Sunday, 26 February 2012

Day 296-297-Suitcase Garden For Ascension



This garden started because I fell in love with Ascension's series of Little Old Elves vignettes. I know Ascension enjoys my rusty miniatures so I offered  a swap with her. I told her I would build her something rusty in exchange for one of her little old man reading a book. That was in October last year.


It took me 2 months to think of what to make her and I eventually only finished it on Christmas morning. It was a rusty garden with fantasy flowers (Red Blisters, Blue Measles and Yellow Mucus)  for her witch Hagatha. I adore Hagatha like I do Ascension and once I decided it was for her, everything happened quite fast and I finished the garden in 2 days.


All the plants and the planter boxes are plastic, even the magic onions or Voodoo Crybabies. They are so named because a bite of the tiniest bulb makes you cry non-stop. Witches have described the experience as akin to watching the best sad movies.


This plant is the Green Toads' Tongues and no witches' brew worth its salt can do without it.


Sapling Mickey's Ears being cultivated, another essential ingredient in any potent potion. 


A close-up shot of the saplings. By the way, they are very good for raising hypertension, blood pressure and cholesterol too.


Last but not least, the Rotting Virgins. We will have to check with Hagatha what they are for. Deflowering something maybe?


I used a metal table and painted it blue. I also coloured the pail to match the table. Both are rusted with brown, black and sienna acrylics.


All the other planters are painted different shades of blue including the suitcase. The one in this picture is a plastic pill box with 3 compartments. It is sitting on a rock made with paper.


This is a worm house. It's painted metal. The worms are not only good for the soil but they are also good meat substitute in a soup. 


That's it, I guess. 

A simple rusty garden that I hope is wicked enough for a worthy witch like Hagatha.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Day 303- Suitcase Garden For Ewa




For my 3rd anniversary gifts, I made rusty suitcase gardens. Like the preceding years, I set some secret criteria  for who would get the gifts. I made known these criteria only to the friends who fulfill them. For my 3rd anniversary, it was for my friends who left comments on all my anniversary posts and last year, I made 3 of such posts. Ewa was the first to qualify and after asking her for her preference, this is what I did for her. 


Some of you may remember these flowers. They are called statice or sea lavender. I used them as kurinji flowers in my tribal house. Although Ewa told me she was really attracted to these violet flowers, I did not want to use these at first. Just three months after I planted them at the front yard of the tribal house, the colours have started to fade. I then remembered Karin Corbin's  suggestion to Jeanette that one can use acrylic paints on natural moss and dried flowers so that the colours will not fade. I mixed what I thought was a kurinji blue and proceeded to paint each petal . 


I then painted a metal spade, bagged some seeds (yes, Ewa, there are seeds inside the package) and then added some moss (painted with acrylic grass green) to the garden. I was thrilled to find out later that the blue handle of the spade matched P'Nilli's gloves perfectly! P'Nilli who? Oh, she's only the coolest gardener I have ever met and if I may say so, she looks a lot like Sans! Will you believe her hair matches the colour of these flowers?


Ewa, like me, is one of those rare rusty can connoisseur. Not many of us left. 


So of course, I had to make her one. These cans are real easy to make. Just take 5 steps and for some of you, merely 5 minutes. 


Ewa, I am sure you don't know this but that is where I signed my name. Don't worry, just flip the case over to look. Nothing will fall over, not even the sand.


Now, I will have to go think about how to make the rest. I am afraid suitcase gardens are all I will be making and posting about in the next few weeks. Yes, I am thinking the same thing you are. How different can they be from each other?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Day 296- Don't Throw Out That Rusty Pail



'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine, and after one hour more twill be eleven. And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, and then from hour to hour we rot and rot. And thereby hangs a tale.

.........William Shakespeare

That tale is really why I love everything old. A story in every scratch, an event in a distressed corner, poetry in the peeling paint.  Still, as far as I am concerned, there are few better storytellers than Rust, the Shakespeare of Nature. 

In a tragedy, Rust is the territorial murderer, unpredictable and dangerous. In a romance, Rust is your watercolour artist, painting landscapes in hues of heaven. Then there is the time when Rust plays a trick and a bottom falls out and we laugh. The Comedy of Rust 


So if you see a pail with its trusty companion, don't throw it out. Just turn it to where the story suits you,


furnish it with a bouquet if you must and if the stories become unbearable, place it under a table so that they are barely visible. Believe me, there really is beauty when rust envelops and conjures and draws. 

Pre-rust ordinary bottle cap

 See what I mean? 

Friday, 10 February 2012

Day 293-Palace Presents From Poland











































Tonight, through these pictures, I relived the thrill I felt on 10th Dec 2011 when I opened Ewa's presents. Each photograph was  taken immediately after that particular item was revealed as Ewa had taken the pains to wrap them one by one in the littlest packages with the prettiest tissue. 

I feel these presents are so complete in conveying Ewa's message, talents and care that there really is no need for any more words. I am sure you too can hear my gasps, feel my awe and share my happiness just by looking at the pictures.

Alas, silent gratitude is of no use to anyone so "thank you", I must say. Even that, Ewa had thought of a way to make it easy for me to do.  

I am proud this immensely talented and incredibly sweet lady thought my palace worthy of her lovely creations.  

