Inspiration is everywhere in India. Every turn has your brain ticking and your creative juices flowing. You want to capture the essence of India, in every way possible.
During the trip I took hundreds of photos and kept a journal of our action filled days. Color fills your world and wonderful designs are everywhere. These photos are just a few of my journal pages. It is the textiles of India that are so wonderful. Color, color, and more color with texture you love to caress. I envy the opportunity the women of India have to purchase and use all these fabulous textiles which are a part of their daily culture.
This lady was was working in the yard of Ghandi's Ashram. Isn't the color of her sari wonderful? I loved the trees there that were planted in the yard with signs hung on each one..."Faith", "Hope", "Love".
These are the colorful turbans of the men in Rajasthan.
Laundry day! It's nice if you live on an upper floor so that 6 yards of fabric, that make up a sari, can easily be hung out to dry,
These two ladies were having a wonderful morning shopping for fabric. They sat on the floor and the shop keeper would open sari after sari for their consideration.
This month, March, my first Journal Block will be one of my 4 circle blocks. My inspiration for this block came from the City Palace Museum in Udaipur. It has been inhabited by royalty since 566AD! It is an amazing structure which has been added to over the generations.
Wonderful designs every where you look.
You could spend days wandering the hallways and different sections of this huge palace.
I thought the most beautiful design, in the parts of the palace that we were able to visit, was this ceiling design and I wanted to capture it for my journal block. It was a huge ceiling with wonderful color and design.
To get this circular design to fit in a 10 inch block I decided to paint my interpretation of the ceiling design using Setacolor Fabric Paints by Pebeo on unbleached muslin. You can mix colors and thin the paint with water to get a consistency which is easy for you to work with. To set the color, you just need to iron it with a hot iron.
I then hand quilted along each section of the design and around the corner motifs.
I have been missing in action, again, in one of the most incredible countries in the world. INDIA! How to describe India...it's filled with the most wonderful people, it's so colorful and vibrant, it's a diverse mix of cultures, religions, customs, and traditions, it's steeped in mysticism, it's poor, it's rich, it's markets are filled with the most delicious foods, it feeds and awakens all your senses, and it has you dreaming of coming back for more.
The true riches of India you will find in it's people, from every walk of life, living, contributing, mixing with their neighbors in a seamless, chaotic mass that works, though it may seem like disorder to the casual visitor.
They are the lifeblood of the country. The whole time I was in India, I felt privileged to be a part of such vibrant communities, if even for just a very short time.
We were a group of 10 women, organized by Di Wells on a textile tour of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Eight days to immerse ourselves in textiles of every kind, to visit small villages off the beaten path, to see how different types of textiles are made. We visited the areas of Ahmedabad, Little Rann of Kutch, and Udaipur, exploring the surrounding country side on safari, and in camel drawn carts. For anyone who loves textiles and crafts made by hand, it was truly the trip of a lifetime.
Members of our group were (from left to right):
Patricia, Diane, Lynn, Phil, Sarah, Liz, Di, Ann, and Janine in the front. Eight of the women came from the UK and Janine and I met up with the group in Ahmedabad.
Liz (third from right) was telling us how she had decided this year to participate in a Journal Block of the Month in her area. Each month she was to make a 10" block which could be based on any idea but 4 blocks had to have a circle, 4 blocks had to have script, and 4 blocks had to have buttons.
Janine and I were so inspired by our India trip that we have decided to also do a Journal Block of the Month, based on our trip to India. We will use the parameters of Liz's group but our inspiration would come from the things we loved and experienced in India. Because I was so inspired by the hand crafts of India, I have decided to add one more parameter to my Journal Blocks, to make all of my blocks by hand. Photos taken during the trip and journal entries will help keep our inspiration alive through out the year.
We will work on our 4 circle blocks first. Each month I will share my blocks with you and what inspired their creation.
I spend lots of time in my office and studio and I always have a cup of green tea on the go. But like you, I get busy working and forget it and it goes cold more times than it is still hot when I get around to drinking it. I decided I needed a tea cosy to keep it warm. This past weekend I found some time to make one.
I used off white wool with fine streaks of lime green and I also ran some pale lime green pieces of yarn through the piece. This first photo is before I decided to embellish it.
You can tell I have lived in the Middle East too long. If an item doesn't have a little glitz and shine on it, it just doesn't make the grade. I have embellished it with iron on sequins, some shiny bobbles, and emphasized the stands of yarn with running stitches. A handmade felted ball is on the top.
Now my tea is hot or at least pleasantly warm when I get to it!
My name is Cynthia Tomaszewski and I am the designer and owner of Simple Pleasures, a quilt design company with offices in Michigan and the United Arab Emirates. I am also the author of 5 books, "Garden Party - Applique Quilts That Bloom", "Tea in the Garden - Quilts for a Summer Afternoon","Let's Pretend - Whimiscal Quilts for Kids", "Quilts from Paradise", and just released, "Quilting Those Flirty 30's" which are all published by Martingale and Company.
Travel and adventure have been my goals and luckily I have found a soul mate in my husband Mike. We have travelled extensively through out the world, from Mexico, Europe, Africa, and the Far East to the Pacific Basin. After residing in Abu Dhabi for seven years, Mike, my son Zachary, and I took a two-year hiatus and sailed our thirty-three foot Hans Christian sailboat through the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to Spain. I currently reside once again in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates with Mike and our Yorkie Stanley.