Sunday, 12 September 2010

Day 191-192-A Quilter's Cupboard

If you are a master quilter, where will you store your delicate quilts with their embroidered mirror work and painstaking stitches?

This cupboard perhaps? A gift from Mercedes more than a year ago, it came with the Buddha for whom The Temple of Heaven was built. The cupboard is of the perfect length i.e. 4" and has a good height- 2" excluding the legs. It is so ideal that it does not really matter that none of the doors and drawers open, right?

Because all it takes is for one to say "Open Sesame" with a good chisel and lo and behold, one door opens as if by magic and it even creaks like something ancient. 

With the right colourss, one can even make it look like it sounds.  There are the exotic colours like Portrait Pink , Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna and the ever reliable ones like Black and White. Don't forget to sand off the previous varnish and spray paint the base Brown first, of course.

It is not long before the transformation takes place. This time, thanks to the sanding, at least the cupboard does not look like it has been out in the rain for decades . Poetic though that about 2 seconds after the cupboard was out in the open for this picture, it started to drizzle. 

You can see that this cupboard is made mitchy matchy with the shrine because of the knobs and pullers.

Now, because my Banjaran women are also good with Indigo dying and mud resist block printing, there must be space in the cupboard for these creations as well. 

For those of you who are not sure how you can fit bales of indigo dyed and printed  materials in a tiny space, the trick is hair spray. Fold each bale and fasten with a pin and then spray and spray, front, back, everywhere UNTIL

they behave like rows of neat, not-a-hair-out-of-place children. Pile them on top of one another (I separated them in this picture because I was so fascinated with the single striped piece that look exactly like my real life dhurrie from India) and then tweezer their way into the cupboard.

This is a view that you cannot see in real life so I am making this picture extra large. 

Here is the very stingy real life view which sometimes make me wonder why I go to such lengths especially as half a can of hair spray was used up to make this possible. What about the quilts, you asked? 

Well, if they are truly magnificent masterpieces, then  I guess we should just pile them on top of the cupboard and proudly display them. See the basket of white cloth next to the cupboard? That's more material waiting to be indigo dyed.

Thank you, Flora for the basket of material and Ira for the curtain.


I found this post in Once Upon a Tea Time on these wonderful workshops  on embroidery and indigo dying.  

having tea on a palace lawn in the pink city of Jaipur 
with masters and artisans imparting to you, secrets of the stitches of the deserts
making a trip to the local bazaars to source for materials and
gather inspiration from a fabulous 4 story haberdashery emporium 
that sells cottons and silk, mirrors, sequins, beads and ribbons, 
delving into old archives rich with traditional embroideries
gaining hands-on experience of the extensive range of decorative stitchery typical of the region
with the help of local embroidery ladies demonstrating their skills.

understand the complexities of the mud resist process 
experiment with the magic of woodblock printing

learn the ancient art of indigo dying

I want. I really do.


rosanna said...

yes yes yes YES !!!!!! I want it too ! but it is really too far from home.... tears in my eyes :o(( but you must go. The cupboard has turned out very pretty and not only useful. What are you bashing next? shall eagerly wait next post. Hugs Rosanna

Susanne said...

Gosh I love that house, you are building, all those soft colours. You have such a sense of colors and texture, and the way you match them takes it to a higher level. Can´t wait to se your next post..
Love, Susanne

Oese said...

I like what you have done with the cupboard. I've got such furniture too and will try to make something with it. Thanks for showing!

Piikko said...

Sans, your cupboard is wonderful and the room where it stands is so beautiful!
Greetings, piikko

Puppenstubennostalgie said...

Das kleine Schränkchen passt nach der Ausbesserung und der neuen Farbgebung wirklich sehr gut... und der kleine Vorhang ist eine nette Idee. Sieht toll aus.

Liebe Grüße PuNo/Monika

Sans! said...

Oh Rosanna :( , there really is only one reason I am not booking the October workshop, I have no companion :(:(:(. And as much as I love India, I don't really want to go there on my own. It is not easy to get someone over here to go with me as not many will want to go there to learn embroidery :). Mum is the only one who may like this but she really does not like travelling. I have asked her and it was a pretty quick "I don't think so".

