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The HAT Project 2006/07 is supporting 20 exchange fellowships between England, South Asia and Australia

Tanvi Kant

Residency at Arts Reverie

week eight

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 23rd March 2008

week seven

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 21st March 2008


Discussed what the whole experience on the residency has been for us this morning, and the potential impact on our practice. Found it really good to get some feedback too. Up on the front terrace, it was the most picturesque meeting I've had, flowers and butterflies, plus some curious faces on the balconies of the neighbouring houses.

Train Tickets

I have decided to go to Jaipur, I have a friend visiting a friend of hers who works in fashion. I would like to show my work and just gain some feedback really, plus I really love jaipur, even though it is really busy and in the markets they are really pushy.


We had a dinner up on the top floor, drinks were coconuts sliced in front of us by a young man specially brought in for that job and water served in tall patterned terracotta glasses. we had the natural plates and bowls again which I love. There was discussion about partnerships between Ahmedabad and Manchester. There are the obvious textile manufacturing histories which they were world famous for, plus the fact that both are now fast growing urbanised cities and undergoing huge regeneration. They also both are culturally and architecturally interesting, both for the old and the new. There was an interesting gathering of figures who work within the arts, crafts and design sectors.


Met an up and coming fashion designer. When showing my work at Sumrasar, it was suggested that I get in touch with him. It was really good to discuss each others work. I found there were parallels in the way he approaches clothing and I jewellery. Such as not having a front or back of a piece, the wearer being able to wear a piece how they wish, material value and simplicity in construction.


Had a good meal overall, the starter was dripping with what I think was olive oil just the way some gujarati's cook with ghee or oil.


The children in the Pol were playing with mostly water, but I saw several pink and red faces. We have an invitation for dinner at the home of the owner of one of the nice hotels in the city. What a lovely and delightful evening it was. There are discussions about all our work and future projects as well as lovely and mildly spiced food! I don't get on with chillies, which as been a highlight of this trip everywhere I go,most of their crisps have chill. We ended with a fire and trying to recall what we should be doing - offerings to be made to the fire, etc.


On the way back from the market, we got off the rickshaw a little early and turned into a street I have been through a few times before. The streets on the right are entrances of other Pols, some lead to we go through and on the way see people covered in colour, mostly men and children. We get more and more covered in colour, unfortunately the toxic powders were being used. So we didn't go out again for the proper time to play with the colours.

We did enjoy watching from the terrace though, the families below were washing outside, under the taps were buckets which just looked liked coloured water anyway. They were being covered with powder while they were washing so this whole process took a couple of hours! handfuls of powder were thrown, pasted on faces or scrubbed on to hair, buckets of water were thrown at each other and water pistols spraying water. The colours look particularly beautiful when they are thrown into the air.


Relaxing day, mostly because I'm catching up on sleep and in preparation for the 13 hr train ride tomorrow. Its also really hot to do anything, i may venture out after six, though its seven already and I am already sleepy.

I have been looking through books I have bought (far too many, but also never enough). I feel more clear in the direction of my work and also where I have been with my work. Connections and significant encounters have been made and things feel much clearer to me. I feel more sure of where I want to go, but I also feel I may need a longer and a more intense time to realise this. I will like to continue to develop relationships formed in India in the future, I have more to gain directly from my experiences here. I also feel a greater affinity with the place, people and culture. Although, I do feel I would not live here as many have asked me. My home is in Britain, the people, family, friends and the cities I feel a closer connection than to than I would anywhere in the world....for the time being

week six

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 21st March 2008


A few things on my list - getting in touch with a jewellery designer, confirming hotel booking in Bhuj and thinking about what to focus on in the evening when I will talk to our friend the textile designer..

Karma Art Gallery

In the evening, catching the last 10 minutes of the however many weeks long show, we see an exhibition of bronze sculpture by K.S. Radhakrishnan titled ‘The Impudence of Musui’. I found it delightful, the movement and balance of the human-like forms. The space the tall, skinny figures occupied and the play on balance with a dance or acrobatic like movement. I also particularly liked the small scale pieces with dozens of figures holding hands or trying to stay upright as if a wind was trying to pull them off the surface of the cube. The smiling face of the male figure standing on his hand upside down was memorable.


