Sunday, 5 September 2010

Day 189-190-A Sacred Place

Namaste, my dear friends and welcome to the beginnings of a sacred place, a quiet corner devoted to meditation and spiritual contemplation. 

Sign for OM
It is typical for a Hindu home to set aside a space strictly for devotions, no matter their status. If a home is too small for a separate shrine room,  an altar in a corner of the kitchen or on a closet shelf is built. 

Present from Rosanna, Ganesha bracelet
In my tribal house, the quiet corner is in the living room. Here, a grotto houses Ganesha, the God of wisdom and the remover of obstacles, son of Shiva and Parvati. As the remover of obstacles. Ganesha is invoked when beginning worship or starting any new venture. It is said that almost every Hindu home has at least one statue of Ganesha, especially the homes of merchants, like our Rollas.

It was no walk in the park trying to figure out how to build such an important part of a home that has a severe space constraint.  It only became apparent to me when  I found this picture in Taschen's "Indian Interiors".

Picture from "Indian Interiors" published by Taschen
This is a picture of an old painted cupboard from Gujarat, placed under a niche housing earthern water pitchers and used as a household shrine. I knew then that here is my solution and so began  too, many nights of staring at this picture wondering how to start. 

I knew I did not want to build my cupboard from scratch mostly because I haven't the faintest idea how. Despite good suggestions from Rosanna, Cindy and Asuka, I knew I should really just bash something I already have. So out came this unfinished cupboard which was sitting collecting dust and spider web in the Alison Jr.  I think it was a S$2.00 hutch from Daiso. The scale is not 1:12 for a kitchen cupboard but it is perfectly sized for my shrine. I forgot to put the drawer back when I took the picture on  the left but it has one. 

I don't know why I wanted to modify the legs when I didn't have the tools but I guess I was so irked by the fact that it would not be realistic otherwise that I just threw caution to the wind. Anyway, this is how I cut the legs without a jigsaw. Chisel, saw and then break with brute force. I didn't even have the right chisel because I broke it after I finished cutting the holes for the alcoves.  In the left picture, you can see the one below was already done. That alone took me almost an hour.

As the cupboard will be displayed open, I am more concerned with the inside so I worked on that first. I fashioned the facade of the shrine from small laminate samples (top part and shelves) with spindles  and metal beads for the "columns". For those of you who have access to laminate samples especially if they come in small sizes, I strongly recommend working with them for realism and ease. I cut the pieces easily with scissors. I stopped for the day after I finished the parts. Everything else was done today.

This morning, I began with changing the knobs of the door and drawers. Here are the close up shots:

These are the same copper beads as the ones for the columns. Two of the knobs have additional metal pullers which are really sequins.

As you can see, I even painted the glass panes to look like old wood as glass was too expensive then to be used in a tribal home.  I added some pictures of Hindu gods on the 2 panels like how I imagine my gypsy would do to beautify her shrine. 

Here is the drawer with the paraphernalia necessary for some worship rituals. There are candles, incense sticks and dipa dishes for small oil lamps.

I laid some old floral papers on the shelves as liners and then placed an old stupa  that I bought in Chinatown a while back as the centerpiece on the top shelf. The Ganesha was from a broken temple bracelet. On the second shelf are 2 halves of a coconut placed as offerings  to the deities. A golden bowl made by Carolina sits in the last one.

And with the final placement of my goddesses of lights and a Carolina bowl of scented flowers,  I humbly present my household shrine. 

For some soul searching, gratitude and worship...

And some peace and quiet too...


rosanna said...

I knew you were doing it !!!!! Susan, it's WONDERFUL !!!! you would send it to Taschen to have credits! You have done it again my dear, yu bring life to everything you touch. You are brave, do not retreat in front of a challenge and you WIN. I love it. I truly love it! May the Gods be benign to the tribal house and yours. loveloads Rosanna

Susanne said...

What great work! All those details, I adore it!
Love, Susanne

Snowfern said...

!!! again. wowed by your creativity and what's the word....powers of improvisation? WAHHHH it's damn nice! i can almost smell the incense :O so darn detailed somemore.....

Dark Squirrel Victoria said...

