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Entries in India (21)

Tuesday
Jul132010

one of a finds: wagon wheel mirror

Rustic animal-drawn wagons, often up to 20’ in length, are still a common sight in India transporting people, goods and agricultural produce throughout the country—the only modernization being the change to more durable and shock-absorbing rubber tires.

Discovered in Gujarat—the westernmost state of India and a trading center since ancient times—each of these unique hardwood wheels has a history dating back to the 1930s.

Finding beauty even in the utilitarian, each worn and weathered wheel shows evidence of hand-carved concentric designs and skilled woodworking joinery piecing six sections in the round.

Over the decades, this repurposed wagon wheel mirror has traveled many miles over the rough Indian terrain to reach its final destination. Each is fit with a new polished mirror, reflecting on journeys past and the invention (and re-invention) of the wheel.

Wednesday
Jan272010

one of a finds: tru(n)ck

From Jodhpur to New Delhi, heavy duty trucks of all kinds jam the roads of India decorated in colorful and symbolic art. With kitschy images of everything under the sun—from stylized sunset scenes and Bollywood movie stars to flowers and religious symbols—these handpainted rolling metal canvases enliven the dry landscape as the driver’s take pride in their personal statement.

This funky and functional storage tru(n)ck is handpainted by original “truck artists” with birds of freedom, the sacred lotus and “OK Horn Please”.

It is truly a small piece of national tradition that helps sustain its artistic creators and will instantly transport you to the roadways of Mumbai.

Wednesday
Jan202010

one of a finds: singing bowl

On a recent buying trip to New Delhi, we ventured into Old Delhi, basically in search of a needle in a haystack. Other than walking, a rickshaw is the only way to travel so I and a guide hopped on and rode through narrow alleys until we found a metal shop they knew.

Inside we went through countless small rooms on four floors that were littered with lanterns, bowls, sculptures and puppets—there must have been thousands of metal items—my head was spinning like a kid in a candy store.

On the top floor we saw stacks and piles of beautiful brass bowls—all different sizes and some filled with wooden mallets. My guide explained the beautiful story of the singing bowl and knew instantly we had discovered a one of a find.

This bronze meditation instrument is hand-hammered and hand-finished of pure bronze in a centuries-old Himalayan tradition believed to date back to the pre-Buddhist 10th to 12th centuries.

Now almost a lost art, this Himalayan singing bowl is handcrafted by village craftsmen in the West Bengal region of India, bordering Nepal and Bhutan.

To experience the bowl’s mesmerizing harmonic overtones, hold the bowl with your fingertips and arm slightly outstretched. Hold the the tip of the wood mallet and slowly spin it around the metal rim a few times to release a magical frequency. Namaste.

Wednesday
Jan062010

london weights

We mixed business with pleasure on our recent trip to Old Delhi when we went grocery shopping with a friend. We were mesmerized by one of the oldest shops selling spicy munchies.

While a team cooked up savory treats, the man in charge took and weighed your order. Everything was packaged to measure—and calculated using an age old scale and the original version of these London weights.

And even though it was terribly hot, we were so hungry we snapped up some spiced cashews!

Wednesday
Oct072009

what goes around

taxi and mop shop DSC08540to market DSC09538best loaded DSC08993
Traffic as we know it is a mix of motorcycles, cars, trucks and buses. In India, it’s all that and more including tractors, camel drawn carts, auto rickshaws, pedestrians and sacred animals.

Here bicycles are a vital tool to fulfill ones’ livelihood—an elemental, low-tech solution to a myriad of needs. Literally thousands of bikes share the road with  all of the above transporting workers to work, foods to markets, or materials and goods to factories.

It was inspirational to see bicycles transporting recyclables and a sistern to collect rain water. The mindset of the culture is amazingly resourceful so just about everything gets reused—or used sparingly.

Some of these very bicycle tires have been selected and repurposed as spoke mirrors for CB2. Each is one of a kind and the iconic engineering mixes great with old or new interiors.

recycling
Sistern DSC09120