I have a meeting late in the evening which runs close to midnight with our designer friend. I discuss my work and show samples made while I have been here as well as existing work. There are two options in the ways in which we could work together, I am hopeful, but also a bit weary.

Having always worked on my own I feel like I am the only one who could really understand where I want to take the work. I am quite clear on what I don't want but I'm also happy to consider new things, I am also very particular in a very personal way - this may need a tactfulness when dealing with another person.

Clear and consistent communication is key and also firm decision making. I will try my best. I think I may need to talk with people back home for thoughts too...I have always wanted to collaborate with designers or craftspeople here, but having actually discussed it seriously, I'm quite nervous.


I venture to the markets again, looking at local jewellery, buy some grapes for lunch and a cone of peanuts roasted with a pan full of hot charcoal on top. I should have taken a photograph, it was served in a newspaper cone, which I love!

Silver treasure cove

I spot tarnished silver items in a window, peek in and take of my flip flops to have a closer look. The man behind the counter is sitting and in serious conversation with another about money. I keep looking around and I'm quite pleased no-one pesters me and brings out 50 pieces for me to look at. It was quite difficult to get any attention actually and so I liked the shop even more. I finally get him to open a cupboard to see an articulated fish, I remember a friend here who was asking what they were for, but she couldn't understand the shopkeeper. I find out it is for the powder applied around the eyes or for perfume - attar, the Arabic fragrances I have read about before.

He then asks me to speak in my own language, when he asks me if I find it difficult to speak in Gujarati. I think he meant that as I didn't understand his explanations. He added that just because he is in Manek Chowk doesn't mean he can't speak other languages, but I said I can practice my Gujarati here so its nothing to do with him really. I do talk in English now and slipped up a few times, but I switched back quickly. I guess he can practice his English with me.

He is very knowledgeable and shows me a necklace he bought for 44, 000 INR. Real Basra pearls with what I assumed was rubies, a gold pendant whose back was also beautifully decorated with peacocks, the front set with emeralds, rubies and diamonds. It looked similar to my favourite piece of costume jewellery my mum had, which I now keep and look at from time to time.


I stay up quite late tonight, and its midnight so I email friends at home as it officially my birthday for me in India. I am unusually excited and don't sleep for long!

I dress in my new churidar for the day and tell the staff I want to light the divo today (lamp in the devasthan they have here is lovely, full of images and symbols of many beliefs). Fresh flowers are delivered to the house everyday, which include the garland which is placed around an image of Laxmima.

After breakfast, I do a little sketching and writing of ideas and Anne and myself decide to go out for ice-cream, look for some music (similar to what was playing in the disco rickshaw), books, clothes shopping, just a general girly day out...

We go to Bhandej, where there are the lovely clothes as well as my favourite - the homewares. Crossword is where we look for the music, I try my luck with an Arti CD, hoping it is the same as what the families near the pol here play in the mornings. After ice-cream and shakes, we go to the Himalaya Mall which has a dummy person climbing up and down a rope the whole height of the building. We go to the scary house, which was pretty hilarious. They - the exhibits under post mortem examination - were telling us 'post mortem' and then 'go left' and a lady in normal dress came out to give us directions, and telling me not to use my mobile which in fact was a camera - I was actually taking an audio recording. Anne's images were great as the flash shows the tacky fake blood, wigs hanging off the heads and silly costumes.

