25 March, 2008

Tessalations And Kolams-I

Today I read Sharon's Post of 17/March titled Tessellation toy online.She has given very helpful links to sites on Tessallations.Tessallations are practised in India as a tradition called Kolam in Tamil.It is a Pan-Indian artform where the ground/floor is decorated with designs drawn with white rice powder or paste(diluted)or stone powder.Sometimes coloured powders are also used.It is one of the 64 artforms an educated person should know (atleast in the medieval times ie.c.I BC.E. to 10 B.C.E.)Both men and women were adept in this art.For the past few centuries it has been reserved exclusively for the Woman of the house ie.the Grihini;but she is expected to learn it before she is married,so that she would be an accomplished Kolam artist by the time she was married.Infact ,it was considered as a mark of her Intelligence to be adept in Kolam Drawing!Nowadays a man would not know anything about this art.He considers it surprising that there is anything of note in the humble Kolam which is noticed only in its absence.It is one of the details only burglers notice.(b'cos a house whose residents are away wont have a fresh Kolam drawn in front of the entrance.)All the inmates of a house(with the exception of the woman who drew it)do not notice the Kolam.But if the "artist"were to mess her work,it will immediately be noticed,commented upon ,criticised,ridiculed etc.,leaving the person concerned quite in tears!?! These days not all girls are willing to learn this art form from her elders.Doing Kolams is looked down upon(very slightly) and is considered as being"too girly"by the present generation of Jeans-wearing Teenagers.
Kolam-The Traditional Floor Drawing of South India gives a fairly good overview of this Tradition of ours.I wish I knew how to create those computer generated Kolams!Nowadys,some Men are also showing a lot of interest in the way Kolam deals with Mathematical subjects/problems.One is ,as mentioned above,Tessallations;other areas are fractals,progressions,Spiral geometry[(?)i'm not sure of the correct terms,as i'm not into Math]and computing, too.This site gives further informative links on kolams.
Beyond Mathematics,Kolams touch on the subjects of Art, Religious Rituals,Spirituality,Anthropology,Sociology and Psychology.I will deal with them in subsequent posts.

19 March, 2008

Finally, A picture.

I have finally got the pictures of my work taken and also got it uploaded thanks to my husband's and childrens help.It was a total joint effort.As for me,I was feeling pretty bewildered by the wholething.My husband had to find the most appropriate setting-with flash or without flash.He also had to find the correct setting for focus.The Camera is something we bought recently to replace our previous manual one.I have to learn how to use it so that I could take pictures myself.
The work pictured here was designed By the Anchor Design Studio.I had done it in the Summer before the Tsunami.I had wanted to make it into a bag or something instead of the small cushion it was supposed to become.The threads and the stitches to be used were as per the design.But i executed the work with a variation to the straight stich recomended.[I used the economy verstion.I am feeling very sleepy so I'll sign off now.I 'll comeback tomorrow with more to share.

18 March, 2008

A little bit of Detail

I want to tell the story of why I named my blog Tangled Web.
About Twelve Years ago when my firstborn was a little girl of three,I had gone to a Lifestyle/Home-Life Exhibition to spend the coupons I had got from Madura Coats for buying their threads and other needlework supplies.They had given them as I subscribed(& still do)to their needlework magazine Anchor Needle'n'Thread.I had wanted to try the beautiful designs featured in their eye-candy of a mag.{I had gone berserk buying a lot of things-emb.skeins,crochet threads,knitting cotton,pearl cotton etc.}.My very-curious-and-couldn't-take-no daughter was fascinated by those threads.I saw her interest and told her that it was a no-no and she should play with something else.Was there ever a child who can keep their curiosity under control?!Mine didn't/couldn't.So she waited for when I was engaged doing something else,so I couldn't dissuade/distract her;she got her friend Sai to help her take the small closed bucket where I kept those "fascinating"threads and made off to the shade of casuarina trees that grew just beyond our compound ,to a corner where I could not spot her easily[behind a tree].They both must have had such fun separating the numbertags from the skeins [30-40 nos.] and entangling the crochet and knitting cottons[5-6 balls]and skeins as thoroughly as only two three year olds could.What an amount of time and effort it took me to unravell the whole thing! I was not in a position to throw away the whole lot after going to all the trouble of assembling my resources for the eyecandy stuff that was published in the Magazine. Infact it was a nightmare.After that event ,I packed away all my supplies so that all my attention does not go any where else but in engaging my daughter.It took me almost a month to remove the sand[beach variety]and dried casuarina needles from this Mass;another six -nine months to separate the skeins from each other; and it was three years before I cold go back to the thread supplies shop in Madras/Chennai to help me match the number tags to the appropriate coloured skiens.I thought that was that,until I found ,recently,a ball of fine deep blue tatting /crochet cotton amongst my precious hoard with the tangles still intact.So, I decided that there was /is some ununderstandable connectionbetween me and Tangled Threads that is difficult to explain. This became the name of the blog I had first created.Why did it become Tangled Web?I was always fascinated with a spider spinning her web so diligently and expertly without any formal training of any kind ,but with instinct alone. That's why!

