Friday Inspiration: Amrita Sher-Gil

While I started this blog to document my crafty creations (and I still will), I feel it’s a good space to make a record of all the people and things that inspire me. So, without further ado, here is a little post about one of my favorite artists, Amrita Sher-Gil.

amrita-shergil
1. Photo of Amrita Sher-Gil

I discovered* Amrita Sher-Gil when I decided to Google my name (everyone does this… right?), and after a bit of web surfing, stumbled upon her Wikipedia page. Often called ‘India’s Frida Kahlo’, Sher-Gil was an artist who blended her European art training with her Indian surroundings her to create a honest reflection of herself and the lives of the people around her.

2. Young Girls  – 1932                           3. Two Women – 1935

Outside of her art, my favourite thing about Sher-Gil is her supposed ‘fuck it’ attitude. She was reportedly kicked out of school for declaring herself an atheist as a child. She moved to Paris when she was 16 to learn how to paint. She unashamedly explored her sexuality (she reportedly had multiple lovers of both genders – more power to her). She knew her destiny as an artist lay in India, so off she went back to India. She died unexpectedly at 28, but it seems for the time that she was alive she lived with her own unique radiance.

4. Self Portrait – 1930            5. Photo and Untitled Self-Portrait – 1931

While I am not saying everyone who is Indian has a strict upbringing, having Punjabi heritage myself, I know how conservative a culture it can be, especially for women. This added with the era (1920s onwards), Sher-Gil probably shared a fair amount of discrimination and being human, probably dealt with her own insecurities. Despite it all, she seems to be able to forge through and live life on her terms. I can’t help but see a bravery in the way she lived her life and be inspired by her apparent authenticity.

sher-gil_self_portrait_0
6. Self Portrait as a Tahitian – 1934

I’m willing to bet a part of what may have made it easier for Sher-Gil to live life on her own terms was the affluent life she was born into. Her mother (Marie Antoinette Gottesman) was a Hungarian opera singer and her father (Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Majithia) was a Punjabi aristocrat, scholar and well-respected photographer. I just think it would have been so easy for her to stay in that world. Instead, she intentionally sought to expand her art by traveling to parts of India  to capture life that was so starkly different from her own. As a result, she created a beautiful and unique collection of work that demonstrated her technical talent as well as her ability to tell the stories of her subjects.

hill-women-1935-painting-by-amrita-sher-gill
7. Hill Women – 1935

 

ancient-story-teller-1940-painting-by-amrita-sher-gill
8. Ancient Storyteller – 1940

From what I have learned about Sher-Gil, she was reportedly an empathetic person, and had a genuine desire to tell the stories of the villagers and women of the Indian population. Using her talent and privilege, Sher-Gil’s mission to give a platform to the lives of those who would usually be ignored or become lost with time makes her feel like a highly relevant artist in our current political times.

9. Group of Three Girls – 1935            10. Child Bride – 1936

If you haven’t come across Amrita Sher-Gil’s art before and would like to read more about her, here are some links:

Things to read about Amrita Sher-Gil:

http://www.christies.com/features/Amrita-Sher-Gil-6132-1.aspx

https://theculturetrip.com/asia/india/articles/india-s-frida-kahlo-amrita-sher-gil-s-contribution-to-indian-modern-art/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10087130/The-Indian-Frida-Kahlo.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amrita_Sher-Gil

http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/amrita-shergil-5312.php

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Amrita-Sher-Gil

http://www.lifestalker.com/amrita-sher-gil-the-first-woman-of-indian-modern-art/

http://www.ngmaindia.gov.in/sh-amrita.asp

I’ll be back to crafting next week! Have a great weekend!

Amrita

xo

*saying I ‘discovered’ Amrita Sher-Gil reminded me of this tweet… https://twitter.com/randilawson/status/653644344742834176

Image Sources:

  1. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Amrita_Sher-Gil
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amrita_Sher-Gil
  3. http://www.indiaart.com/Old-Masters/Amrita-Sher-Gill/Gallery-of-Amrita-Sher-Gill.asp#
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amrita_Sher-Gil
  5. http://www.christies.com/features/Amrita-Sher-Gil-6132-1.aspx
  6. http://www.indiaart.com/Old-Masters/Amrita-Sher-Gill/Gallery-of-Amrita-Sher-Gill.asp#
  7. http://www.indiaart.com/Old-Masters/Amrita-Sher-Gill/Gallery-of-Amrita-Sher-Gill.asp#
  8. http://www.indiaart.com/Old-Masters/Amrita-Sher-Gill/Gallery-of-Amrita-Sher-Gill.asp#
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amrita_Sher-Gil
  10. http://www.indiaart.com/Old-Masters/Amrita-Sher-Gill/Gallery-of-Amrita-Sher-Gill.asp#