At home we get dressed up in sarees, and arrive fashionably late to the hotel for our meal, in a rickshaw. There were six of us, and I was a little shocked to receive so many presents. It was probably the most amount of gifts I've ever had! it was funny how I had only known everyone only a month and they all had chose books or their own artwork which I loved. I am very fussy, but its only because I know what I really like and other things don't do much for me. After the meal, we came back to have a drink that our friend bought for Anne, as he had a permit to purchase alcohol . It comes as a stamp on your passport. Kalamkari We visit a lovely family who paint line drawings with a fine bamboo stick on mainly cottons and sometimes silk. They make a solution of iron soaked in water, gor/jaggery and tamarind which is then boiled. We saw a selection of Sanjays' work, one of two sons and then sat and did some of our own painting. We really loved this and could have sat there all night doing this. The images were really detailed and depicted recurrent dieties - mainly female goddesses and figures such as angels/fairies, peacocks, parrots, what looked like kings and queens, elephants and horses. I definitely want to draw and paint of fabric or even paper. I am looking forward to my studio based time to pursue this. I can copy, but making my imagery would be better. I am have become increasingly interested in imagery used in drawing and painting I have here. On the lorries, rickshaws, walls, textiles, clothing, interiors and stone/marble or wood carvings. For me its the lotus, peacock, mango, elephants, ganesh, birds and sun. I also like the tortoise, fishes, goddesses, women and angel like figures Sanjaybhai drew.

Sleeper Coach

That evening I left for the journey on an A/C sleeper coach to Bhuj.  It left at 11 and arrived about 7 in the morning. It wasn't too bad as I was in and out of sleep, but it was freezing! The A/C was two vents which I couldn't even turn down let alone switch off. I then told the driver if he could turn mine down, but I didn't feel any difference and he then gave me a blanket. I was pleased to arrive in the nice hotel and ended up getting a deluxe twin room with a spacious balcony. The hotel served amazing mocktails, very refreshing to return to the comfort after the heat and traffic coming back from the bazaar.

The Kala Raksha

I get picked up in a jeep and taken to Sumrasar and spend the day there.  It is a place where there is a school for craftspeople and a commercial venture to secure income for many communities.  I met three students/graduates working with the crafts people on various projects.  One of which was a textile graduate from Sheffield and the other two post-grad students from NID.  It was a lovely space and my highlight was visiting a family nearby where I saw three generations of women.  Oh and the baby, which would be the fourth.  The daughter-in-law was embroidering Suf bharat for a scarf and the grandmother a patchwork or applique piece.  This is usually how it goes as the eyes can no longer do the detailed work involved in counting warp and weft to perform Suf stitches.  It was one of the most idyllic village homes I have seen and I felt very lucky to have spent even a little time with them. The little girl and her smiling face still very fresh in my memory.

week five

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 21st March 2008


Happy and sort of healthy, we are working away now. I have felt I needed to set up a space, I've chosen the top floor, next to the terrace. I start with drawing which carried on for a few days. I tend to draw things or doodles that often don't look like my work, exploring line, colour, scale, detail, rhythm, space.. this helps if I have a mental block when making. I'm not sure what I want to achieve or say by making something right now, so, I'm just doing line drawings and marks with watercolour.

In between

We have errands, like picking up my glasses from the opticians right on the other side of the city before our visit to the doctors. Everything is well and Anne has some interesting souvenirs to take back home. I also visit an indian fashion showroom, not impressed by their jewellery, but the dresses were okay. I had a great sales assistant, who had really good taste! Usually they show you the wrong colours and patterns, but I started by saying I was not interested in anything that was in this year and not the next, he understood me pretty well.

Chocolate cake

next is a rickshaw ride for the lovely shop I visited earlier on, there is a sale, but I didn't see anything I would want myself. However, the cafe opposite is where I indulge in a warm and rich chocolate cake (eggless) then when Rosa arrives as I am finishing my cake, I also have some ice-cream covered in chocolate sauce. We then meet Susan and Michael who do purchase a few outfits in wonderful colours. Not sure about wearing them on the streets on NY, I think they will be lounging around the house outfits. The bookstore also in the same building, underground, has a good collection of design magazines, so I will need to make another visit.


I was researching a few things, when I came across a few interesting points which I felt a resonance with. Sometimes I feel a bit lost about which direction to go but actually when I really sit and think, I've always known. Having too much choice is maybe just as difficult as not having a choice sometimes; although, I prefer having too much choice. Some people have no choice in what they want to do, where they want to go or how - like many of the people I have met here, most yearn for a better life without realising what they have is actually pretty special - though many have no other experiences to go on, so how can they possibly see this? I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I have had to be able to make my own choices in life, some cultural, some professional and mostly my personal choices.

