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Entries in one of a finds (27)

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
Nov182009

one of a finds: ugandan sunburst bowl

A modern interpretation of an ancient craft passed down mother to daughter, these one of a find sunburst bowls were handwoven by village women just outside Kampala, Uganda.

The stepped ribs of coiled raffia over banana fiber recall the region’s mountainside farming known as “mountain terraces”.

The craftsmanship of these women provides both an outlet for their creative expression and much-needed income to educate their children. By using one of the few resources available in their remote area, they are weaving their rich cultural past with a future of hope.

Wednesday
Sep302009

one of a finds: madhubani painting

madhubani painting

The naive art form of Madhubani painting has been passed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation, exclusively by the Hindu women in the remote Mithila region of northern India. For centuries, paintings were created on the walls and floors of village homes to designate auspicious spaces for festivals and rituals. After this agricultural region suffered a severe drought in the 1960s, the women began selling their paintings on paper to provide food, clothing and education for their children.

This one of a find is a limited edition of 440 original paintings by artist Lalita Devi. Lalita grew up painting at her mother’s side but has been paralyzed for the past 19 years. With the help of family members who steady her hand, she continues to work her craft and share her vision.

In this piece it’s of a jungle where prey and predator live together in harmony. The brilliant colors are made from natural spices, leaves, flowers and soot, and are applied with a cotton-wrapped stick.

It wasn’t easy choosing just one from so many wonderful pieces, but each time we view the painting we’re awestruck knowing there’s so much more to the story depicted and we’re thrilled to share it.