So it is a case of people who may want to go to India with me not wanting to do the workshops and the people who may like the craft, not wanting to go that far :/

Maybe I should check with a friend of mine who had travelled alone to India. She went to stay in an ashram to learn yoga for a month .

Oh never mind. I shan't brood. :)

I am happier with the painting of the cupboard this time so I am recording the process to remind myself of what I did right :).

Las manos de Sca by Virginia Isabel said...

I love how you changed the furniture. The handles are beautiful. I I have these flowers, an idea who applies.

Sans! said...

Thank you so much Susanne, your compliments mean much to me.

I must admit this house has become quite a labour of love. There may be little things in there that I will change over time but overall, I think this is a house that I will always love. It being my first is one thing and the fact that it is "built" and "furnished" with folk craft and art by my Banjaran people is another. This is a way of life that is harder but honest. You build with your hands what you need and each item is unique. The texture and colours I used are pretty much dictated by these motivations :). You know how sometime you become someone else when you are creating? That's me, a tribal villager, when I am working on this house.

And last but not least, it is filled with the love and creativity of talents like you , people who share my passion and who are some of the most generous that I have ever met , all over the world. This list is getting longer everyday but I will never forget each and every piece of gift for this house.

Sans! said...

Petra :). Thank you :). It's great to see you here! If I were you, I will never throw away anything. I have seen how you change some of the things you have. The one that left the greatest impression was the bottle and goblets which you painted and made them most exotic. :)

Sans! said...

Hey Piiko :):), I am glad you like the Rollas' humble tribal home. :)

I saw your reply that the book belongs to an Arabic prince. If it is life size, I will grab it in heartbeat :). Love what you have done.

Sans! said...

Monika, Ira von Merry Jingles aus dem Vorhang:). Ich bin sehr glücklich mit ihnen:). Ich habe auch lieber die neue Farbe des Schrankes. So froh zu hören, dass Sie zu tun:). Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch!

Sans! said...

Virginia, thank you :):). I look forward to seeing your creations . The last one with the chopping board and knife is pure genius :).

Jean Day said...

I love the transformation you did on the cabinet, just like magic! Your textiles look so real in your close up photos. The fabric all works so perfectly in your scene. That workshop would be fabulous! ♥Jean

Snowfern said...

pack me in your bag, i'll go ;)

but i'm sure bf won't let me. :( and i'll make a terrible travel companion, gotta pack adult diapers cos of my poor tummy :( :( :(

ANYWAY. in all seriousness. it's damn awesome la. ANOTHER THING TO LOOK FORWARD TO ON FRIDAY Waahahhahahah

^ ^

Ascension said...

Has conseguido un armario para la ropa genial!!!
Me encanta el toque que le has dado.
Una gran idea para que la ropa quede bien puesta.
El armario queda genial en el sitio que le has buscado con la ropa blanca al lado y las mantas encima.
Gracias por esas imagenes tan bonitas, debe ser dificilisimo hacer esas obras de arte y teñir como tiñen.
besitos ascension

Daydreamer said...

Sans! You are so Fearless! That is what I admire so much about you! I would look at a cupboard that did not open and leave it alone. But you say this too can open if I bash it JUST right! And lo and behold! It does! As for the fabrics and quilts..... you know I have a love of those things too, so seeing them stacked there so carefully ... just makes me want to open them all up and have a look at their exquisite details! As for following you to the quilters' tea Paradise..... *sigh* If only! I would be there in a heartbeat! Forget the job! Forget the Cat! Forget my children! Forget the bank account!....
Maybe it is enough for now, to know that somewhere there are women gathering to pursue their love of and knowledge of these Arts, sharing tea and company as well! We can dream... and maybe "someday" will come for that too! As usual, I love your work, and your post, and your music, and your sharing this with us! Thank you!

The Old Maid said...

I absolutely love what you did to this cupboard! Beautiful! And love the wya you folded these fabrics - the are so flat! LOL Could never do that!
I would want to go with you - if it was not soooo exepensive trip from here:( Well, I keep my fingers crossed you find a right companion soon:)

dale said...

Sans! Finally, I make my way out to comment on your blog. I have to catch up, yet, but have to say, I love how you aged this cabinet! It looks so rustic and old now, you did a fabulous job. :)

I too love textiles, so I will go with you in spirit when you go off to learn these fantastic arts.

