornments – 2

  Link to PART I And the journey continues….   Part II These are adornments filled with love for the animal. For why else would one create such artworks for … Continue reading

March 13, 2016 · 1 Comment

Adornments to Entice

In many cultures in the Eastern hemisphere, lifestyle devices are structured with the intention of security and protection. Clothes and costumes are designed to deflect the viewer’s eyes rather than … Continue reading

February 11, 2016 · 1 Comment

Postcards from the Past – Old Dayak Costumes

And they now all march on towards jeans+t-shirts!   Photo of a postcard from the 70s-80s

February 9, 2016 · Leave a comment

Carnival @ Goa

The Carnival @ Goa, Panaji. Very inclusive street party with floats put up by villages and individuals – the parade had participants from all profile  groups, the young & the … Continue reading

February 7, 2016 · 1 Comment

To Touch My Hero

Hero worship is a BIG thing for me. To dream about meeting them and listening to them and following their footsteps and imbuing a part of their spirit. But mostly, … Continue reading

January 31, 2016 · 2 Comments

The Fabulous Biboki weaving of Timor!

Double Sided supplementary weft (or warp?) weave from the Biboki people of Timor.   An antique example: A betel nut bag:   A vintage example:   And a fantastic paper … Continue reading

January 30, 2016 · 1 Comment

Understanding the Y – Women not allowed in Sabarimala Temple

It is easy to rake up activism simply for the sake of it. After all we have all been raised on inspirational sayings  like “be the change you want to … Continue reading

January 26, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Hunger of an Unfulfilled Dream – Mughal Ganjifa Cards

Years ago, in 2006, I met a friend from high school. We used to be very close in school as only girls can be. And then life happened and we … Continue reading

January 23, 2016 · Leave a comment

Hair Ornaments from Asia

Just some photos! Lambani People Silver Braid Ends – that take at least an hour to fix! And help is needed from other women – mother-in-law or sister in law … Continue reading

January 20, 2016 · 1 Comment

Protective Spirits from the Past

  There are Dayak Baby Carriers and then there are Dayak Baby Carriers. Spirits in some recent ones are wearing clothing and jewelry – like vests and underwear!  Maybe it … Continue reading

January 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

Book Recommendation

Textiles of Afghanistan

January 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

An Affluent Community Endangered?!

Parsis or Zorastrians number only about 75000 worldwide and in spite of being one of the most affluent communities in the world, they are an endangered ethnic group. They have … Continue reading

January 16, 2016 · 2 Comments

Side Effects of Religion

With the world slowly going crazy and the use of religion as a platform to justify it all, it is natural that there are discussions everywhere on this provocative subject. … Continue reading

January 10, 2016 · 2 Comments

A Precious Package for a Precious Bundle – Dayak Baby Carrier

One more precious carrier for a precious baby! Over a dozen types of trade beads, some extremely fine, some multicolored, some from one of the 3 groups of mutisalah beads, … Continue reading

January 8, 2016 · Leave a comment

Lambanis Celebrating Life  – Festive Dance

Ceremonial Dance of the Lambani group

January 7, 2016 · Leave a comment

Rare Textiles from Tiny Tribes

Presenting two textiles from really small protected tribes in Orissa, Eastern India. I have seen these worn by the people there but not on sale anywhere. Both were acquired directly … Continue reading

January 6, 2016 · Leave a comment

So Far yet So Close – The Culture of Bali

Bali is about 4500 km away from India by flight. So far. Yet the seeds of culture planted centuries ago have thrived in that soil and the culture today is … Continue reading

January 1, 2016 · 1 Comment

A Cup of Unusual Brew

A Cup of Unusual Brew – a note on Luwak Coffee

December 30, 2015 · 1 Comment

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