In the same way, I feel my work can become anything I want it to be. Working alone, to my own pattern and making what I wish to make is a privilege. Though hard work really needs to be there to make it work and keep going. Being adaptable is crucial. I'm learning about what it is I want to do - really do, all the time. Its so easy to be distracted when you don't take the time to stop and reflect on things.

I make a phone call to speak to a lady I want to meet in Kutch. The hotel is booked and I'm planning three full days in Bhuj as my base and from there I will visit two organisations who work with various craftspeople. I can also visit craftspeople and collectors I first met last year. So some new and some old contacts to see.

Kutch is probably the best region in the country for me for the type of craft its people have created and which a few are still creating today. Also, even thought I don't understand the language, most can speak and understand Gujarati. This is one of the things I mean by being lucky to have experiences that give me more choice, here its by being able to communicate so much more easily, and also having the understanding of certain cultural nuances that would otherwise be missed. It enables me to gain much more.


We meet for lunch with the young designer and his friend who lectures on fashion illustration on the fashion course at NIFT Ghandinagar, where we first met him there a few weeks ago. He also paints, which I really liked.

After lunch, we walk around the famous screen - the intricate stone carved jali - and see some mosaic put down for advertising. just nearby for the underground market. We carry on towards teen darwaja or three gates, where the streets are filled with markets selling all kinds of things. objects for rituals, utensils, buckets, tacky ornaments, bags, fake flowers, hardware stores, fabrics,'s really hot and I am tired, but it was good. The main reason to come here was that our friends were wanting to meet with a machine embroiderer and a place which sells vegetable dyed block-printed/bhandini and other fabrics.

Vishala and the Disco Rickshaw

The girls go out for the night and we have a great time at Vishala, this time I see more of the entertainment. A full puppet show, singing and some party tricks by the rajasthani entertainers. On the way back one of the puppet sellers actually knows our friend and he asks if he can have some prints of the pictures she took of him at a function that was put on where they were dressed as horses. Anyway, he also helps us to a rickshaw as we are bit out of the city. At the end of the road are the rickshaws, a small crowd gathers around us as we sit in his friends' rickshaw. Now there's about what seems like 30 of them around us all getting very excited. The rickshaw has a bright blue light, a small vase at the back with three fake flowers and three speakers set in. Then the music starts as we agree on the fare......oh my gosh. The music is really loud and I recognise it as late eighties, early ninties film songs, very romantic and pretty cheesy, but kind of cool too.


In the evening, after dinner, four of us get in a rickshaw to see a hindi film at a cinema housed in a mall. There's a lot of energy in that part of the city, reminiscent of large cities anywhere with all the neon lights, traffic, crowds of people outside shops and little stalls selling..stuff, and food places - lots of food places.

Drive-in Cinema

Visiting family friends, I join them for an evening out with their two young boys to see the same film, but actually the boys were more entertainment this time. The front, near the screen is made up of lawns where the families can picnic and the children run around screaming their heads off and splashing about near the fountain right near the front. Then there are dozens of rows of seating leading to the back where the cars are. It was really dusty as everyone was leaving. It was a lovely evening and I am really pleased to have experienced it.

week four

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 17th March 2008


I revisit the gufa and the school of interior design again, the natural beauty around the buildings is something I don't get to experience as often as I would like at home.

The pink flowers I love, and I really should remember their name by now. I have photographed them every time I have been in India. I saw a woodpecker and more chipmunks. I think I will never cease to be excited to see them along with the camels, elephants, cows, cats, dogs, donkeys, parrots, peacocks and especially monkeys! I feel slightly different at the small and speedy lizard like creatures, flying beetles, and giant ant like insects in the monsoon season...

Louis Kahn

Our next visit is to the Indian Institute of Management IIMA, spurred on by two artists/photographers friends also staying at arts reverie. The institute has one of the highest standards in the world and having experienced such a place, it seems fitting that this is so.