Beautiful and amazing!!! You are a master at cupboard bashing. This is my new favorite. And yes you Won!

Victoria XXX

The Old Maid said...

Beautiful corner and great work with the cupboard Sans!

rosanna said...

PS I love the music too; I'm listening to it now while stitching a new commission. Darn good!

GB said...

Its perfect! if only I had a small mandir-cupboard like that! Gorgeous! Remind me to snap a pic or two of our "mandir" and send it to you! :)

Lorraine Escapita said...

Absolutely stunning! That last photo just brings it all together. Love it! Spectacular job!

Fiver said...

Sans it's an absolutely perfect little Hindu shrine! What a fantastic job you did.

by Sonya Rotella said...

You have made Great job!
I love it!

Ascension said...

Te mereces descansar, has hehco un magnifico trabajo.
Es un placer leer tus comentarios y ver el amor y la pasion que le pones a todos tus trabajos.
Me encanta el realismo que consigues en todo lo que haces y lo bien que trabajas cualquier miniatura.
Enhorabuena, has conseguido un perfecto sitio para orar y lleno de paz.
besitos ascension

Eva said...

It is amazing how you have tunned the cupboard...I love the way how you show all the process like a tutorial :)
Thanks for make me dream with your post in wonderful travel to countries far away from my home.
Un beso

Pubdoll said...

I think this must be one of my favourites of your creations! The transformation of the not so very special cupboard into a wonderful shrine would be almost unbelievable if you hadn't told us all the steps in the progress! (And almost unbelievable afterwards too) I love the ornaments inside the cupboard with the cut out laminate samples and bead columns! And you have become a paint effect magician! The panels with Hindu gods look so authentic! And the last photo says it all, pure beauty and peacefulness!

(So fun we're both doing Ganesha posts today!!My post is of course nothing in comparison to this, but talk about coincidence!)

Sans! said...

I am beginning to look forward to waking up the morning after a new post. :):) Who wouldn't right , with such encouraging words from friends?

Thank you (100x) Rosanna :). Your suggestion that I use the dremel for the arched top kept ringing in my ears. I am obviously not that brave because I think the dremel would have really helped with cutting the legs as well. This whole dremel thing reminds me of the time just before I started meddling with wiring. Took me so long but I know once I started, there will be no turning back :).

FaiZ is chasing me to go to work now. Will write more later :).

Good morning my dear :).

Daydreamer said...

Namaste! Sans! You have done it again! Such beautiful, inspired, devoted work! It is beautiful! And no-one would ever guess you started with that cupboard! It perfectly complements the niche with the statue of Ganesh! You are an inspired basher! :)
Obviously Ganesh was helping you with the obstacles....:)
I love it!

Sans! said...

Thank you, Susanne. :). I see you have painted and aged some doors and knobs too :). Painting is always the part I love most when building anything:):).

Sans! said...

Cindy, thanks man! @-@ <----still groggy and not helping that I am wearing my blue contacts and not my usual specs . Jokingly told everyone that this is my Afghan Girl look :).

Hey, we must go shopping soon for a new chisel and OMG, those Daiso penknives are the best ! I swear they are better than exacto. I need blades :). Rosanna, if you are reading this, you made a good buy with those knives.

My partner has chicken pox ! Which means I may have to come to work next Friday if he hasn't recovered! I heard it hurts like hell when you have it a tender age of 47! Will let you know soon if next Friday is good?? But you guys haven't replied :).

I just said in my reply to Susanne that my fav part of building is painting. Actually it is not, it is improvising. I LOVE working with existing items and dreaming up ways of overcoming all the shortcomings. It is these shortcomings that makes each piece unique. Like the laminate arch roof, I actually broke the center when I cut it with scissors (forgot to mention that that's the tricky part) but these faults actually age the piece naturally. You can see if you enlarge the 1st pic . It is quite obvious :).

Sans! said...

Did you just call me the Queen, ye High Priestess herself :)? No way! I would not dare accept the title because if anyone should be Queen of cupboard bashing, it should be you :).

It is amazing what a good run in the morning can do. I often come up with the solutions when I am panting and sweating :).

Sans! said...

