In between mouthfuls of some delicious starters and sips of steaming coffee, a group of young and young at heart people are settled in a corner, doodling away to their heart’s content.
The hip and happening Aka Bistro at Fort, just a stone’s throw away from Mumbai’s cultural heart, Kala Ghoda is hosting participants of an Ink Doodle workshop organized by the Bombay Drawing Room, an inclusive community of Artists & art-lovers, founded by a self-taught Artist & Architect, Snehal Patil.
To me, this looks like a great way to spend a weekend evening. I chat with Shalvi Jhawar, a psychologist by profession, and an artist with Bombay Drawing Room, who is conducting the session.
The flow is that first we recreate basic patterns in these small squares on the practice sheets. Then, we move on to more intricate patterns. Following this, we provide a sheet with a basic shape and practice doodling in it. Finally, we take a final line drawing in which the participants apply all that they have learnt. So, towards the end of the workshop we have two artworks that they can take away.
Prior experience is not necessary, nor do the participants need to be from an art background. We start with basic lines and patterns. We completely understand that our participants may not necessarily have an art background but instead are art enthusiasts. Our worksheets start from lines, broken lines, checks and so on, progressing at each step.
In our Doodle Ink workshops, people are really happy. This has no norms. You have a shape and what you will fill inside it is exactly what you feel. There are no rules here. For example, in acrylic painting you know that the sky is going to be blue. But here, there is no such thing. It’s just how you feel. It allows you to express what you feel at a very subconscious level on paper.
It’s a good mix. We’ve had kids from six years on participate in the sessions! We have people from different backgrounds, ages and profiles. It’s quite a mixed bunch.
It allows participants to socialize with a lot of people. There are no rules and no time restrictions. We keep a casual approach from the beginning!
Zentangle gets a little meditative. Doodling is also meditative but here you can feel free to draw anything. Zentangle is more about shapes, while doodling includes everything.
Doodling is something that we all do in life. If you are sitting in office and getting bored you may doodle. We all have been doodling since school. We help to channelize this and give it a look that is aesthetically pleasing.
What Bookedforlife recommends: Well, the Ink doodle workshop is a great way to pass a few productive hours over a weekend. No better way to get your creative juices flowing! It could be an apt activity for gatherings and parties as well. It could also turn into a good bonding activity. Try participating with your child, partner, friend or parent!
Image credits: Priyamvada Sinha
The Bombay Drawing Room does not insist on any special equipment or brand, and all materials are provided.
If you are keen to try doodling on your own, here are some of our finds, which could be helpful:
2. Doodling pens
We may not have the space for a full-fledged library in most city homes. But, we can always create a reading nook. It is a refuge in the midst of a busy life. Here are some tips on creating one that you will cherish!
Pick an area in your home which will offer you a bit of quiet and peace.
Loads of natural light will do wonders! Top off the serene feeling with a small potted plant.
For all those late night reads, ensure you have a well-placed reading lamp that guarantees comforting light. It could be a floor lamp, table lamp or a chandelier. Take your pick!
The most important element is obviously the seating. When we talk about little reading nook we immediately picturize a comfortable chair that you can sink into. Take your pick. A rocking chair, arm chair, day bed, chaise or even bean bags on the floor…all these options can work. The only requirement is that the seating needs to be comfortable for long durations.
For the sake of comfort, indulge yourself if you must! A pillow that could support your head or elbows would be fine. If a footstool helps, why not add it?
Well..obviously! You may have a full-fledged bookshelf in the area. In that case the reading nook would be a kind of mini-library itself. If space is a constraint pile up the books on a ledge or table. You could put them in a nice wicker basket.
A little touch of green with a small potted plant, a few bookish knickknacks or flowers and candles.. decorate the space a bit and give it your own personal touch.
There….you have your reading nook ready! The very idea of a reading nook reminds me of a quote I read in one of my favourite classic books:
“Jo hurried to this quiet place and curling herself up in the easy chair, devoured poetry, romance, history, travel, and pictures like a regular bookworm ” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Let your very own reading nook transport you to a world of books and beyond!
