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Dulali -- Design by Surayia Rahman, Photo by Cathy Stevulak

Today I received a note from Alla in Armenia.  I had met her several years ago on my travels there, and her note reminded me that I took with me a small piece of Surayia’s nakshi kantha tapestry during that visit.    I recalled going to one of the fascinating street art markets in Yerevan and coming upon a man making picture frames.   Could he please make me a small frame for this embroidery that I had brought such a distance in my suitcase?  He kindly picked up the piece and delivered it framed to my hotel.   Here it is – the heroine Dulali of Gypsy Wharf, the tragic love story by Jasimuddin – framed in Armenia.

When I look at this small, complex piece of hand embroidery, framed by a simple piece of wood, and now located far from where it was embroidered and framed, my thoughts travel to the universality of art, and art as a means of livelihood around the world, as well as to the powerful Gypsy Wharf story of love despite ethnic frictions.

I phoned my friend Margot to wish her a happy birthday and she mentioned a film festival that she in involved with in her community to raise money for Soroptimists. The Soroptimist motto is “Best for Women” – “women at their best helping other women to be their best.”   Just as Surayia did, there are so many women in this world who are encouraging others and sharing their talents  — bravo! to you all.

Please share your stories of women helping women so that we can all be inspired by them.

Len and I learned a lot on a recent short trip to San Francisco to watch filmmakers pitch their projects to potential funders and partners at the Good Pitch session held in conjunction with the 2010 Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference.  Kudos to Britdoc Foundation and Sundance Institute for putting together an event that supports independent documentary makers!  We met many interesting people and are looking forward to seeing some great films that were pitched at the event.

We discovered the Once Upon a Tea Time blog on design when they found us.  Enjoy browsing their site.

Surayia Rahman tapestry: "The Tea Garden."

We wish all of our friends in Bangladesh and around the world who are celebrating the end of Ramadan a heartfelt “Eid Mubarak.”

Tapestry design by Surayia Rahman. Photo copyright Anil Advani and Kantha Productions LLC.

Copyright Kantha Productions LLC

When I was home visiting my mother recently, she asked me if I would like to keep some of the petit-point embroidery that I did when I was a small girl.  Of course I would ! My mother was a talented seamstress, often going to charity bazaars to find special fabric – velvets, woollens and prints – to make clothing for me.   Princess collars and polka-dot dresses are etched in my memory.  Mom also taught me to bake, to stitch, and to wash dishes!  These petit-point pictures are not perfect, but they are special as Mom and I made them together.  Mom was my teacher, and a very talented one.  If I have a chance to show Surayia my petit-point, she would be very pleased, but she would probably make me redo many of the stitches.   She was, after all, a perfectionist teacher.

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