Ewa, thank you for your kind words :). It just takes loads of practice and as is clear from my posts, anyone can do it. Bashing is fun :).

You mentioned in your reply that maybe we should try aging our mini things using solar power :) ie leaving them out in the sun. Let me tell you, I have been trying to do that with a plastic plant and it has been lying in the dirt out in the sun and rain for 2 months!!!. These plastics are so hardy! They cannot be aged!! No wonder they call it plastic surgery! :)

Sans! said...

Finally Rosanna :):) my choice in music pass your test :). I know you only listen to classical :). AR Rahman is my God of music :). All his songs except the 1st and last 2. I just love, love love his work.

The 1st number is from Kama Sutra-A tale of love. It's called Maya's theme :). The last 2 are slow rock songs which I will take out for this post. They are from WASP and Andrew's fav.

I put the music together so I can sleep to them. :)

Papillon Bleu said...

SANS!!!!!you are a real genious! The work you've done just takes my breath away. The colours on the doors are fantastic and the painting so delicate.

Sans! said...

OMG. Gagan.I just realise that the doll in your room is on your profile pic!!! ",)!

You know , GB, now that I know you visit often, I put even more care to make sure my depiction is as accurate as possible because I KNOW you will KNOW the difference "). The items in the shrine are not finalised. I will probably make some more offerings. an incense burner and remove the stupa unless they can really be found in a home mandir or altar.

I will be so grateful if you can tell me sometime if I am not quite accurate in my interpretations with some artistic licence leeway of course :):). Especially if it is taboo. :):) I know it will not be possible to be 100% accurate because that's not where I want to go too but it is always good to know if I am going in th ewrong direction :).

Thank you Gagan for always being here ")

Sans! said...

Lorraine, thank you :) So good to see you here :)

That last picture was taken quite by accident. :) I like it very much too. That corner is very difficult to take because it is so dark :)

Sans! said...

Thank you so much Sonya. I just saw your little house and just love how you age your wood beams :)

Sans! said...

Dear Ascensión, no estoy cansado porque de este santuario, sino porque de un partido la noche del viernes :):). Todavía estoy con sueño de hoy, jaja, 3 días después de la fiesta. Por lo tanto gracioso, porque si yo trabajo de noche en minis. No voy a ser tan cansado! Yo no me gustan tanto las partes más:).

Estoy como siempre, muy agradecido por cada palabra que le animan decir a mí!

Sans! said...

OMG!!!! EVA!! I am so excited .My nieces and I spotted 4 Oriental hornbills in my garden just a moment and you are the perfect person to share this with ;). Mr & Mrs Hornbill have at least 2 babies !!! I am thrilled to bits. I remember how Qesha said it was a Tuscan when she first spotted it :). Thanks to you, I told her the difference :).

I see you are home already, Eva and for 5 days ! :):). Thank you, dear I am always happy to see you, Eva and to read your comments.

On the tutorial like post, you know me, I just click my camera when I fancy and write with the flow. I don't always plan how to do a post and I also didn't know this one's is going to be more about the process :). I actually just wanted to talk about how we can use what may seem like a normal out of scale cupboard for something else. More importantly, how someone who does not always have the right skills or tools can sometimes still fumble her way through and try and build a shrine :). It all sound so fancy but really, as you can see, it is no rocket science. If I can do it, anyone can.

Gemma (Gempo) said...

Namaste Susan. Incredible tunning Susan. You have a price in my blog today and the last week another. Best wishes

Sans! said...

O wow Helene. high praise indeed :):) from no other than my very own royal painter.

As I read through this post, I realise a little to my surprise that the style of presentation was quite similar to the one I did on the temple of heaven last year :). That one was also like a 2 day project :). I think it must be because both are religious "structure" . I don't know, the spiritual link is quite strong :). I remembered that time when I was building the temple, I actually asked Buddha for help because I was so tired from not being able to fix the roof:).

This one's went pretty smoothly or maybe it's coming with more experience. I now am able to work with the flaws instead of cursing at them.

Helene, I am generally quite happy with the inside . I must boast and tell you that the inside of the doors which is actually perspex even feel like wood :) albeit thin wood :).