‘The Narrators’, an initiative by Reshma Jain, gets literary gems on the wall in form of beautifully designed book posters. In short, get the text of your novel in the form of a poster. For any book-lover, no wall art can beat this!
These posters are very unique not only because they carry the entire text of the book, but also because the shape of the text reveals a motif or design that is crucial to the theme of the book in question.
Bookedforlife converses with Jain about this venture…
I loved the poster and put it up immediately. Everyone who would come home used to be stunned and would ask for a copy! So, Peter and me decided we should exhibit it in Bombay. Peter’s friend in London, Carl, and his team were the main design team and for very customised prints like The Bhagwad Gita, Peter designed it.
They can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if they want to personalise or customise a book or a song for the poster.
That is a question any book lover would answer easily- that a book in its original form or as an art form can only enhance any wall and any shelf! It is an extension of all that one is!
The original black and white prints are sourced from England. We also customize and personalize in-house.
For a brief season we did book lights and ‘booknitures’ – little felt tables which fold into a book shape when not in use. We are involved in a variety of activities. The narrators are basically a bunch of journalists and designers and together we do books, biographies, commissioned writing, short films and so on.
Book posters are indeed exciting artworks for any book-lovers wall! We wonder what’s next for The Narrators?
SpinTales takes storytelling to an enchanting level. With a duvet that immerses the child into an augmented reality experience and a rug that takes interactivity to another level, this product is a game changer indeed!
Narendra Ghate, Chief Designer Research, Service Design & User Experience Design, Tata Elxsi chats with Bookedforlife about this fascinating concept.
Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality are some of the futuristic technologies, which several industries are adopting. Welspun – one of the largest home textile manufacturers is one of the forerunners to adopt the augmented reality technology in textiles.
Welspun had a vision to launch smart textiles for storytelling for children. The idea was to make home textiles more than just an upholstery, and make it more immersive and engaging for kids. Tata Elxsi was a preferred design and technology partner of choice for Welspun. We helped Welspun to envision their idea to reality.
The Duvet and Rug are interactive and innovative textiles for kids, age three and up. The experience is uniquely interactive for both children and parents, with a focus on multi-dimensional storytelling, educational activities, and Augmented Reality. It is an experience that kids love.
By scanning the specified markers on the rug or duvet (using a tablet or smartphone), children can view characters in Augmented Reality. It feels like you are part of their world and you learn a bit more about the world they live in. SpinTales is the first of many experiences that is introduced and launched by TILT.
The above-mentioned stories are available in the interactive duvet. In the interactive rug, one will find jungle themed stories. Currently, three different stories are available in the rug and the duvet. The number of stories are expected to be added soon.
The activities are based on the stories, which are similar in nature. The duvet for instance has activities like Little Red Riding Hood baking cookies. In the Jungle Rug you will have this character Milo making fruit juices. The difference is mostly in terms of ergonomics.
While playing with the rug, the child will be standing, but while using the duvet kids would be mostly lying down on the bed with the duvet covered on them. Hence, from a design aspect we had to consider the height from where the duvet / rug is accessed. This is to ensure that the markers are detected when the tablet / smart phone is pointed at the rug / duvet.
Users need to follow the washing instructions as specified by the brand – TILT.
SpinTales is targeted for both playtime and bedtime. Instead of being a purely digital product, SpinTales connects the screen experience with physical activity.
To experience the beauty of Augmented Reality technology, one needs to move around. This is gives users to not just involve in physical activities, but to also enjoy the benefits of digital technology.
In addition, there are specific games, which encourages users to get involved in more physical activities and exercises. For instance, there is a game called ‘Frog and the Yoga poses’ which will encourage kids to emulate the yoga postures done by the frog. Also there is an Augmented Reality game where kids need to collect flowers by walking around on the rug.
Yes. The plan is to add more stories with fresh content and new activities. The app will be the same but the content will be upgraded. For instance, there might be bonus chapters in future for Christmas and Easter etc.
The feedback for SpinTales has been amazing and has been well received from both parents and their kids alike. SpinTales was initially launched for the US markets but it is also now available in India in stores namely Hamleys and Home Centre.
