In the first workshop back into subject, I decided to experiment with potato printing. This is because it is a simple technique that gives a texture to the print, which is what I am looking for in my work. It’s also a common activity that kids do at home (with simpler shapes!) so it relates to my target market.
Halfway through carving
I printed with black, as I just wanted to see the effect that the potatoes would give. I was really pleased with the texture that the prints had, and I prefer the designs where I carved more potato, giving more detail rather than just a black shape.
After the initial prints, I made some simple patterns.
I am really pleased with the outcome of this simple technique. I think I may scan some of the initial prints and edit them in Photoshop and Illustrator, to create an image to put onto a screen; and to also create digital patterns.
The trip to Rajasthan was one I had been looking forward to for a long time – even before I knew it was happening! I have wanted to travel to India for a long time and when the opportunity came up I took it as quickly as I could! It didn’t feel like I was really going until we were all on the plane and had taken off, because I had been excited about it for so long.
There were a few aspects of India that were not what I had anticipated! What I expected was different to the reality for a number of reasons:
Expectation: Bright colours and fabrics everywhere – almost every surface covered in pattern or some kind of fabric. Reality: Not every single surface was covered with colour or pattern – only within the palaces was this the case. However there was still a lot of pattern and other beautiful things (just not as much as I had presumed there was!)
Expectation: Relative cleanliness on the streets. Reality: The streets are very dirty, with litter piled up in certain areas – the litter was something that shocked me, as I had never seen piles of rubbish that big in my life, only on TV when images of landfills had been shown; but this was on the street! Admittedly the piles were nowhere near the size of a landfill plot but I am so used to clean streets that it shocked me. The litter on the streets of Cathays after bin day seems like nothing now!
Expectation: Shops would be small, and not many chain shops around. The shop owners would be friendly, but leave you to look around. Reality: Shops are small, but even smaller than I expected! Some had only enough room for one person to walk down to the end and back. Owners were most definitely friendly! Some would try to sell you every single item in the shop, whereas others may leave you to it but try to suggest items. The first was much more common though!
I think when you travel, there are always differences between your expectation and the reality. I experienced this when I went to Bolivia, and even Amsterdam.
I was inspired by the block printing that we saw, both in the Anokhi Museum and the factory the next day. The skill that it takes to carve those intricate patterns into the wood block is incredible, especially when they are making multiple blocks for the same pattern that have to line up! There is also incredible skill in the printers, being able to line up the blocks perfectly is not easy and they do it at great speed to get the work done as quickly as possible. I would like to try my own version of block printing in university – obviously I won’t be carving wood blocks any time soon, but I would like to take the basic principle of the technique and use it in my own practice.
Rajasthan was an amazing experience for me, and I cannot wait to go back to India and explore more places!
On returning to university, I came back to find my underglaze decorated plate glazed! It was one of the few not to make it into the kiln before Christmas, which worried me slightly as to whether it would ever get glazed! But luckily it was done when I came back to Cardiff. I was really pleased about this, as I wanted to give the plate to my parents – the house I drew is the first house they lived in together and the first house I lived in.
The journey home was most definitely not an enjoyable one! Almost everyone had been ill over the last few days and typically I was one of the ones to fall ill the morning we left to return to the UK.
I don’t have any photos of the return journey as I spent most of my time concentrating on not throwing up! We visited the medical centre in Mumbai Airport who kindly gave us some anti sickness tablets, which eventually helped to make me feel better.
I also didn’t return to Cardiff with the rest of the group, as the coach driver was kind enough to stop at the services near my home where my Dad picked me up so I could recover at home. After a couple of days of rest I returned to Cardiff, so I could go back to university and work.
On our free days in Udaipur, I mostly spent time in the pool at the hotel and shopping for gifts in the market. It was nice to have some time to ourselves, and to do as we pleased. The pool was freezing, but nice once you got used to it! We also took the time to do some sunbathing (with suncream on of course).
The experience of shopping in India was an interesting one! Some shop keepers wouldn’t leave you alone whereas others took a more laid back approach. Molly got dressed up by one shopkeeper in Udaipur and getting changed in a tiny changing room was fun!
Molly after being dressed up by the shop keeper!
A tiny tiny changing room!
We got henna done on one of our free days, which I loved! It’s a strange sensation while having it done and extremely annoying while it’s drying but I loved the outcome! It’s amazing how he came up with the patterns off the top of his head and all three of us came out with completely different designs!
On our last day of organised activities, we first went to a miniature painting workshop. Here we learnt the techniques used to create miniature paintings. The paintbrushes we used were made from chipmunk tail hair (just cut off I hope!) and the colour of the paint from rocks. As you can see I’m definitely not up to the standard of the experts but it was an interesting experience!
Professional Miniature Painting
My Miniature Painting
Next, we went to the City Gardens of Udaipur, a place with a variety of plant life, water fountains and trees. It was a peaceful place within a busy city and lovely to spend some time just wondering around.
The final thing we did was visit a family who own a shop which sells tie dyed products. We got to see their workshop and how they dye fabric. As a textiles student, I was very interested in the process. We watched how the knots are tied, how the dye mix is made and how it is dipped in the dye. The end result was very impressive, and after we went to their shop which had an array of scarves, jackets, trousers and lots more!