The outside however could still be improved. I think the surface is a little too rough especially the doors and the drawer. The cupboard looked as if it was left out in the rain as well. The painting is also a little too grainy for my liking. I was a little too enthusiastic with my chisel LOL!

I am still working on my "light" (white) aging as opposed to "dark" (black/brown) aging.

BUT I am happy that you like it :)

I am going to take pictures of my mudmen and show you :)

Sans! said...

You are absolutely right about Ganesha removing the obstacles, :). Seriously, I felt like nothing could floored me during this process. I didn't even hurt myself which is unusual since I was using the chisel :).

When I started out, I just thought o well, if I fail, I will just junk the S$2 cupboard and start again :) but I didn't have to ..heh heh :).

I think Ganesha was making sure I made him a presentable home. Not sure if you have heard of this phenomena of Ganeshas all over the world drinking milk? It's dubbed the Hindu milk miracle. You can google it. I remembered being glued to my tv news channel and being totally amazed. Now that truly floored me :).

I like being called The Basher :).Henceforth, I shall be known as The Basher,Sans!

Sans! said...

My dear, sweet Patricia :), it is so wonderful to see you here :) and to receive such compliments. You must know I love them much(tee hee)

As you can see, I probably have some divine help :) since Ganehsa is also known for his wit and wisdom and regarded as a genius. Do you know he is also known as the Lord of Success :)?

Sans! said...

Namaste Gemma :) Thank you so much for thinking of me, not once but twice. I love them and will post them up tomorrow on my own computer. I am using Andrew's tonight :).

Have a good week , Gemma :)

Clara said...

Namaste. Has hecho un pequeño altar con mucho respeto y sensibilidad, ese es el aspecto final. Porque tus pasos con el cincel no apropiado y el arrebato de se hace hoy con o sin herramientas :) es muy del artista que no puede esperar. Me encanta.
Besos Clara

Sans! said...

Betsy! The comment about Ganesha and Basher was for you. I had accidentally deleted your name from my reply:).

Reading back my comments, I realised that I had made so many grammar and typo errors. I wish there is an edit button for comments AFTER it is published :)

Sans! said...

Namaste, Clara! I think you have hit the nail on the head, as the English saying goes. You know, since I have started doing miniatures, I kept thinking that I have changed and become a very patient person. You see, I was an extremely impatient person. Can you believe that I did not even think that it was because of my impatience that I had decided to work without the right tools? :):) I have been told by friends around me that I was still impatient but I only half believed them. Now I know it is true :):). Hahaha , THANK YOU Clara :). You have made my day :). I know this is a funny way to make someone's day but if it is just impatience that makes my work a little sloppy, then all I have to do is to exercise patience. Not as difficult as not having the talent, right? hehe. I really hope this is translated properly :).

Namaste, Clara! Creo que has dado en el clavo en la cabeza, como dice el dicho va Inglés. Ya sabes, desde que han comenzado a hacer miniaturas, no dejaba de pensar que he cambiado y se convierten en una persona muy paciente. Usted ve, yo era una persona muy impaciente.¿Puedes creer que no creía que fuera a causa de mi impaciencia que me decidí a trabajar sin las herramientas adecuadas? :):) Me han dicho por sus amigos alrededor de mí que todavía estoy impaciente, pero yo realmente no les creo. Ahora sé que es verdad :):). Jajaja, Clara GRACIAS:). Usted ha hecho mi día:). Sé que esto es una extraña manera de hacer el día a alguien, pero si es sólo la impaciencia que hace que mi trabajo un poco inexacta, entonces todo lo que tengo que hacer es ejercitar la paciencia? No es tan difícil como no tener el talento, ¿no? jeje. Realmente espero que esto se traduce correctamente:).

100 besos y abrazo :)

Kim said...

Every time I visit your blog I feel amazed. I love this sacred place/shrine- the detail of the columns inside the door- wow! I also love how you have decorated the doors- so beautiful! If you decide to work a bit more with your dremel you should try these out:

I bought them because they were recommended by a blogging friend and I love them. I do work on a slow speed with them and let the dremel do the work, but only because I am afraid to break them by being too impatient. Of course- the way you work does create a certain charm to the piece that you probably would not get with these bits- but thought I would give you this link too if you ever felt like playing with something new :)

Sans! said...

