Tag Archive for: Craft

SURYA blocks for printing. Photo: Anil Advani

We were at Ameneh Ispahani’s home a few evenings ago along with Cathy and Len, talking about her long friendship and association with artist Surayia.  She told us that Surayia had created the design for their stationery paper. I am unsure if SURYA was the name of an organization, or the name of a “label”.  I will have to speak with her again on this subject and get the details. She brought out these metal printing-blocks – which are absolutely amazing!  A small block with the words “SURYA” [the Sun] and a set of 4 plates with a designs based on the famous Jamdani weave of Bengal. The traditional Jamdani motifs and “butis” [flowers/leaves etc] incorporated into a multi-layered letter paper design. The metal blocks were probably used to print different colors with each block – making a final multi-colored print. The blocks have markings on the sides, some with a number and some have the name of the color written onto the wood side of the block – which are “LAAL” on one block [meaning RED] and “KAALA” on another block [meaning BLACK]. I will need to do a few test prints from these blocks to see if all 4 are to be layered into one print or [what appears to me] into two separate designs from 2 blocks each.  I will post an update to this blog as soon as I have been able to obtain prints from these blocks with the assistance of an artist / print-maker friend who has very kindly offered use of their ink, press and other equipment at a print-making workshop.

Blogged by Anil for KanthaThreads.com

I received good news that Farah Ghuznavi – with whom I worked at the United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh – has just released a short story in Woman’s Work, a diverse collection of short stories by forty women writers that promises to be an interesting read.
Congratulations Farah!

Early in my time in Bangladesh, Farah introduced me to her mother, Ruby, from whom I have learned so much about textiles, natural dyes and craft.   Ruby and her team at Aranya Crafts have worked steadily to preserve and promote the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the region and, in the process, have touched the lives of thousands of people.  During our recent film shoot in Dhaka, we interviewed Ruby about nakshi kantha embroidery and Surayia’s role in its evolution.

They came to her, over roads and over rivers, for inspiration, for guidance, for work. She is Surayia Rahman, a self-trained, passionate artist who guided hundreds of women from disadvantaged backgrounds to create masterworks – exquisitely embroidered tapestries that have been gifted to dignitaries and are admired in collections throughout the world.