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Day 303- Mughal Miniatures On A Cube


It was right after I moved my tribal house. I was sitting in my living room, watching the Rollas at work. Motion, commotion and all their worldly possessions at a glance in a space only as big as an A2 size paper, I realised then why I love working in miniatures. How else can we watch time unfold simultaneously in a few different worlds without even blinking an eye? There was Ro watching Baby messing his face with a cookie, loving her child, OM thinking with his eyes closed, Maya dreaming, her father reading, at different places in their own worlds, all at once. Looking at the 5 all at once worlds all at once and all the time, seated on my daybed, I thought this was as close to playing God as I could get.

I leaned back, pleased as punch and that was when I felt something hard on my back. Oh! It was my art-on-a-cube toy. Nine different Mughal Miniature paintings unfold when you play with the puzzle cube. Wow, I thought, a gallery worth of museum treasures in the palm of one's hand, more miniature marvel moments! So I spent the next 20 minutes taking pictures of the paintings for this post

I thought maybe you will enjoy some of these moments too.


A Lady Serving A Meal
Oudh, India c1770-80

The dramatic colouring and the rhythmic and stylized flow of the women's clothing combine to create what is one of the most striking images in Sir Alfred Chester's collection. Painted in Kangria, in the Himalayan foothills, the painting is equally notable for being a genre scene, the artist having chosen to depict a woman at an everyday task, instead of one of the more popular feminine subjects of love, romance and beauty.


A Lady Sets Off Fireworks
Oudh, India c1770-80 

In this beguiling miniature, three women stand on a terrace at night, while one of them, her hands and feet dyed with henna, sets off fireworks. Feminine subjects, in particular scenes focusing in feminine beauty such as this one, were traditional in Hindu art but became especially popular in 18th century Oudh.


The Dejected Mistress
Murshidabad, India c1755-60

A young woman, seated on a terrace alone at night, holds in one hand a letter from her lover, which she reads stoically and with concealed emotion, while clutching a small posy of blossoms in her other hand. The sparse composition of this painting is extremely effective in conveying its message of dejection and isolation; it also serves to highlight the exquisite brocade textiles of the figure's clothing and her richly bejewelled turban.




Jahangir Holding A Globe
India c.1620 by the artist Bichitr

In this highly allegorical painting, the Mughal emperor Jahangir holds a globe, atop of which is a key inserted into a lock, a reference to a key which it was thought could open both the material and spiritual worlds. Access to the key and hence to the inner knowledge of the two worlds was believed to be through Shaykh Mu'in al-Din Chishti, founder of the Chishti order of Sufis in India in the 12th century. The Mughals regarded a Chishti order as their spiritual guardian, and this painting once formed a facing pair of a similar depiction in Shaykh Mu'in al -Din.



Raga Dipaka
Bengal, India c 1760

This night scene of a courtesan sitting on the lap of her lover illustrates the raga Dipaka. In Indian music, a raga is a musical mode, while a collection of ragas is a ragamala (or 'garland' of ragas). Ragas are frequently illustrated, the artist attempting to portray the scene invoked by the particular musical mode in question. Sir Elijah Impey and his wife, Lady Mary, who once owned this ragamala, arrived in India in 1774; both husband and wife were keen collectors and patrons of Indian art.




A Prince And His Consort
India c 1620-25 by the artist Govardhan

This portrayal of a Mughal prince and his consort once formed part of a royal album , each painting of which was framed by elaborately illuminated borders, such as those seen here. The painting is unusual both for its very subdued colouring , in which shades of gold prevail, and the highly intimate nature of the scene. The dark clouds forming above the enraptured couple may seem rather foreboding but, in the Indian tradition, they in fact function as symbols foretelling a season of fertility and love- making.



Ganesha Enthroned
Garhwal, India, c 1790


The four-armed , Hindu elephant deity, Ganesha, is the god of wisdom and the patron of sciences, art and all creative activities. He is also considered the sponsor of auspicious beginnings or the remover of obstacles. As such , this image once served as an introduction to the story of Sudama, a poor peasant who one day travels to the palace of his childhood friend, the god Krishna, to give him a small bundle of rice as a gift. Moved by his act of generosity, Krishna transforms Sudama's impoverished hut into a palace, clothes his wife in luxury and makes him a raja. 



Akbar Receives The Homage of I'Timad Khan
India c AD 1605 by the artist Sur Das

The Akbarnama is the official biography of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r.1556-1605) written by his close friend and associate. Abu'I-Fazl. In this highly colourful and intriguing miniature, the artist records the moment when the warlord, I'timad Khan ruler of Cambay, humbly prostrated himself before Akbar, who sits proudly atop a brightly caparisoned elephant. But the Khan's apparent loyalty to the higher authority of the emperor was short-lived, for as soon as Akbar had departed, he quickly tried to rebel, which just as quickly led to his imprisonment.




Akbar's Visit To The Muslim Shrine of Shaykh Farid Sakarganj
India c 1605

Here again the Mughal Emperor Akbar is portrayed, this time dressed in a bright orange jama and praying before the black-draped tomb of a Muslim shaykh. Set in the exact centre of the composition, he is the unmistakable focus of this busy and highly detailed picture. Intricate geometric patterns and scrolling blossoms cover floors, walls and the dome, while a rich array of textiles clothe the many courtiers and servants depicted, each of whom is involved in an animated discussion with his neighbour. A garden of lush trees grows beyond the back wall of the shrine, while in front, by the man entrance to the shrine, yet more guards and servants wait, ready to tend to the emperor's every need.


All descriptions of the pieces came with the cube.

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