Kim, thank you for visiting :) and I really do appreciate you taking the time to show me the links.

The fact is I do want those bits and I think I need them too. My basic set has some bits but they are totally not suitable. Next weekend, I will meet with Cindy and Asuka, miniaturists in Singapore and we will probably see how we can work the drills on top of cooking Korean food :).

I have started using bead bits (that's how I change the knobs of the doors) . It's a start, next step, dremel :).

To preface Neil Armstrong, " One small step for man, one giant leap for Sans!" haha

miniaturist59 said...

Oh Lord, help me!!! Susan, are you by any chance ocd!?? I have never seen anyone pay such attention to detail as you do. I'm dead serious. Your work is freaking insane- and you KNOW I say that as the HIGHEST compliment. It really is NUTS!!

I have been somewhat missing in action lately, but every single time I come here, it's like someone knocked the wind right out of me. I really, really have to see this in person.

Sans! said...

OCD, Kiva? I wish! Then maybe I can produce better work :). But thank you , you way freaking way too generous with your compliments :):) They make me blush & I LOVE IT:)..haha.

YOU ARE COMING and seeing everything in person. Maybe the hornbills too if you are outside alot and I think you will be :).

If I have a new love, I will be missing in action too ;p!

Jean Day said...

You household shrine is fabulous! I love to look at everything you make!! Your creativity just shines. You must make yourself very tiny and small for a while, as you are making everything, to get all the ideas and to be able to get into the very tiny places. I'm so pleased you are able to come back to real size to blog!! This scene makes me feel very reverent and as though I shouldn't type to loud. How wonderful to be able to feel that peace every time you look at it. I admire the life style of this tiny folk so much, all of their hard work and dedication to their crafts. ♥Jean

Sans! said...

O Jean, your words have made my day and touched my heart :):). I was just saying that I do become one of the villagers or the Rollas (my dolls who are the owners of the house) when I am creating for the tribal house. Sometimes, I am OM, the father of Ro, sometimes, Ro :), other times, one of the other ladies of the house. :). Usually a woman (I wonder why..duhh!) It sounds schizophrenic and in some small way it is. Little conversations going on in my head about what I should do if I am so and so. LOL!

But I snap back once I am blogging about it and I guess you can say, blogging keeps me sane ..hehe :).

Just sharing with you something I read on "Village Unity" :

Villagers manifest a deep loyalty to their village, identifying themselves to strangers as residents of a particular village, harking back to family residence in the village that typically extends into the distant past. A family rooted in a particular village does not easily move to another, and even people who have lived in a city for a generation or two refer to their ancestral village as "our village."

Villagers share use of common village facilities--the village pond (known in India as a tank), grazing grounds, temples and shrines, cremation grounds, schools, sitting spaces under large shade trees, wells, and wastelands. Perhaps equally important, fellow villagers share knowledge of their common origin in a locale and of each other's secrets, often going back generations. Interdependence in rural life provides a sense of unity among residents of a village.

A great many observances emphasize village unity. Typically, each village recognizes a deity deemed the village protector or protectress, and villagers unite in regular worship of this deity, considered essential to village prosperity. They may cooperate in constructing temples and shrines important to the village as a whole. Hindu festivals such as Holi, Dipavali (Diwali), and Durga Puja bring villagers together (see Public Worship, ch.3). In the north, even Muslims may join in the friendly splashing of colored water on fellow villagers in Spring Holi revelries, which involve villagewide singing, dancing, and joking. People of all castes within a village address each other by kinship terms, reflecting the fictive kinship relationships recognized within each settlement."

That is something wonderful to depict :).

Liberty Biberty said...

LOVE the cupboard shrine! I think you have become the master of the cupboard transformation!
And all those perfect tiny things you put inside it, it looks awesome!

Sans! said...

Mercedes hehe, 1st step, cupboard, next step, barn! In between , there will be another 5000 hours :). Thank you, dearie, and kiss Liberty for me :) muah muah muah

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