Great job on stacking the fabrics and quilts. They look lovely! Do y'all have spray starch there?

Hubby says it looks great. He wants to know if you've ever seen Chicken Run or Wallace and Grommit movies. He said you would appreciate the modeling in them.

Hugs to my dear one! :)

Eva said...

You surprise me in every a gift...The fabrics, the cupboard and the composition are perfect
And ANd I woul love to go with you, I have visit the web site and...WOW!!
I go to bed now and I will dream with this...sometimes dreams come to reality :)

Flor said...

¡Guauuuu Sans!!! Que transformación tan increíble!!! El mueble quedo hermoso, con cada detalle O =
Un beso

Katie said...

Susan! The little dresser looks amazing! I, too have one, but mine has been whitewashed.....and for the life of me, I couldn't get the doors to open, lol! It's perfect for what your using it for! Love the material in and on the dresser! And still loving the age you added with all the different colors of paint! PERFECT!!

GB said...

Sans, that dreser is amazing. Perhaps you can also start a little hope chest for one of the daughters---most women will spend ages embroidering dupattas and bedcovers for their daughters!... :) Love those little knobs! :)

Sans! said...

Jean, my reply to your comment on the shrine in the last post was so long that I have to break it into 2 ..haha!

Anyway, the link to that article is here:

This is the other part of the article that I like:

"Viewed from a distance, an Indian village may appear deceptively simple. A cluster of mud-plastered walls shaded by a few trees, set among a stretch of green or dun-colored fields, with a few people slowly coming or going, oxcarts creaking, cattle lowing, and birds singing--all present an image of harmonious simplicity. Indian city dwellers often refer nostalgically to "simple village life." City artists portray colorfully garbed village women gracefully carrying water pots on their heads, and writers describe isolated rural settlements unsullied by the complexities of modern urban civilization. Social scientists of the past wrote of Indian villages as virtually self-sufficient communities with few ties to the outside world.

In actuality, Indian village life is far from simple."

It is easy too for me to slip into romanticising the lives of my own villagers. I often gave myself the excuse that I can create what I want and I want a nice beautiful world :). But at the same time, I also want to say, it is a lot of hard work. Honest but hard work :).

Have I told you that I really enjoyed "Amal"? Thank you so much Jean, It is now one of my all time favourite movie. :)

Sans! said...

Cindy, trust me when I say I thought you would be quite the perfect companion for courses like this if they are in Singapore. It will be absolutely fun to be able to discuss the techniques of the mud resistant process or the embroidery with you. You may of course go bonkers with how imprecise their needlework is ..hehe

But I knew you will not want to go to India :(:(:(. The food is so utterly unsuitable for you. about if we pack some organic wheat or flour and learn how to make our own breads? :):). You are already a master at the mini version. :)

Sans! said...

Oh ascensión, estoy seguro que no es fácil que bordar la manera india tradicional o haga el tinte del añil. Tengo tan poca experiencia. That' s porqué quise ir para estas lecciones solamente yo también está preocupado que la gente puede reírse de mi carencia de habilidades. Haha:). Soy tan feliz que usted tiene gusto de mi pequeño armario y de los materiales del paño:)

Sans! said...

Betsy, oh yes, forget all those things and come with me :):):). How I wish you can. I may insist that you bring your illustrations with you though cos I so want to see them in person!

On whether I am Fearless, let me tell you I still have palpitations whenever I cut up my fabric, some of them are ribbons I bought from India :):). So no, I am not fearless. I will have the same trepidations as you if I have to cut that beautiful scarf your mum gave you :).

But some pieces are pretty easy to figure out, like this cupboard. Holding it in my hand, I can tell that the inside is hollow . It thus become pretty obvious that if I chisel the edges of the door, it should open. Still, it was a nice feeling to find out that I was right when I got it open. The inside was so neat, I wonder why the manufacturer did not make it open in the 1st place. I also already quite like the look of the exterior. If aged , I knew it could passed off as a simple home made cabinet . Of course, that door can't open and close like a normal door :):) unless I take a step further and give them hinges..hehe. That will be another 2000 hours 1st of honing my craft. In real life I also have a cabinet with a unhinged door and it open and close the same way as this cupboard! hahahaha! Too lazy to repair it.

