Old denims. Every house has at least one pair. And I hate, absolutely hate, throwing away an old pair of jeans. They are so comfortable – almost like a security blanket. The other day I wore a pair that I have had for a gazillion years and went downstairs for a walk. And a dear friend tells me ‘either cut them into shorts or fix them’. Though not vocalized, implicit in that statement was … ‘throw them!’
I digress herebut I must share this with you. The year was 1994 and my father was commanding an Air force base in Western India. I was home on vacation from college and was about to step out of the station compound to go to the local market. So walking over to pick up a friend, I hear this shout from behind me. The guard at the main gate tells me that my mother has left a message for me to return home immediately. I panic and almost run the entire way home with my heart in my throat. I reach and my mum says ” I just got a call from the mess bearer – ” Madam, aapki ladki ki pant phat gayee hai…” (Madam, your daughters pants are torn!) So mum to save me embarrassment had called me home. The pants in question were actually a pair that had been reworked with embroidery patches in multiple places though the knees were bare like the pair you see in the picture above. I thought they were very chic and bohemian – the mess bearer thought otherwise
So it was time to discard the old jeans. But you know me and my little issue with throwing things away when they still have life left in them. I decided to rework/up-cycle them into bags and blankets. Actually anything that could be used. Then I had friends donating their old pair of jeans, cargo pants and chinos and a whole collection was born.
You have already seen the Dog tags here and one version of blankets here.
Upcycled bags – buy them here. Help make some room in that landfill, reduce your carbon footprint and help another soul along. Did I mention that these bags have been stitched by me in the studio. And a lot of these bags have embroidery done either directly by me or the girl from the village that works for me sometimes.
And it is here. The collection that was for a while in a very dangerous and almost unrecoverable stall! The new Jhola Collection for February 2015 is live.
This is something that has been in production for almost a year. Between karigars not working on time or just plain ruining the work I did. I had to improvise and just do the lot myself. These jhola bags have been made in house. Only the gold faux leather straps went out to the karigars shop and he took six months over 10 bags!! Just not worth it. I almost gave up on this collection but given the effort that had already gone into them, I had to give it one last shot.
These bags have been hand stitched and hand embroidered by me and Jatin my design intern has painstakingly stenciled every bag. Each is an individual one-of-a-kind bag and looks different on the front and the back. And more importantly almost 70% of these bags is made with up-cycled and reused fabric.
So know that if you decide to take one home you are the only one who will have it! Make some room in that landfill, reduce your carbon footprint and help another soul along.
Oh! And wait for the denim collection coming up shortly
For a whole bunch of reasons I have been unable to release my next two collections. And that as you can imagine is beyond frustrating. They are ready and yet… Also I have been working on a series of paintings as a sort of narrative, an attempt to tell the story of a person or a part of their life at least. That too can’t be shared as yet. Somethings are in the offing and that too I am unable to tell you all about just yet.
Yes. I see that you are beginning to see where I am going with this
I needed a pick me up. Something small but effective. Something that allowed me creative liberty while still being effective for the task at hand. Oh! and it needed to be something I could finish on my own in a few days.
Now you all know of my love for dogs. And they always ‘pick’ me up So I decided to volunteer for one of VoSD’s the fund raisers – ‘Season of Giving‘ – The Valentine Bake Sale on the 14th of Feb 2015. It started with me trying to help with the space/ stall ‘decoration’. Valentine would not be complete without hearts et all. But I wanted to do ‘posh mush’ as opposed to ‘cheesy mush’. So brown paper buntings with stenciled/stamped hearts. Plus various sizes of hearts cut out of thick card stock. Add to that paper boats with sails with doggie silhouettes and hearts again. I covered some boxes with newspaper and yes, hearts and dogs came on all that too! Well it is valentine, you know
But then I decided to finally do what has been in my studio in various stages of ‘unfinishedness’. I give you ‘Dog’ Tags. These have been in the making for a while. They were born of some work that I am doing with recycled materials. I had hoped to get them ready as part of the next edition of ‘The Poonchh Collection‘. Yes. Again the one that is experiencing ‘stall’ in mid flight.