17 March, 2008

So many Details-Exam Blues

The past week has been crazy.My daughter is having her Board exams(6 exams spread over Four weeks).She had finished her Social Science Exam on the 3rd.She had her Math Exam on the 11th.We are not very comfortable with maths,not because it is difficult but because we cannot be bothered by the many details like the steps involved in the solution of the problems.Actually,she has come a long way-from being gutwrenching scared of the M word to saying "Amma,I love the challenge in doing Maths".So whats the problem,you might ask.The same matter of noticing DETAILS-on her part as well as mine,I feel.She forgot to take her Hall Ticket(so necessary to be allowed to write one's exams).The Teacher had to yet come to her desk when she had realised what she had done.The Invigilator was very kind and understanding,infact very empathetic.She asked the class if they knew my daughter and confirmed her Number and then allowed her to write the exam.She only asked her not to repeat her foolishness.I was feeling agast to know that my dear daughter had not taken my advice to keep her HT safely in her bag and not to take it out until her exams got over;that I did not check /ask her if she had got all that was required.I felt miserable and very incompetent.It took me a week to be able to even think about the incident without feeling mortified.Meanwhile,my younger son who is 10 years old and is in the IVth grade had started his exams too.He needed help with his Hindi which is a subject I dont know much about except to read and write!EVS,English or Math-no problem at all.But Hindi-Written is difficult as he has difficulties with writting ie.Dyspraxia and Dysgraphia with ADHD.
It feels much better now that the worst is over and I am able to put them into words.

09 March, 2008

Happy Women's Day

I have been busy the past two days teaching/coaching my son(not yet 10,but soon) for his annual exams which start on the 12th of this month.Making a child to sit with his sums when he would rather do something else is very tiring ;I suppose I have not mastered that particular art of parenting.Meanwhile I joined a typing tutorial to learn typing.It tells me that my error rate for the First(home row exercise)is at 12%.I find that I could not use my new skill yet.I am still looking at the keyboard than the screen ,which I suppose is the reason for the pain in the neck region.Embroidery is also done looking down.I wonder how most people get around that difficulty.I suppose I must do some stretching exercises for the pain.
I have a problem .My friend Diana sent me a clip to view.I was not able to see the joke.My daughter tells me I lost my funny bone.I wonder if it was because I am tired-bone tired.
Yesterday was Women's day.There was a discussion in one of the cable channels on the status of women especially in Tamil society.The panel had a lawyer, a Psychiatrist,a poet,a filmaker among them.[The psychiatist is a very savy person who also has/had a slot,Manam Malara(meaning-"let the mind blossom") in the Tamil DD channel in their Morning show.It is my favourite because she manages to connect the way the mind functions with societal mores/norms/expectations.This is a programme for every one.] In the Women's day programme she said that research shows that all babies were made as females ,at first,when they are concieved ;and that Testosterone production starts the differentiation when the feotus is about six weeks old.Very interesting isn't it?

01 March, 2008


Today I tried something new.I tried to join a webring for the TIF challenge.The TIF colours for march is very attractive.So far I had not thought of the feelings that are aroused in me when I see /consider the colours for the month.This time it came in a very strong manner.I finally learnt that I can save the colours onto my computer.So ,I did it with the previous Challenges too.Only a few colours strike our eye &remain in our memory.Why does it have to be so.1) b'coz I am not able to work the challenge as much as I think about it.2)I find the Thought for the challenge more absorbing that the doing part does not come so easily.this month,funniy,it is the colours that struck me first.I have to go back to Sharon's blog to look up at the idea for the month.