It certainly has a presence, the scale of the building is quite dominating, but with space flowing in and around it. There was an underground tunnel as a walkway between the new addition and the original campus. This walkway displayed a series of images about the design and build. Generally, its quite sparse and a little cold feeling, too much brick, too large, at times too dominating, but I still like something about it. Maybe it's the boldness of it.


My evening at this lovely restaurant and the Utensils Museum next to it will certainly not to be my last visit. This traditional Gujarati styles of decoration and mud huts as well as low wooden tables with mats for seating was charming. The dim lighting and sounds from performing musicians and puppetry added to the magic, as well as rope swings.

Whilst waiting for our table we visited the Utensils Museum which was within a beautiful building with intricately carved wooden doors and interesting artefacts running along the side walls. Inside, the galleries are set around a central courtyard where there is a small shrine lit up beautifully. The objects on display were displayed in groups, not minimal nor fussy. There was not much written information, but who needs it for indulging in the visual treat that it was. The shapes, forms, scale and collective displays were a feast for my eyes! The cast metal, highly decorative forms and intriguing implements, I found delightful. Photographs depicting how they were used in real life rural Gujarat reminded me of the childhood memories described to me by my father about his grandparents.

The meal was an amazing experience reminding me a little bit of the way food is served at weddings back home but with more drama! The men wore brightly coloured costumes and in chant like method called out what each of them were serving. The food was was served on the lovely stitched leaves and the bowel too - it was leaf set on a mould to serve as a deep bowl for kudhi. The food had quite a bit of chilli, I was able to identify the not so chilli condiments and was impressed by the diverse range of dishes and sides....can't wait to go back!


I visited a great outlet which had the most beautiful fabrics used in very wearable dresses and sarees. I find that I have grown much more sensitive to fabrics starting from my last visit to India the year before. I've been learning about fabrics by experiencing them through their weight, touch and wearability. I can definitely know when I see things I do not like the quality of and I'm always thrilled by what I do like, almost can't get enough of it! The textile and craft tour last year and spending this year seeing more contemporary uses of textile has really begun to make an impact. It has been a learning process, more of discovery and awareness than actual learning of the technical aspects. I am not at all that knowledgeable in textiles, but I feel very much like wanting to express myself through them much more than I have so far.


In the evening our local tailor came, we all brought out fabrics and samples of clothes wanting to be copied, or repairs - which I needed to shorten my linen trousers. I wish could use sewing machines to alter or make up items myself. I've always had bad luck with them, I came to the conclusion at college that we just don't get on. So its hand stitching I prefer.

Manek Chowk, Ghar ni Vad

I failed at trying to understand directions in the pol through the narrow residential streets to the market area. I was on a mini mission to find some fabrics and instead of just being shown from the end of the street, one of our staff here accompanied me on the whole trip. I was very grateful as I would not have been able to get the materials I needed, nor make the enquiries I was trying to make without his help in such a short time.

In a jewellers I was trying to ask about the fine wire again, but I wasn't sure about returning again the next morning to purchase it. As I didn't really know what I was going to do with it exactly. However, I can follow this up later.


Feeling a little bit slow...not sure where I am going with things, I need to set up a base somewhere in the house, instead of moving around. I've been sketching and making notes. Lots of thoughts running through my mind, some recurring lines of thought. There are layers of ideas and only a few are really going to be significant for me. Its up to me to clear out the excess and focus on a defined outline of what should be taken forward.

The time spent thinking is not just about this residency, but also about my practice in general. I am still very much at the beginning, and just need to decide on a few things and let the rest just progress naturally as it has done already. I know very well that things can't be forced. Achieving a balance is still quite far away, but its my ultimate goal.


Anne, my artist friend on the residency here with me is recovering after surgery. We both spent three nights in a small private hospital, with a whole mix of emotions and thoughts rolled into the whole experience. I'm sure Anne has a lot to more to say on this. I can only say here that we are very pleased with how everything was dealt with and I am sorry that Anne has had to deal with the symptoms for so long in the UK, only to have such straightforward running of tests, diagnosis and surgery in a matter of three days from initial discussion with a GP here.

week three

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 23rd February 2008

Began working in various rooms and spaces around the house. It was good to move about, plus being out on the terrace makes up for being at the house all day. 


