Holud Ceremony. Surayia Rahman design. Photo copyright Anil Advani and Kantha Productions LLC.

Weddings and the ceremonies surrounding them were a recurrent theme in Surayia’s work.  “Holud” and “The Bride’s Palanquin” are two of the many scenes from traditional Bengali weddings that she re-created and brought to life through embroidery.

“Holud” depicts the turmeric ceremony which takes place a few days before a Bengali wedding.  The groom’s family (but not the groom) go to the bride’s house with her wedding sari, fish, and other gifts.  The bride is painted with bright yellow turmeric paste, and the bride’s family prepares an elaborate meal for the guests.

“The Bride’s Palanquin” shows the sedan chair that a new bride rides in.

As the world looks toward the UK and the upcoming royal wedding, we are reminded that the government of Bangladesh presented Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth one of Surayia Rahman’s nakshi kantha tapestry designs during an official visit to Bangladesh in November, 1983.  The tapestry was a story in stitches based on a poem by Jasimuddin.  We are told that the royal couple were so taken by Surayia’s designs that decorated their guest house that they purchased several others.

We wish William and Kate a long and happy life together!

The Bride's Palanquin. Surayia Rahman design. Photo copyright Anil Advani and Kantha Productions LLC.

Congratulations to Mary Lance on the completion of her new film: “Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo.”  The first screening will be at the International Symposium on Natural Dyes in La Rochelle, France, during the week of April 25.  Mary will also be showing the film to benefit the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market July 6th at 7:00pm at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe.  Tickets will be on sale soon.  If you are going to be in Santa Fe in July, help fill the theatre to see a great film and support a great cause.

We first heard of Mary and her indigo film from Ruby Ghuznavi in Dhaka, one of the most eloquent and tireless proponents of natural dyes in the world.  We’ve since watched several of Mary’s other documentaries and admire her work.  Can’t wait to see “Blue Alchemy” next.  According to Mary there will be  a film website coming in late May or June.

Shades of indigo. Silk and cotton kantha shawl hand dyed from Aranya Bangladesh. Photo copyright Kantha Productions LLC.