Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekend Links: Batik-Mehndi-Paisley

Sister Batik on etsy 
I have always loved batik. So, when we were in Wisconsin and had a library system which allowed access to virtually any book, I thought I would learn a bit more about the history of saris.
The Sari: Styles, Patterns, History, Technique
Historically, the designs and colors on saris would denote the region they were from (a little like a tartan), and sometimes would include symbolic designs that might be chosen for special events. Machine printed fabrics are easier to make, of course, so they are popular now and usually the designs are chosen only to be pretty. Hand-dyed or beaded fabrics still take the cake in my opinion.

Back in the day, paisley was Europe's interpretation of the beautiful designs they had seen on Indian saris. So, ever since I read the book I have been thinking about that, and trying to come up with my own interpretation when I doodle. The latest was on an Easter egg. A batik of sorts.

I thought it was pretty good for a crayon....but I was humbled when I saw these amazing Mehndi inspired cookies by a baker named Fiona on Flickr (found via Epheriell Designs). Apparently they were just whipped up for a party, but I think they would make splendid wedding favors or cake replacements.

Really beautiful.

Now I think I need to work on those doodling skills a bit more. But in the meantime, if I were going to go into pottery, fabric making, or perhaps decorate a room, I would choose a few of the hand carved stamps from amandajames1 on etsy, who has a collection of antique Indian designs.

I might yet choose one (someday) and just use it on my handwritten correspondance.

Thinking about the heritage of beautiful designs in India made me wonder what kinds of lovely traditions have been passed down in other countries, and perhaps lost where industry has taken over. 

Do you have any heirlooms in your family that would be a good example of a heritage craft from your mother country (or the country of your ancestors)? 

Have you learned any of those arts from a relative?

I lace making and doilies might qualify...perhaps I should learn.

  Dolce Crochet on etsy


  1. What a pretty post!!!

    How are you, pretty girl?? I miss you and your handsome husband! I wish you still lived in Madison! :-(

    I really love your blog! And your etsy shop! I don't know if anyone every told you how amazing all the stuff you sent was!! I LOVED the grapefruit rind!! Awesome!! Thanks!!

    I just put your button on my sidebar at The Joyful Journey!! :-)

    Love you....

  2. This is a beautiful and well produced post. I loved reading this and also the wonderful images and crafts you have brought together.

    I love the mehndi inspired cookies - I love to paint mehndi which I did for a friend on her wedding - it was so special to share this meaningful touch with her.

    Thank you for including our pillows - I am very grateful : )

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I had a lot of Indian friends growing up in the Bay Area. Later in life I realized how much my artistic style was affected by the bright colors and patterns in Sari's that I grew up with when I'm not actually Indian at all.

    (and on top of that, the acronym of my name is RAJ, which was the way I signed my art, and so everyone in college called me Raj although it's a boys name ;) ) Whenever I was feeling homesick--I'd eat Naan and curry over at the restaurant downtown. So I love this post--especially those cookies.

  4. I've always loved the bright colors and patterns on saris too. Those cookies are amazing!

  5. I love Sari fabric. There is a store here in Philadelphia with the most amazing selection. I wish I had someplace to wear one where I wouldn't look like a total poseur.

    The mehndi cookies are amazing.

  6. On the subject of saris, you should check out

    (I don't know how to make a link in this comment box...)

    It's a really neat organization in Kolkata working with at-risk women.

  7. what beautiful pieces, I adore those pillows, they would be wonderful in my living room that was supposed to be painted a cranberry, but came out more of a magenta (oh red hued paints how you mock me), trimmed in yellow. I love getting henna at the beach too, and have considered getting myself a henna kit but know my hand is no where steady enough. great post!

  8. Omg - from the cookies to the stamps just gorgeous!

  9. I just found your blog once I rechecked the blog thread for Team NH. :) Truly lovely! *subscribed*

  10. I love the egg! And those cookies ARE fabulous - you're right - totally worthy of a wedding.

    My favorite doodling art is Celtic Knotwork - have you ever played with it? I love it because it's so intricate, yet mathematical. I can do it with my poor art skills because it's all about the math.

    Here's a how-to post I wrote about it years ago:


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