However, I end up going for a walk when it was cooler, but as it is a residential area with lots of alley ways I just stick to the route I know which leads to the main road and back - not as long as I would like and probably to the amusement to the people out on the streets. The little lanes either side, I tend not to go down because as they seem as if they all lead to dead ends or someone's front door and people see me going up and down the same stretch and I start to create even more attention to myself.


You can always hear something going on, sound of water running, singing, shouting, layers of conversation and pressure cookers going off, children crying, playing and laughing, dogs whimpering, rickshaws and scooters with their beeping... Most of this runs through the night and early in the morning, there's loud banging and thumping, and men singing out to sell things or asking for things, mostly inaudible as they sound like they are making strange loud sounds. 

Shopping mall

The temperatures are rising now and I have to shop! I get some linen trousers from Western style stores in a huge shopping mall along with some books: Khalil Gibran, Rumi and Jawarahlal Nehru. Plus some snacks from a large supermarket. 


I have not yet been to a sari shop, but we have tailors in their tiny little holes in the wall around the haveli and I have been eyeing up their off-cuts piling up around them. I ask one what he does with them, but as he tells me a list of things I decide not to ask if I can have them. 

Thursday, what a day! 

7.30 start, I wrap two pieces of toast that have been kindly spread with jam and two lumps of butter by the kitchen staff here and I'm handed a bottle of water as I walk out. Mohammed my rickshaw driver takes me to a Swaminarayan temple where the Heritage Walk starts off. I notice on the sign in book different countries of origin of the tourist are priced accordingly for participation on this walk. My UK price is half the price of the Canadian non resident indians'. 

There was a smallish group and the walk started with a presentation of the history of this very interesting and very old city... 

(as I am typing this there goes another wedding procession with dhols playing - very loudly. Its definitely wedding season....its still going on and having looked out the window I see that it is just around the corner about four metres away) 

....I make a friend who makes good company for the rest of the day. We attend the morning session at the Calico Museum, the second time I have seen this astounding collection of textiles, and visit the Ghandi Ashram, my personal favourite, the paper factory nearby plus a few peacocks, and the step well at Adalaj, which too was fantastic. The details of carving in stone that I have seen over and over again never fails to amaze. 

Overall, an incredible day and a long one at that. I feel a real satisfaction that I have been able to see and experience these incredible places and come to a place that was home to Ghandiji. Unfortunately, I also know how far things continue to rapidly move from the ideals that were communicated by him. 

making Friday 

The next day I am happy to be in one place and making, I also make some notes and re-evaluate where I am going. I realise some things I was planning to do this week have not been very successful so I take it as something I will come back to later on, as the materials I am working with, namely textiles, are not appropriate for what I wanted to achieve. However, I actually see it as a little bit of success too, as deciding not to follow is as important as deciding to follow a path. 


I visit sari shops with another guest staying at the Haveli and we see wonderful suits and sarees, I try some on which I still like but I haven't bought anything. Honestly. 

I see a girl with her parents, being shown bridal dresses, stunning red and white skirts with sparkling embroidery that haven't been sewn yet. The three stores we visit have mostly designer outfits suited to the overseas visitors aka NRI (non resident indians) like myself. They are, after all, dresses I would wear myself. I remember that I use to think the best fashion/dress is in the Indian culture. I still firmly believe this, from antique dresses to vintage to contemporary, even the ones suited for a more western market and I feel a little pride to have this as a part of my heritage. 


In particular, the benares woven silk sari with real zari (fine gold wire) bhandini (tie and dye) and habla (mirrorwork) is my all time favourite. I have seen expert craftswomen practising the latter two crafts with incredible quality, I am yet to see the weaving of the benares silks though, as well as the making of real zari...which I think I need to get on the case for more urgently as I have been asking about it for quite some time now. 

(sounds: wedding dhols are yet again playing, amongst the singing of women, children playing and men talking loudly)

week two

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 17th February 2008


plans are roughly arranged for visits to make this week. I meet Sitaben who makes beadwork into a whole variety of things - jewellery, objects for rituals, coasters, hair decorations...