SpinTales has brought an innovative concept to merge the worlds of storytelling and technology. Time will take the magic to new heights!
Anna Corba, alumnus of Academy of Art in San Francisco, California, and founder of the “Found Cat Studio” has been working with paper in exceptionally creative ways.Those of us who love books, also have an unspoken attraction to paper. Paper is magic, not only in the words it can hold, but also in the myriad creative expressions it can be used it.
For reasons unknown, I find it essential on any given day to work with my hands, creating something beautiful to look at by the end of the day. I believe this is a way for me to make sense of simply being in the world. I like long stretches of quiet, alone time and the meditative quality of creative endeavor appeals to me. Losing myself in a project this way not only soothes my senses, but also occasionally allows me to touch an energy that is greater than myself, as though I am channeling creativity as opposed to ‘efforting’ my way through.
When I first saw the ledger book, I was drawn to its tactile quality…. I could turn the pages and hold it in my arms; it exuded a sense of humanity and intimacy that drew me in. I began my creative life as a painter, but through the years began to add torn papers onto the canvas to create interest and texture; once this began, I never turned back.
I gravitate towards vintage, worn, yellowed, stained and tattered papers. I like margins that have been written in and end pages that people have doodled in with pencil or carefully autographed for safe keeping. I steer away from anything with a sheen or overly bright colours. I like books that have been muted with use and time; I always go for the ones that whisper instead of shout.
I love vintage foreign postcards, especially with the sentimental notes in evidence and cancelled postage stamps. I am always on the lookout for ledger books that show accountings of rooms to let, eggs being sold or lace being measured. I also love volumes of sheet music, the older the better…I simply like the graphic quality of musical notes running up and down a page.
I like books from France, as I have a petite knowledge of the language, which I find beautiful in itself. Yet the language is also just enough of a mystery to me, that I can appreciate the books simply for their visual quality, and not get lost in interpreting the story. When I work with these books I get to practice my French skills just enough, but not too much! I am a true romantic, so I often veer towards poetry not only for the phrasing, but the fact that that a poem can have a certain shape on the page which is appealing in itself.
I also like rubber stamping over text or doing simple watercolors or pen and ink sketches. Being able to see through the compositions to the words in the background can create a very compelling piece. Anything that mixes two or anything that mixes two or more mediums together will garner interest due to added texture and intrigue. I also like simply rolling beautiful pages into individual ‘tubes’, tying them with lovely ribbon and placing a dozen upright in a vase or clear jar like a bouquet of flowers.
I believe that at the end of the day, in spite of all the technology available to us, we are sentient beings and as such, we respond to and crave the natural world in an elemental way. We want to touch that which is real, that which has been carved from the forest, that which carries a handprint, not just a manipulation of wires and computations. Paper is of the earth. Books hold a history of being revered for their ability to carry the written word in a fashion that bears an imprint, physically, on the paper itself. Handwriting whether it is from a child or a monk bending over his candle, illuminating sacred text, is a conduit of the human spirit, magical in its way. When we scour a flea market and are drawn to the ledger books from the 18th century we are bearing witness to an art form that has stood the test of time, not just been whisked off into a cloud of obscure memory. Technologists could make handsome arguments against anything I am claiming, but for me, that which we can hold and turn over in our laps, reach for on a shelf to lend to a friend, or pore over as we take an afternoon break, will always trump a computer screen that remains mute and hard and backlit to lure us in. A book need only rely on its humble weight to compete.
I find that when a group of people gather that have similar instincts, a collective energy is formed that is nurturing, fascinating and inspiring to be a part of. It is like that saying that says the collective sum is always more than the individual parts. Most participants leave a workshop feeling a deeper sense of themselves for having connected with like-minded souls; this is a wonderful arena to help facilitate and be a part of.
Anna Corba has surely found the magic that lies in old forgotten paper!
Anna Corba’s Found Cat Studio
A selection of beautiful vintage paper on Amazon
For a bibliophile, curling up with a good book is the ultimate luxury. It helps to have a reading corner, a special book-nook in the house. While an exclusive home library room could be a distant dream for many of us, these tips will help you set up your own book corner. Having a space specifically designed as your own library where all of your books can be stored, is an avid reader’s dream.