As for the "embroidered quilts", I have to confess that apart from the top piece where I added the mirrors, I used Indian ribbons for the rest. Some of them are actually the same ribbon but I folded it differently so that they show a different pattern :). The back and front of a ribbon can also look different. It is fun to work with fabric when you are only displaying them in a certain way :).

Thank you Best :) for coming over and for making my day :)

Sans! said...

Oh Ewa :( . Seriously, I am thinking how nice it will be that I get to meet some of you in India :), doing the things we love, getting to know each other :).

And of course you can fold it flat. Seriously try the hair spray. They don't fold flat until you pin it and then spray. You will see instant results. ABC easy! :)
Actually, not only is hair spray good for flat folds, they are good for making your fabric flow anyway you want and permanently affixed that way. I found out that this is a common practice amongst miniaturists :). Try it :)

Clara said...

¡Me gusta la transformación del armario! Te atreves con todo. El cambio de pomos ha sido otro acierto.
Gracias por el consejo de la laca para el pelo, se ha quedado la ropa muy planchada.
Me encantaría evadirme y acudir a esa escuela, gracias por abrir otra ilusión.
Besos Clara

Snowfern said...

ok i pack the bak kwa and some dwarven breads, we go. XD

i don't think it's hard to figure out, just messy, i can imagine? the mud resist technique sounds to me like batik/wax technique? what would be awesome too would be to see first hand, the lost wax process for pottery. i saw a documentary about how they make those figurines of gods and goddesses, each sculpture is 'lost' in the process, so imagine for each statue, a fresh sculpt has to be made! :O :O :O but i bet you already know all this. it still awes me, that kind of dedication....

Glenda said...

Mmmmmmm, textiles!! One of the special loves of my life (after my family!).
You've created a treasure here, lovely lady - absolutely beautiful. The cupboard is aged so nicely, and the fabrics are just sublime!

And as for an indigo workshop - it would be heaven :)

Sans! said...

Dale darling :):), so good to see you out and about :):). You know, I have been reading blogs since a hour ago and just managed to catch up with all the new posts today :).

Spray starch ? You mean the stuff you use when ironing? Then yes, we do. But you know, the only reason I buy hair spray is for minis and for costume parties. So I might as well use it here. So do you know if the folds will last forever and ever with hair spray? Or do they come apart after a while?

Personally I don't know anyone who uses hair spray for their hair anymore except my mum.

I have seen Chicken Run. I am a big fan of animation art. Your hubby was spot on when he said I would love the modelling :):).

Can I tell you that I was thinking of you when folding those fabrics? Remember the pictures you showed me of your commission when you were here in my dining room? Have you posted those yet? If not, I really think you should :).

Miss not having you around on blogland, dear although we talk in emails :):). hehe. Thank goodness for that :).

Sans! said...

Eva *sobsobsob because you coming with me will just be too damn cool. Imagine going in search for a tree of life in India.

I was just sitting here wondering what will it be like if I should win the lottery (not that I ever buy any but maybe I will start). I will want to organise a giveaway , an all expense paid holiday for 5 people to go to this India workshops with me. From anywhere in the world. I really wonder if anyone will participate though, having to consider, family, work, diet etc etc.

Ok, tonight I will sleep early and dream . You say dreams can come true right, Eva?

Sans! said...

Flor, siempre es un placer verte por aquí. Siempre, siempre me hacen tan feliz:).

Gracias, mi querido ángel:)

Beso y abrazo

Sans! said...

Katie, I just went to your blog and saw what you did with the same Mercedes cabinet :). Amazing work and I love your paintwork too.

It is not too late for you to try and chisel the door open. Trust me, you won't go wrong because it is so easy. Put the chisel at the edges of the door and just gently hammer. My door came away after I chiselled 3 sides of the door.

If you place the cupboard on the left, you will want to open the door on the right (facing you). I made the mistake of not planning this properly. I had wanted this cabinet to be next to the shrine but I "opened " the wrong door, haha. Never mind. This works quite well too because I can place it next to Flora's basket.

Sans! said...