 

Getting My Craft On

Well, that was an unexpected break…

Christmas was an amazing, albeit a busy time. I decided to make my family gift baskets this year, and each basket ended up having between 5-7 gifts. This was for seven people. At the time, its seemed like a great idea. To be honest, the process wasn’t terrible either, but holy guacamole it was time consuming. While it was worth the effort (everyone was super impressed, so ‘Yay!’ for me and the hubby for helping!), I was pretty tired by the end of it, so I took a semi-break from crafting.

By semi-break, I mean I focused on cross stitching and embroidery instead of playing with all the other mediums (for the gift baskets, I had homemade snow globes, Christmas decorations, tealights, cake mixes, more cross stitches and things I can’t even remember right now). Here are a some of the mini-projects I completed*…

politics-xstitch

this-is-what-a-fem

…and it felt so good. Despite the flaws, creating for the sheer joy of creating felt so bloody good. My only real concern is what I’m supposed to do with all these projects once they are done…

I’ll leave you with this quote:

http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Quotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-Magic-37660037#photo-37660037
img src: popsugar.com

I hope you no matter what you are doing, you are able to get your craft on!

Amrita

xo

* for the feminism symbol, I found the pattern at:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cross_stitch_ninja/640184933

I found the original pattern for ‘This is what a feminist crafts like’ at http://guerillartfare.blogspot.com/2010/01/this-is-what-feminist-crafts-like-e.html

 

DIY scented soy tealights experiment #1

This probably stems from birthday celebrations, but I have always found candles absolutely magical.

cat-gif
any excuse for a cat gif… (gif src: giphy.com)

I also pray on a daily basis (we’ll save the religious talk for another day), so I usually light a candle/tealight daily as a part of my prayers. Other times, I just light a candle for the sake of it. Everything just seems a little quieter, calmer and magical (I know, I know, I already said that…). Lighting a candle always puts me in a good mood.

Trying to find good candles for an affordable price can be a difficult task. Cheaper candles (in my experience) tend to burn poorly and do not last very long. I’ve also had mixed experiences with scented budget friendly candles. I find there is either no scent or the scent can be too artificial. The pricier are ones are… well, pricey. Though admittedly, there are a few brands of candles that are definitely not cheap but smell too artificial…. maybe I am fussy about my scents…

With that in mind, I decided to have a go at making my own scented tealights. I’m hoping they eventually turn out well enough to give away as Christmas gifts.

Getting the initial items wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, but I did have a fair few things already. I bought my items via Amazon (FYI: I’m not an affiliate… well, not at the time of writing this anyway).

I used the following two instructions as a guide (from Joy at ‘Artful Homemaking’ here and from Melissa at ‘Soy Candle Making Time’ here).

Supplies*

supplies

*the following supplies will yield 4 tealights

  • tealight containers with wicks
  • 1 plastic drinking straw
  • soy wax flakes
  • something to stir with (I used an old wooden spoon)
  • mason jar (what I used to melt my wax in)
  • measuring jug (what I used to pour my wax with)
  • cooking pot
  • food scale
  • candy thermometer
  • peppermint essential oil

Instructions

  1. Weigh out your wax! As I’m experimenting, I decided it would be best to start with a small amount.measuring-the-wax
  2. Fill your pot about 1/4 of the way with water. Place mason jar with wax in the pot. I had the heat on med-low.melting-the-wax
  3. Stir wax occasionally, I waited until heat reached 140 degrees F (All guides advise to melt the wax up to 180 degrees F and then wait for it to cool to 140 degrees F before transferring, but I was a little bit excited, so I misread the instructions on two different guides!).checking-the-temp
  4.  My mason jar wasn’t practical for pouring, so I had to transfer to my glass measuring cup (which unfortunately isn’t supposed to be heated, which is why I didn’t melt the wax in it. If you have a pouring receptacle that you can melt the wax in, you should definitely use that!).melted-wax-before-pouring
  5. Add essential oil to wax. I wish I had read the instructions properly and could tell you exactly how much I used, but I just filled my pipette a few times and mixed the oil in. If I had to guess, I reckon I used a little under a teaspoon worth of essential oil.
  6. Pour wax into tealight container.after-pouring-and-pipette
  7. Instead of gluing my wicks in place, I dropped my wicks in place after pouring the wax and then used a drinking straw to place the wick in place. I’ve read somewhere (I can’t find/remember the source) that the hot wax can melt certain glues, and I’m not sure the glue I had would have withstood the heat of the wax.placing-the-wick
  8. This site advises that you should let scented soy candles cure for 24 hours, so that is what I did. 24 hours later, this is how they look…

after

 

