Nov 29, 2014

Travel wishlist: Art & Artisans of Fez & Asilah (Morocco)

The first thing that ever got me hooked to Morocco/Marrakech was the blog 'My Marrakech' (now M.Montague) by Maryam Montague. Maryam's blog tantalized me by weaving rich images with stories from the faraway land.

And just as Maryam says in her book Marrakesh by Design, "Moroccan style is attainable yet exotic, practical yet mysterious" and that's exactly what got me hooked!

The arts and artisanship of the country speaks much to me. There's amazing craftsmanship and detailing in the everyday life and architecture of Morocco, to say the least. Let me share with you readers, my wishlist and a travel plan for artsy bohemian MoroccoJust hop in, lets walk through cobblestone sidewalks, leather tanneries, visit artisans and vibrant markets and much moreI would be delighted if this ever helps you planning a trip to this rustic land! 

Aside of Marrakech and other places (which are definitely not to be missed), I'd wander longer at Fez (Morocco's capital of art and crafts) and Asilah (a seaside town near Tangier). 

Fez first. Would ideally visit artisan workshops with a native Fassi guide, walk it through the labyrinthine Medina with its teeming local markets and workshops, eat local food and wander with artistic purpose. I long to visit the backyard workshops of the traditional craftsmen – zellij tile masters, weavers, tanners, coppersmiths and potters. And not just watch them in action, but to go slow, meet them and try out some of the techniques myself.
However if time is a constraint, I'd choose to go through Culture Vultures Fez and let them do my local planning

The leather tanneries of Fez: Imagine giant watercolor pools like these!
These are in fact leather dyeing vats "containing natural vegetable dyes, such as poppy flower (red), indigo (blue), henna (orange), cedar wood (brown), mint (green), saffron (yellow), and pomegranate powder." These tanneries process the hides of animals, transforming them into leather products - all manually. The process has apparently remained unchanged "since medieval times, which makes these tanneries absolutely fascinating to visit." (as seen on the AmusingPlanet)

Roam the Fez Medina to catch up with  the classical artisans at work 

and plenty more. Watch this video by the Exposé Artisanal project for just a teaser.

Would any one want to miss the carpet auctions in the Middle Atlas Mountains??
Also take off to visit textile weavers in the little caves and co-ops of the village Immouzer (off Fez).

Of course, with this heady cocktail of arts and crafts anyone would be hungry as hell. So then do a Food Tour Through Fez with Plan-It Fez or Fez-Food. That would be a perfect end to your stay in the city. Slurrrrp! 

And then onto the fortified fishing village of Asilah.
Not to be missed by art and design lovers. For me the idea of "cobalt blue–painted window frames, emerald carved doors, fruit stands selling fresh orange juice, and donkey-drawn carts clattering down sun-dappled alleys" is pure blissAdd to it that Asilah is a village "so blessedly removed from Morocco’s tourist-filled cities". The walls of this village appear to be splattered with graffiti, calligraphy and other gorgeous work as I browse through a hundred stunning images. Here are some teasers for you!

Must visit these hole-in-the-wall stores
and hunt for paintings and antiques in Alkamra
and swoon over calligraphy as effortless and bold as this!

That last image does it for me. Just this virtual trip gives me a Happy-High... Morocco has to happen someday!

Must mention this too... apart from impromptu travel planning with the help of local hands, alternatively if you are in India and looking for India-based travel planners who help with customizable travel packages, you could check out Discover Morocco by I haven't checked it out myself, but they do have some interesting plans for hassle-free travel.
Some others organizers I found are  TheWanderersTUI, and EquinoFunHolidays.

Art and craft tours (virtual for now) is something I'd thoroughly enjoy doing, It has fit perfect into my blog calendar and I intend to continue it as a series, so keep watching this space. You can drop in anytime and check the Artful Home & Travel tab above for updates.

Click on the pictures to go to their rightful sources.
And a Disclaimer: I may or may-not have visited these places or used the services of the links mentioned in this series. All suggestions based on my research and tastes. Leave it to you to take a shot at them :)

Nov 22, 2014

Three More Beautiful, Beautiful Artist Videos

These artists-in-action inspire me no end. As they work on their canvases, creating beauty out of their fingers and right brains, I am filled with a sense of awe which pushes me to Get Up and Create.
You might have come across these videos someplace or the other... yet watch them again, soak in the magic, be inspired to handcraft a thing of joy, out of nothing!