Gagan, thank you loads for the suggestions. I kind of build a hope chest for the bedroom of this house. It was in a previous post. But I did not do a story of this chest. Again, I bashed a small box given to me by Mercedes :)

I will make more of course and maybe another one for this room. It's a darn good suggestion!Now to find something suitable to bash.

You know those metal suitcases? I really want to make them too.

Flora said...

As I'm late?!
I love your cabinet for the precious fabrics (I love anything that can hold and hide ...): did you become so amazing!
All in good time ...
I agree with Susanne that you have a sense of color and matter very rare.
I am happy that women in the world still fail to come together to give life to things precious, fruit of the wisdom of centuries, and their hands fairy :-)
Mini lovely hugs, Flora

Josje said...

Hi Sans,
I think it is wonderful that you've taken the effort to open up the cabinet and put something pretty inside. It's those little touches that make a house special. Certainly worth the time and effort!

Marie Antionette said...

Hi Sweet One,
Yes!!! I'm back and so glad. I meeded you and my other blogging friends so much.Thank you for stopping by and leaving such warm thoughts.
You as always did a wonderful, wonderfuk job of redoing that piece of furniture.It looks so fab. I know nothing of the fabric works you do ...but I can say its all beautful. I love visiting here because of not only the fine work you do but the color and splinder of it all.
Blessings upon you Dear,
XXOO Marie Antionette

Liberty Biberty said...

WOW!!!!! that cupboard looks awesome! What a transformation!
It must be 'use Mercedes' cupboard week' lol!

Liberty is dancing to your blog music!


Sans! said...

Querida Clara, tan feliz de verte aquí de nuevo:). Creo que voy a escribir en el taller para obtener algunos detalles. Tal vez se acaba de ir y luego rezar para que uno o dos de ustedes han decidido unirse también pulg Eso será genial!

Gracias, mi querido amigo, por animarme siempre en mi trabajo. Realmente aprecio eso.

Sans! said...

Cindy, I have never heard of the lost wax process for pottery. Do you mean to say that a bit of the wax mould is lost everytime a sculpture is sent to the kiln? Ok, I don't really know what I am talking about. I should just google it maybe :) or wait till Friday to talk to you some more about this.

I think you are right about the batik printing. Do you know that there was actually a batik painting class at Cherating , Malaysia when we were there? It was too short a time for me to want to learn anything during that trip. But that's quite different from block printing. I am just thinking the block printing process can easily be replicated for miniatures by using stamps. Got to start looking for paisley Indian designs stamps :). The difficult thing is finding white ink. Any ideas? I was at the new Daiso store at Plaza Sing and they have all sorts of colour stamp ink except white ..LOL!

Sans! said...

Glenda, I am very impartial toward indigo prints. I am a huge fan of batik and ikats. Actually any kind of traditional embroidered or printed textiles will catch my fancy. That's why I love the knitted scarf you gave me. It reminded me so much of quilted patchwork.

I just visited the workshop site again and saw that they have a course called "Sparkling Surfaces". This is where they teach you how to use broken mirrors, sequins and beads to create work of art. I will enjoy that too, I think :)

Tallulah Belle said...

Open Sesame with a good crack me up.

I loev how it turned out though...doesn't look like a chisel went at it at all :-)

I have absolutely no desire to learn how to embroider but for that workshop I could be tempted. I'd love to own some though..I love batik and ikats.

The one photo looks very similar to crewel work...I really want some crewel work curtains for my library but way out of my price range.

Sans! said...

Flora , no , no, not late at all :):). It is always such a pleasure to see you :). Thank you for the compliments :). Ever since my decision to build an Indian Palace, my taste in decor has moved in the direction of drama and colours. Before this, my taste was earthy, white, vintage. Quite safe :).

I do need to watch myself and make sure I don't go overboard. I find a balance when I do colours with age :). The effect of dirtying and aging somehow brings the drama a notch up and yet mute the colours. You know what I mean?

Anyway, if you see my house life, it is quite dark, even with the lights. Not really a bright and sunny house so some colours may lift it a bit :). I will however need a fresh eye to tell me if that works. I have been staring at this house for too long now ..haha!

Sans! said...