Interior Designer Ayushi Kanodia shows how…
Book lovers never stop buying books. Hence, we would need to have ample storage space for them. Have an in-built wall book shelf instead of cabinets to store your books. For a vintage or old world feel you could plan this area around an exposed brick walls.
Lounge Chair: Having a comfortable lounger in your library space will not want to make you get up! It should not only be ergonomically comfortable but should also look stylish in your library.
Wooden Desk: In the same space, you may would want to note down, write or research something. For this purpose, having a vintage walnut desk that is sturdy and functional would be great!
Lighting: While reading books you are transported into another world. Having a well lit room is always important so that you are not only able to stare outside your window while your imagination sways you away but at the same time you are not straining your eyes too much. Hence, if you can, create your nook in an area having large windows through which the light can seep in. Furthermore having LED lights as well as stylish hanging lights would also provide the much needed lighting in your library.
Colours: Go along with a mix of neutral colours since you don’t want to overwhelm your library with a lot of colour. By having neutral colours like beige, whites and shades of mushroom and grey will make the atmosphere calming and inviting. Book covers always have their own colours and textures. So, they will surely provide the splash of colour!
Go ahead and create your very own reading corner!
If you have a reading corner you are proud of, do post images in the comments section below. Do post any helpful tips for designing a book-nook as well!
Ayushi Kanodia is a Mumbai based independent interior designer
Wallpapers are versatile. With the vast array of choices and the mess-free set up they offer, home owners are keen to use them all over. How can the right wallpapers boost the look of your home library? Rohit Gupta of Elementto Wallpapers has some suggestions on using wallpapers for the home library.
What aesthetically distinguishes wallpapers for a home library from wallpapers used for other spaces?
The most luxurious part of a home for an avid reader is his library. The atmosphere and silence with the set-up of the room helps him to leave the world behind and spend some time alone with lots of reading. No clutter like the bedrooms, and no mess and noise around the corner! It’s more about making the room cosy and comfortable with minimalistic items. It doesn’t need to be a statement factor. Yet, it needs to stand out from the rest of the area indoors. It is the most knowledgeable room one can have. These factors differentiate the selection of wallpapers in the library room from the rest of the house. The wall décor plays an important role to bring out the feeling towards the room.
Many people think that wallpapers featuring books or book characters, or text are apt for libraries, which is true. But, many other designs also work well. What is your take on that?
Yes, the most common trend for a library room is books and characters. However, there are a set of people who imagine their library differently. This calls for eliminating the common and going in for something unusual. For example, the texture of the veneer book shelves could continue on the walls with veneer shades of wallpaper. One can use vintage designs to bring in an English look.
Any tips on choosing wallpapers for a home library?
It all depends on the size of the room, theme followed and of course the budget. I would suggest not to make it too busy and maintain simplicity. After all, the purpose of the room differs. Pick something soothing and relaxing. It should be simple, yet elegant. You can use funky design wallpapers on walls of the shelves. Spot something every time you remove a book! You could add some scenic designs to give a nature friendly effect. One can also choose books and papers for a wider book shelf look.
What advantages would wallpapers have over other finishes, specifically for a home library?
The main advantage is that it gives book lovers the real feel of a library at home. They can choose the theme and follow it all over instead of dealing with textured paints. One can change the theme and colour scheme frequently without the hassle of disturbing the book shelves. They don’t have to vacate the room even for a few days. The job of redoing the wallpaper is a quick solution.
Do you feel wallpapers can work to segregate book-nooks in homes where there may not be special library areas?
For those who do not have the space for a library but yet desire a little corner of their own, wallpaper works best. They can make a fun corner with images of books, novels, paper cuttings and so on. This will give that area a feel of a library. There are murals available with the library set up which eliminates the gaps.
Any trends in home library decor that you would like to talk about?
One of my favourites is the vintage look. The curtain backdrops, long chandeliers, rustic colours along with your book and coffee on your couch is the best way to kick start a new thrilling book. A backdrop of the window can make it comfortable to lean against the wall to read. Murals of hallway and passages are apt to make it look spacious.