I have had the tealight lit for approximately an hour (at time of writing this) and I’m disappointed about the scent. I get the occasional whiff of peppermint, and it seems a little stronger with time but it definitely isn’t as strong as I would like or expected. I’m happy with the essential oil itself, I think the issue was that I didn’t use enough 😦 . On the plus side, the wick appears to be staying in place without being glued in, and it is burning at a good pace.

I couldn’t take a good picture of it (so gave up), but there is a very slight frosting on the surface of the tealights. Candle Science (the brand of my wax) has these helpful tips to reduce frosting on soy candles, advice I’ll definitely follow for the next batch of tealights I make.

Overall, I’ve quite enjoyed making the tealights and can see this growing into a full blown hobby. Aesthetically I’m happy with the outcome, but really wish the fragrance was stronger. I guess I have learned a valuable lesson: read the instructions carefully!

Let me know if you have a go at making these! Also, if you have experience in making your own candles and have any tips/advice, please leave a comment. I would greatly appreciate it!

Until next time,

Amrita

xo

 

 

 

DIY Advent Calendar

Hello Beauties,

My gorgeous Mum said that you shouldn’t celebrate/decorate for Christmas until December 1st (now that I think about it, I’m not exactly sure why). As a Brit living in the USA, it’s been hard not to break out the Christmas decorations straight after Thanksgiving (especially seeing a lot of my neighbors apparently don’t know about my Mum’s rule and have started decorating for Christmas).

However…

…it’s now December 1st. I CAN FINALLY START CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS!

christmas-excited-elf
(img src: giphy.com)

I will forever associate Christmas festivities officially starting with the opening of an advent calendar door. My parents bought me one each year (even as an adult), and December was the only month where my parents let my siblings and I start our mornings off with a small piece of chocolate (the typical gift in the advent calendars I got).

I’m not sure if advent calendars are a part of the Christmas tradition in the USA (my American husband said he didn’t have advent calendars as a child). To be honest, I haven’t looked into it a great deal, but it feels back in the UK, they are available pretty much everywhere (maybe I just haven’t been shopping at the right places here?). However, not being able to buy one in-store has worked out well for me. My love of all things crafty and obsession with Pinterest has inspired me to try making my own.

I came across this Buzzfeed list which inspired me to no end, but I finally on settled on making one inspired by #31 on the list (by Jenn from Ruffled Sunshine), largely because I realized I had already had items to make a similar looking calendar, but also because it is freaking adorable looking.You can see the instructions for making her advent calendar here.

In total, I think I technically spent around the $10 (USD) mark making the advent calendar. It felt ‘free’ because I already had the items at home, with the exception of the Hershey’s kisses which I bought from Walmart for around $2.

Anyhow, these are the items I used to make my very own advent calendar:

  • mini craft bags (mini envelopes would work too)
  • mini pegs
  • Christmas wire
  • sellotape
  • black marker
  • scissors
  • Hershey’s Christmas kisses

Instructions:

Ease of project: SUPER easy

  1. Number your craft bags! (note: I don’t have a printer at home (I know, I know…), so I drew on the numbers by hand. If you have a printer or have a talent for calligraphy, your finished product will have a much more polished look than mine does. Stencils/sticker will work too!)
  2. Put desired ‘treat’ in bag.
  3. Cut wire to the desired length.
  4. Stick wire on wall with tape.
  5. Peg craft bag on wire (note: in order for better support), I taped the wire in between the bags too).
  6. Decorate around the space as desired.
  7. Marvel at how easily you just completed that.

…and here is the end result!

img_5339-2

It is my first crafty project this Christmas season, and I’m rather proud of it! I’m nowhere done with decorating for the holidays, but good golly, I’m feeling the festive spirit!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas season!

Amrita

xo