Josje , so good to see you here ! :). I am glad I did this. Just wanted to show everyone that sometimes, even if a piece of furniture is made a certain way, a bit of modification can really bring out the potential. Especially for someone like me who won't know how to reinvent a wheel well eg building a cabinet from scratch. Definitely saves time :):)

Sans! said...

Dearest Marie , Thank you for popping by. It really was so good to see you back to blogging again. I was beginning to wonder where you have been. It is good that you posted those pictures and now, we know you have spent your time really well, in good company and a beautiful home. Time really passes and soon, it is time for Xmas and you see you put up all your mini homes again :). Can't wait !

Sans! said...

Haha, Mercedes, I have come to accept that this community of miniaturists just are on the same wavelength wherever we are. This time, it is me and Katie :). Fancy both digging out the same cupboard you gave us more than a year ago and deciding to work on it at the same time! :).

Thank you, my dear !

Sans! said...

Jayne, I have no doubt at all that you will be buying arm loads of fabric if you are in India. All for the price of the 1 piece that you will get back in the US. Hehe. I am surprise you are interested in the course. I know you don't really like sewing :).

I am in the market for a wonderful book entitled Mud, Mirror and Thread: Folk Traditions of Rural India. It is already out of print, I think. So expensive in the secondary market (US/Canada even online India!) If I visit India, I will want to roam the bookstores again :). They have such fabulous ones in Delhi :).

Tallulah Belle said...

Too right...if I ever make it to India I'll be going with 6 empty cases lol. Micks boss is over there at the mo and asked what he could bring me back...I told him to surprise me :-)

I would love to do that workshop...I'd just sit and watch the others sew...that would be fascinating enough for me.

I had a quick look for that book at some used stores I use here but nothing other than on Amazon for a high price.

Snowfern said...

not a little. all of it is lost when the sculpt is fired. my memory is a little hazy now, but i think there should be a wiki page on it....

off wiki:


The lost-wax method is well-documented in ancient Indian literary sources. The Silpasastras, a text from the Gupta Period, contains detailed information about casting images in metal. The fifth-century AD Vishnusamhita, an appendix to the Vishnu Purana, refers directly to the modeling of wax for making metal objects in chapter XIV: "if an image is to be made of metal, it must first be made of wax.”[14] Chapter 68 of the ancient Sanskrit text Mānasāra Silpa details casting idols in wax and is entitled "Maduchchhista vidhānam", or "lost wax method".[14][15] The Mānasollāsa (also known as the Abhilasitārtha chintāmani) was allegedly written by King Bhūlokamalla Somesvara of the Chalukya dynasty of Kalyāni in AD 1124-1125, and also provides detail about lost-wax and other casting processes.[14][15]

In a 16th-century treatise, the Uttarabhaga of the Śilparatna written by Srïkumāra, verses 32 to 52 of Chapter 2 ("Linga lakshanam") give detailed instructions on making a hollow casting.[14][15]

i was also looking out for white paint but ya, Daiso doesn't carry it. one of the scrapbook stores in the basement of plaza sing does, but there was no price tag and it was crowded, so i never found out how much it cost. i didnt want to buy it in case i didn't have time to play about and it dried up????? :O :O that's one of the biggest issues with hoarding!!!

Sans! said...

Jayne, try the 2nd hand bookstores. As far as I am concerned, this book is really a classic now , like the Jane Austen's. I think it was 1st published in 1974 but my copy was the 1984 edition. Very old :).

I am now working on my mum to try an convince her to go to India with me :). I told her we will be staying in a palace and the weather will be so cool , we will have lessons under the banyan tree and there will be no ants or mosquitoes etc etc. She looked "interested". The only problem is food. Tried to get her to have some chicken bryani with me on Saturday and her answer is still no. haha

I hope Mick's boss buy you something textile related. Not sure if most men like shopping for fabric though. :)

Sans! said...

Cindy! Wow! Thanks for clarifying, I think I totally understand it now. Of course, all the wax will be lost in the heat! Duhhhh

On Saturday, we were at City Square Mall and there was a Kafter's Paradise where they sell scrapbooking stuff. All sorts of colours except white but you are right. No point hoarding if I am not "batiking" anytime soon. The paper shop in Plaza Sing (basement 1) is really awesome.

Look forward to us going to Art Friend!

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