So, the next time your book-nook needs an update, you know that wallpapers for the home library could be the best bet!
Image courtesy: http://www.elementto.in
The history of printing is fascinating indeed, and is perhaps as old as mankind itself. But, did you know that a very interesting and beautiful chapter in the journey of print closed down not very long ago? Chromolithographs were early coloured prints and the technology to print them started in Germany. Many of them found their way to Indian soil.
Bookedforlife takes a glimpse at some veritable pieces at ‘Ephemera 2017’, an ongoing exhibition at ARTISANS’ gallery in South Mumbai’s arty Kala Ghoda locality. The artefacts exhibited in the collection include a collection of affordable textile mill labels, and other chromolithographs for the first time collector.
These colourful chromolithographs are precursors of graphic design and mass communication, visualized in Britain, printed in Germany, and shipped to merchants in colonial India.
We uncover the stories behind them in conversation with Radhi Parekh, who runs the gallery and has put up the collection of chromolithographs. She recounts the fascinating tale of chromolithographs- how they were used by the British to lure Indian consumers to buy foreign cloth. They were thus, in a sense, precursors of modern advertising.
What is chromolithography?
Chromolithography is the first multi-colour printing technique. A coloured image is printed by many applications of lithographic limestones, a separate stone for each colour ink.
How old are the chromolithographs in the collection?
They all belong to the late 19th century, up to the 1920s and 30s. Later, offset printing was introduced.
What is the base of the artwork? Is it paper or fabric?
It is paper. But, it’s quite interesting you see. These were actually a part of the packaging that was used for cloth that the British exported to India. Thus, some of them are also called textile labels.
So, the initial aim of the chromolithographs was to attract customers for the exported fabrics?
These chromolithographs aimed at “connecting” with the local people, that is Indians, who were the end consumers. They were trying to reach a colonial market. Ironically, they carried subliminal messages that reinforced our Indian identity.
The themes are mainly mythological or derive from Indian society of those times. Since they were made in Germany who were the target audience?
Yes, the themes of the chromolithographs are mythological and draw from Indian visuals. But if you look carefully there are signs that show it was drawn by European artists. For instance, look at the faces in the printed miniature paintings, they look European. The way Gujarati, Hindi and Arabic has been hand-lettered also reflects the fact that it was an outsider doing this.
Have these been made in the traditional manner, that is, by using stone printing?
Yes. Lithography developed around 1796. These pieces were made using the lithographic techniques, based on the principle that oil and water do not mix. A separate stone plate was used for each colour.
Some of the works on display are Raja Ravi Verma prints?
He began by printing his art work in Germany. In fact, his prints were one of the very first mass reproductions of art!
How come most of these have survived?
A lot of them have survived because they had images of gods and goddesses on them, and were preserved in personal puja rooms.
Where does the art stand today?
As a form of printing, it has completely died out. However, artists and printmakers do use it for special limited editions prints as well as an artistic medium.
You are a chromolithograph collector. Any tips for someone who is investing in chromolithographs for the first time?
My advice would be
What magic do these chromolithographs hold for you?
I have a background in illustration, graphic design and publishing. I felt that these somehow took me to the roots of my profession. Moreover, my grandfather was one of the early pioneers in the textile industry. Hence, I am drawn to chromolithograph textile mill labels. I am indeed fascinated by these historical artifacts of printing, graphic design and typography.
Chromolithographs have had an interesting journey in history. Today, they are works of art that have captured in their folds a glorious era of print!
Note: The exhibition of chromolithographs is on till 30 May 2017 at ARTISANS’, 52 – 56 V B Gandhi Marg, Rhythm House Lane, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai 400 001.
I am at a book signing session, where author Padma Lakshmi is busy signing copies of her latest book. An elegant woman enters and presents her with an intricately folded book sculpture of the author’s bestselling autobiography. What could be a greater tribute and a better gift for an author? It turns out, that the presenter of this rare gift, Banoo Batliboi, is the book artist who has folded the book page by page and created a sculptural wonder.