These key charms/ dog tags were my gift to VoSD for Valentine. They are absolutely gorgeous and rustic. Even if I say so myself. Made with ONLY recycled or up-cycled fabric. Stitched and stenciled by hand in the studio. I had help from my design intern Jatin, for the second lot. Suffice it to say he is not going to want to stencil or rivet anything for a while!
Use them to hang on to the side of your ruck sack or laptop bag or hook it onto your keyring, actually anywhere. The best way to show you love dogs and that you care. And the good part is that you know it is hand made with love, has a very low carbon footprint and ALL the money goes to the dogs.
To buy these, head on over to www.store.strays.in or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Valentine people! (I know I am a week late with this post. But as they say it is the thought that counts..)
My work and home feature in the Feburary 2015 issue of Good Housekeeping. My home has been featured before, though this time was different because my friend Jane D’Souza Gopalakrishanan interviewed me. It was wonderful to catch up over a cup of chai and just take the time to chat. It is interesting to have a serious conversation over thoughts and beliefs with someone you have known for many many years and still have areas of interest that were new and yet the answers were not unexpected.
And it was even more of a surprise to find that the article is written more like a ‘soul’ piece. And it is one really long article. That too is something I was not expecting.
I have known Laila Waziralli and Diva Ganriwal for a few years now. In fact I used to take Laila’s dog, Noodles, for a walk many years ago when we lived in the same locality. They lived a few houses down from ours in the same lane. Noodles would walk over to our house with his leash sometimes. One time he came in and dragged me out of bed on a Sunday morning!
Diva and I met when she came home with her mother to discuss a commission piece with me. Much time has passed since those days. And the young ladies have gone on to do wonderful things. Kitsch Mandi being one of them. It started in 2011 and somehow in spite of thinking about participating with Poonchh, it never came to pass.
This year – 2015 – seemed the right time to debut The Poonchh Collection at the Kitsch Mandi. Thank you Laila, Diva and of course Roshnee for your kindness and generosity.
So we experimented with Google PhotoSphere. Click and drag the mouse to see a 360 degree interactive view
To see more images of Kitsch Mandi and us, click here.
I leave you with images of Noodles and me – taken about 14-15 years ago
(The image quality is not so good as they have been scanned from old photographs)
I love it when Poonchh travels and ‘The Poonchh Collection‘ is traveling again this weekend. We will be at the Kitsch Mandi on the 25th of Jan 2015, at Pebble in Palace Grounds, Bangalore from 1pm to 11 pm. It is a Sunday. And there is a whole host of stalls and music to liven up your evening. So come on over. Do note: The section for Poonchh on the our e-store will be closed from 24th Jan to the morning of 26th Jan.
If you love dogs or know someone who does – this tote bag is the perfect gift this new year. For you or your friends.
Here is why:
You/your friend gets a really cool product.
And it is going to ‘up’ your fashion/hip quotient by a million notches.
If the vain in you did not bite on that one, here is the real reason you should buy it. It makes three sets of people happy: You: because you got a really cool deal Me: because you help a small business survive and thrive.
And the most important reason: some doggie somewhere got a little help from his friends.
50% of the profit from ‘The Poonchh Collection’ is pledged in perpetuity to an animal welfare and trauma care program.
Make a difference this new year.
To see more options on how to style an ArtbyAarohi/Poonchh totebag click here
I have just one agenda for this new year. To paint every day. Something. Anything. Good. Bad. Even ugly. But consistently. To do something creative everyday. 365 days. Happy New Year! 2015 – Here I come. You ready?
Towards that end I finally finished the many doggie portraits I had up on my studio wall. And starting the new year on the right note, this entire set of doggie portraits is my gift to ‘The Voice of stray Dogs‘ (VoSD) as part of their ‘Season of Giving‘ fundraiser. As always for the Poonchh Portraits, I take one rupee per portrait and the rest of the money goes to the dogs.
Poonchh has always been about love for me. A labour of love.
These paintings will be available at the VoSD store in the coming days. To buy please click here.