I choose to see two types of beading to be demonstrated and I have a go myself. I get to choose a piece to take home, so I now have the lovely strawberry red simple necklace that had caught my eye from the whole spread.

It turned out to be a very comical monday... giggly weavers, masses of goats by the roadside, cut out windows on corn, birdcage man - popatlal the popatwalla? best in the whole gujarat, macho man polisher, giant red carrots, real-life dodgems with rickshaws and scooters, interpreting poems about food and our health by an elderly man trained in aryuvedic cooking, sipping just one sip from a drink to taste a potion that will make me well - one sip only because it was made from saadu water (not mineral) which will make me unwell,  visiting an organic shop which doesn't use electricity but castor oil fueled lamps and a hand powered fan...


I want to 


I like colour and contrasting materials, the combination of contrasting materials and transformation of original material into another


first day I felt hot, travelling in the car contributed to this, but it was good to finally feel a bit too hot.  

NID, National Institute of Design: met two lecturers, interesting to hear the differences in the systems.  I prefer how we set out our courses in the UK, but I am a product of those so its inevitable I would.

Split ply-braiding

its amazing how people can be fascinated and passionate about a particular material, technique or processes in making for decades.  They really love it - still.


in the middle of an industrial estate out of the city, a small tree lined dusty drive and into a peaceful area of play and creativity.  met with two designers and a young designer trained at the Architectural college working on socially and environmentally conscious application of material and design.  things that need to be produced for the masses rather than stay within a niche market, to really make an impact on waste, in this case, the reuse of plastic - they have a significantly larger resource from pre-consumer/industrial waste than post-consumer waste

local artisans are encouraged to use their skills to work with new materials, they continue to work from home.  such a change from factories we know or knew at home.   

Saw flamingoes and and indian scarecrow with turban and all.  

more punk camels


Opposite my father's old university, our driver Johnny took us to see Doshi's cave, painted within by Hussain, one of my favourite things in this city. you should see it.

we then walked across into the grounds of the architecture college, interesting detail in signage, paths, communal grounds and activity of students working on the grass on a project to build...something with a dry plant material I didn't recognise.






having been invited for a meal into an apartment, I felt inspired by what objects are in the home, to be displayed as well as what is not! Its as important not to have some objects as to have


there are images, things, stories, and mementos which inspire and warm you or comfort you that you have, but things somehow start to invade your space. just like thoughts 

I am warming to the idea of work for the walls. I choose to show my work wall hung over flat and/or behind glass, though there are practicalities to think of too.


colour. texture. tactile. complexities, intricacy, subtleties within colour. 


so many ideas and images in my mind, need to stop and set up a space and time so I can sketch, take notes and make samples.....



factory which is one of the nicest, if not the nicest factory I've ever seen. the women seemed really happy and smiled at us a lot. 

Saurashtra Crafts

trying to find real zari - fine silver and gold threads used in weaving or embroidery but due to expense most is artificial, and the antique braiding I have worked with before is hard to find in a form I can work with.

Apparently, Surat still has some producers, about two, but I've also been told no-one makes it anymore, sometimes people who say its still made actually mean artificial zari.  

I've seen benaras woven sarees which are tie and dyed back in Kutch which the seller says are real zari woven into the fabric, so someone somewhere must still be making it, but I have our young designer friend on the case...


Nice shop, bought a scarf - really useful in the dusty journeys in the rickshaw


met with an artist that evening with some of his family who were hilarious, and his work is pretty amazing  


roundabouts, lots of them and different work on each

Fashion college

Designed by Doshi, lovely and tidy spaces, talked to some students about their work and we ended up giving a talk about our work too. 

contemporary/studio jewellery practice is non-extistant here, from what I've seen so far.

Paper weaver

amazing samples of woven materials with paper, strip of plastic, sari, bamboo and cotton with nylon, silk or cotton


stone-baked pizza won over gujarati food even after being told the restaurant's speciality is the gujarati food - yes, that's nice but I still would like pizza

arrive home late, unfortunately its not the time to think and reflect, its time to unwind and get to sleep...slowly


day of rest, tried to do some sketching but couldn't quite get into it.  Think I am tired

My space

the small room downstairs has become my little studio, but right now I am on the dining table.  It is Sunday and everyone is about, so I can do lightweight work and converse with people.  I am sat in the same place since breakfast this morning and its about 4 now. Think I should move, maybe go for a walk.....