Just watch this beauty by artist Jai Vasicek and be amazed.
"Expect bold colours, tropical motifs and ladies draped in vibrant textiles and jewellery"
Video via the Malachi exhibition by the artist at Fenton and Fenton. A post on Jai Vasicek and his work is warranted, and coming up soon!

Here's another video - Kelly Rae Roberts, a hugely successful artist and "possibilitarian"
This colorful video was shot by Vivienne McMaster and view it in Kelly Rae's own words "We spent an entire afternoon in and around my studio and she took photos and videos of the studio, of me, of my cowgirl boots, of my paints, and more. There was dancing involved. And skipping. And other ridiculous silly fun."

And this one was a bonus find for me, in the sense that it let me into Indian artist Aarohi Singh's home, a glimpse of her studio (albeit before the gorgeous painted walls), and some of her work which I hadn't come across otherwise... view it here!

If you loved these, don't miss my earlier post on a few more beautiful artist videos.

Nov 15, 2014

Leather and Fabric

Leather and Fabric... One Hot Couple!
Seen often, hand in hand, with characters in stark contrast to each other, one staid and the other more fun and adventurous. The latter breaking the monotony of the former. Both equally versatile, and create a spark in each other's company.

Been drooling over a few products which combine the two. The moment leather goods are embellished with a bit of fabric, it transforms to something bohemian. The two are very different textural elements, but they combine well resulting in a more personal and fun product.  What do you say?

LOVE, love love these boots designed by Guatemalan company Teysha
An Indian, bohemian art and design blog

And then, these oversized travel bags from Amy Butler
An Indian, bohemian art and design blog

Native print mocchasins... more for the feet, and just too good! (source unknown)
An Indian, bohemian art and design blog

Ikat and Leather! Ikat messenger bag from the fabulous Nappa Dori

An Indian, bohemian art and design blog
Rug-made bags by Rugberry
An Indian, bohemian art and design blog

Love this elephant camera strap suit made by Inspiration Work :-)
An Indian, bohemian art and design blog

And here's how you can bring it to your rooms - bring home this stylish midnight Ikat chair from Anthropologie
An Indian, bohemian art and design blog

Or re-upholster some of your leather furniture just the way Kelly of The Polished Pebble has transformed her old worn leather sofa with an old Navajo rug!

An Indian, bohemian art and design blog

Inspiration in plenty, right? Do you have any leather-fabric favorites or ideas?

Nov 8, 2014

The Journey of a Blog, and other Stories

As much as urbanization has taken its toll on the city, I can see quite a good green-cover, as I sip coffee at my workplace in the 21st floor of a building. Ah, the beautiful Bangalore weather makes me ponder, I guess. Just wanted to share a few things with you readers, fresh out of my mind.

A Sunny Yellow Window
Thinking back... a A Sunny Yellow Window started off mostly as directionless rambling, and did take a few turns in between. But it has eventually reached its happy state, and has settled down comfortably as an art and design blog - where I share mainly interesting artwork, artists, inspirations and anything artsy related to travel and decor. And of course, occasionally DIYs and my paintings. I know now that this is my niche - where my passion lies - and that's where my posts have been heading towards over the past couple of years. I am ever grateful to you readers for dropping by now and then. 

The art/design/decor blogging community of India
I am not sure if you think so too... I miss several active bloggers who were sizzling a couple of years back. BUT, there are several newer blogs who have taken aesthetics, writing and photography to a whole new level! I must say, the art/decor/design blogging community in India is awesome, with a few of them turning entrepreneurs too. A beautiful trend indeed!

Blogging & Creative Routines
In my case Blogging and Artwork have had to take a backseat over the past couple of months. With a 9-6 corporate job and a busy toddler at home - I have had to excuse myself from pouring over a canvas with my paints and brushes, or blogging as frequently as I would love to.
I have paintings pending for a few friends, and thankfully they have not given me any deadlines. At it very soon. I often wonder how some of you manage to churn out consistently beautiful posts, in terrific rhythm, and manage work, hobbies, family and friends. You simply rock!

Oh, there's one other thing I am pretty kicked about.

My Pinterest followers have picked up from around 1,500 to 1,68,000+ over the last few months. I guess it is the effect of pinning crazy for the last couple of years. If you are on P, pls do connect.

Have a good weekend dear reader! I will see you shortly. 
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