During my childhood I used to love to weave the palm fronds into little snakes, bracelets, finger rings, boxes etc.. Growing up in coastal Karnataka, it was normal to see screens and mats made with the palm fronds used on buildings for temporary shade or protection from elements. Tents made with these mats are common when there is a celebration or gathering happening. I saw this fellow weaving a number of these on a side street a few days before the Goddess Chamundi festival. Below is a photograph I clicked of the screen in use -- normally even the roof is made with these screens even though here a tin sheet is being used. I sketched an ornate tent 'Mantapa' last year - check it out here. I also found a flicker group that has a collection of photographs of objects made from weaving the palm fronds the world over! - much more sophisticated than my humble efforts as a kid!
Woven Palm Frond Mats Photograph By Meera Rao
Below is the sketch of an ornate door frame of an old building in a narrow street in Mysore city center with a 'wicket' door within it. The open small door gave me a glimpse of a couple sitting in a small shaft of sunlight and chatting. The teal blue paint against the massive carved wooden door made quite an impression. I wondered about the secrets and stories this ancient structure was hiding!
India Sketch Journal 2013 Aug 7 by Meera Rao
I, of course have to include the shot of the page from my sketch book with both these sketches :) :
On one of my walks in the city, I came upon this amazing set up of a weaving stand right by the road side in front of a closed store. There was a ditch right there and a couple of bamboo poles were laid across to cross it. There were bamboo ladders and poles tied around to help with the weaving as the screen/mat that was being woven got bigger! There was even a bright blue tarp for shade. The stones as weights on the weaving 'loom' are quite simple and innovative as well. This link shows that the technique is an ancient one dating to BC! I was so taken by the whole scene that I decided to devote two days of sketching and give the loom part with the stones its own little sketch :)
India Sketch Journal 2013 Page 30by Meera Rao
“A weaver who has to direct and to interweave a great many little threads has no time to philosophize about it, rather, he is so absorbed in his work that he doesn't think, he acts: and it's nothing he can explain, he just feels how things should go.”
I enjoy painting in watercolors, color pencils, graphite and mixed media. I like to paint everyday things, scenes, ideas that capturen my imaginations, explore them through realistic, expressive, impressionistic or abstract styles. I also enjoy photography. I try to bring to my art the philosophy, heritage and the tropical colors of India and the spirit of adventure and experimentation I find in my now home here in the USA. My goal is to paint often and have my blog as a place to share my adventures.