It started because I wanted to see if I can replicate the real one (pic left), a typical traditional little stool I bought when I was in Pakistan in 1994. That was the mini version of what I really wanted, a charpai , which is the bed (right pic), made using the same method. Of course it was too big to lug home so I got the next best thing. 15 years later, my little stool still look like it was bought only yesterday, largely because we hardly, if ever, sat on it.
I tried to weave the seat like how it is done in real life but the strings was too thick for such a small chair (1 1/4" diameter and 7/8" high). I tried with many material , almost all that I used in my baskets project, but the results were all the same- yuks!
Inspired by the spinning wheels (alright, you got me, I wasn't), I decided to fall back on the tried and tested and made a "wheel" seat.
Although I am not thrilled with the stools, I am over the moon with my spinning wheels. I wished I made them and I wanted to but then luck has it that Daiso sells them for S$2 each. So I grabbed enough of them to start my yarn factory in The Emperor's Emporium.
I knew spinning wheels or charkha will play a part in my palace project because of its significance in India. How many of you know that Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel is so important that it is on India's flag?
Here is the famous picture of Gandhi reading by his wheels, taken for Life magazine.
His room was so bare, I think there were no more than 6 items in that room and that includes his walking stick. This was his permanent ashram since 1916 where he lived for 16 years. After he returned from his apartheid fight in South Africa the previous year, Gandhi bought the land with the help of an Ahmedabad merchant and pitched a tent on it, hoping to create self reliant communes. Soon, trees were planted and cotton fields irrigated. Whitewashed huts were built for his family and co-workers. They prayed, fasted, grew their own food and wove handspun fabric. This was Gandhi's way of boycotting cloth and fibers of the British ruling class which took away many jobs in India.
Here is one of the last notes left behind by Gandhi in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought.
"I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away."