Poonchh was lucky to get a slot for a day at the A Hundred Hands – 5th edition of the Handmade Collective. Why lucky? Because I woke up to the thought of taking Poonchh along for the ride very late in the day. Mala Dhavan, the force behind the whole show has always had a special corner in her heart for doggies. And that is why with one phone call and maybe a half an hour of notice, I got to display ‘The Poonchh Collection‘ on Friday, the 5th of Dec at the collective. We had a fantastic time. Sold a bunch of stuff – so there are going to be a few happy doggies I can tell you
Though being on my feet from 9am to 9pm was a killer. I don’t know how travelling craftspeople do it multiple times a year for days on end!
The tote bags loaded in my little car as we make our way to the venue.
With Jatin while set-up.
Sitting pretty next to my treasure chest. Gives true meaning to trunk show
And even more fun was the absolutely fabulous work on display. From 20 award winning artisans/crafts persons and their wares, to work that is truly done with love and handmade at home by individuals. It was refreshing. My friend Saarus ofGlasshopper and Karthik from Varnam were there and so were Widad of Rumaancrafts and her handmade jewellery. I ran into friends that I had been too busy to meet for months. Priceless.
And the food.. oh! to die for. There is one more day to go. Tomorrow – Sunday the 7th of Dec 2014. If you are in Bangalore, do make the time and go. From Pandi curry to home made pickles. And the Brownies and cake stall… straight from lips to hips I tell you but soooo worth it
I am leaving you with a few pictures. But do check out more on their Facebook page or better yet, go in person. You won’t be disappointed.
(Note: Almost everything on this online store is one-of-a-kind or limited edition. We are offering free shipping within India on all products except some large furniture items)
I want to say thank you. Thank you so much for all the love and affection that you have shown me. I am also thrilled to say that on the night of 18-19 November2014, my blog completes six years! What better time to start an e-store.
This e-store will showcase my work across styles, genres, even across time. I can’t promise that what you see here once, you will find again. That is because everything is either one-of-a-kind or limited edition. It is hand crafted with a lot of love and attention to detail.
This e-store/shop is a little bit like me – mercurial and moody. But of a generally happy nature. I hope to share my many moods and inspirations in the coming months and years. It will be a bit like coming home to my place – I can guarantee a warm hug and a cup of chai, but I can’t promise that the house will look the way it did the last time you were here. I tend to move things around
So expect the unexpected but with all my love, every time.
There will be the usual fair with a little unexpected twist thrown in from time to time. Oh! and just to make it more fun and get your creative juices flowing, I also added a new section on style boards. The many ways in which you can incorporate an ArtByAarohi/Poonchh product into your wardrobe or home.
I hope you enjoy your experience with me. Happy Shopping!!
A few years ago at a party over polite conversation, a young ‘khandaani’ rich man said to me “I bought this painting some years ago and I hate it.” So I ask “But then why did you buy it? He answers “Because I was told it was a good investment and the artist would drop dead any minute and the value of his work would go up” At this point my jaw drops open and I forget to breathe. I was horrified to say the least. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. I just nodded sagely and left the room.
Now out of respect for the artist I shall refrain from naming said artist.
I was asked that same question again a week ago by the same person. Apparently the value had gone up BUT ‘the steadily getting old artist’ refuses to croak, so the young man a.k.a owner of said painting is still waiting for his investment to appreciate. I feel sad for him and sadder still for the artist. No, I am not mourning the disrespect to the old artist himself but to the emotion he underwent to create that work.
I come from a school of thought that I only paint what I want and absolutely believe in. So for me the question of art as investment is a bit of a oxymoron. Why? No one can predict the rise in the investment value of art. It is at best a calculated gut feeling of a person/people who have been around art long enough to see a trend. However in my mind art is a generational or an even longer term investment. If you were to buy today- you might see some incremental gain but not necessarily the meteoric rise some other art may already have been through. Also most art that has risen in investment value was something that was avant-garde and inspirational – zaraa hat ke – in its time. On the other hand there were many who in the same time frame did the same kind of work but never got recognition of any kind. So in my mind art is a risky business. And as an artist I feel one should buy art only and only if it connects to your soul. Otherwise buy gold, property or even blue chip shares!
Having said that – my point of view is really simple – you absolutely love a piece of art and even if it looks like crap to everyone else- I suggest you say bollocks to them and go get it.