Posted by Tanvi Kant on 10th February 2008


journey to Ahmedabad started with meeting people on the flights, each with their own story for making their way to India... a children's book illustrator, graphic designer and trainee film director as well as a scientist and hotel manager.  some of their points of departure or future points of arrival related in some way or another to my own journeys. these moments with people have always been interesting to me, we relate to mutual circumstances and we share our stories, only to never meet again

sometimes it makes you think was there a reason for bumping into that someone,  the order of booking reference numbers making, by chance, that person the one you will sit next to and laugh with...or share the odd smile during the six hours you will sit next to each other. paths cross and moments are shared...with complete strangers

Arts Reverie

At the beautiful house, I have felt relaxed and most of the first two days, rose from my bed to eat and read kite runner.  Starting reading another book, but I hadn't quite got over the first.  There are colours, textures, sounds, objects and images around the haveli which make you look more and feel constantly inspired. I have began to call it home as it will be my base for two months.

a visit to family friends on the back of a scooter was good, hands slightly stiff from holding on so tight.  the variety of languages you hear that you either recognise or don't recognise, is strange as you hear the very familiar amongst the unfamiliar. that goes for sounds, voices, animals, vehicles, food, clothing and faces.


From Monday to Friday I was in Poshina.  On the way, I visited Patan with a tour, which I had also been part of last year. The double Ikat weavers, a Jain family, was as fascinating, even on my second trip.  I am pleased to see they are not losing their craft.  One of the elders was proudly showing us a photo album with famous guests visiting their workshops or demonstrations around the world.  

I was thankful for grapes and oranges after a lunch of spicy deep fried snacks, which we ate sitting near the loom which had an unfinished spread, just a yard or so away from us.

On to the mushru weavers where ladies shopped and I stood watching a lady taking over the loom sitting in a recess in the living room.  It was physically demanding and I was glad to hear they had 50 or so workers with looms in their homes working for them.

Tribal areas

On the way to Poshina, we heard there was tribal warfare, police can only do as much as jailing culprits.  Consequences of wrong doing are dealt with by their own rules and regulations

We had a jeep tour, in the middle of our trip the other jeep wouldn't start and we (our jeep that is) went behind it and gave it a push from the back

We visited stunning terracotta shrines and the homes of adivasi people. babies, goats, chickens, calves, uneven dusty paths, cool, dark mud houses and smiling teeth and bright eyes. Most memorable were the children's faces and the amazing scenery in which they lived and played, high hills and mountains with colourful skies their backdrop.


The beautiful heritage home was a place of more rest, but I caught the cold from the others in the group where it was doing the rounds.  Cool temperatures asked for my double glazing, hot water, central heating, insulated walls and merino jumpers back in the UK.  Four layers of tee-shirts and two pairs of socks and brandy in the evenings had to do.

I gave a brief talk to the group about my work and showed pieces I had taken with me.  I have taken some good advice and positive comments, including being asked to sign my cards for those who thought they felt sure I was going to be big someday.



the rides on these are not so great when the wind is this cool.  Though chilly, it reduces the smells that I remember from my earlier trips in the hotter seasons. 


We met a designer who we spent most of the day with, visiting a community of applique craftspeople and mosaic work.  My highlight was the book store full with Art books, from the balcony you can see mobiles hanging and inside limited seating for a few people and a small table which felt a little unstable with the weight of large hardback books we sifted out.

Design studio

our visit to our new friend's studio was delightful for me.  examples of garments and samples of accessories. the colours, textures, finishing married with function.  I could see I would need another visit, maybe I can ask for a day in the studio while they work, there were hints of a possible collaboration on both sides..


more questions than answers.  which direction should I continue on my journey with my work, what do I want to say, where do I want to go - how do I start to get there?

week two


time to write and think and doodle.