tyler and her frame...

01.02.13 | day 6 building community ii

The first installment of today’s blog is written by Di Lu, a recent Melbourne University graduate from Beijing, who joined us yesterday:

This is the sixth day of the workshop, while for me it’s the second, but I’m already quite impressed by what we had done so far and the amazing people I came across. Today began with the fun jumping into the mud hill we made yesterday, in order to fully mixed it. We just take off socks and stand by the hill, trying to wet the outer by hand and let the water resolved. After a while, everyone just step in to the middle, and fully mixed the mud. It’s so much fun and I guess the steps would even made to a dance. It’s said this is how the community builds houses, even in a larger scale, and they would split into groups. No doubt the building process will bound people together, as they understand every steps, also enjoy and share the joy along the way. After a few round of stepping, it finally well mixed with good consistency, and formed the dome structure which we did in smaller scale before. In the end, we left our hand print on it, marking our work and leaving it for tomorrow.

The second part of the day started from shopping in Bhogal market, looking into bamboo mat and weaving techniques. It’s one of the biggest market in Delhi, as Kritika said. The atmosphere made me miss the old morning market in Beijing, which is getting rigid and cold nowadays. The stores are all different and they specialise on different things, like chain store, planting store. We were mainly looking for the bamboos. The way they display and move the bamboos was quite amazing: the very long one in the basement just moved out through a tiny window on the top. Well, in general I’m just so happy to see these bamboos in market. We got pattern bamboo, beautiful as it is. We also got some mesh for testing as reinforcement within wall, strings and sample mats of weaving, including basket. The really fun part began from when we got back to BCL, with two craftsmen specialised in weaving bed. They showed us how to do a weaving from making a knot on the frame. They move too fast, I almost click my camera every 10 seconds to catch their steps. We are fast learners, and sooner we got several patterns going on, like big phool, small flower and shakal pasa. What interesting is, the string could go on to both sides of the frame, where pattern could be different. There’s another small pattern called zanzira, where happened on the sides. The pattern was getting very compact, and I’m sure it’s good to sit on. Tyler was trying to draw all of them in the end, well, I can tell it’s hard.

Meanwhile… Clem and Vishank headed South of Delhi, to pick up pots from one of the Nizamabad potters, Ramjatan. Here’s an account of their adventure, written by Vishank:

Why are expectations so different from what actually happens? The potters from Nizamabad, were supposed to give our order of pottery today. They are exhibiting their rare talent and products from their exquisite clayey earth in one of the biggest crafts carnival held in outskirts of Delhi called the ‘Surajkund Mela’. This is the same crafts carnival referred by Mr Mishra on the first day as being his brain child. So Clem and I reach Surajkund after a number of stops on the way. We were expecting to collect our ordered pottery, pay its price and head back. But we needed to come inside the carnival to collect the pots from the stall,  so passing by camels, and Bollywood cops decked out in aviators, we finally reached – after a number of trials about directions – stall number 677.

Although they had some cracked or broken pots which we’ll be using in the mock-up as a construction material, they didn’t have any unfired pots ready. So Ramjatan has agreed to come and make them for us at the UnBox venue, during our event there on the 8th (which is actually perfect!) Clem, after a lot of calculations and phone calls started picking up each pot which met her requirements. For example being black and bulky, so that it looks nice and covers a lot of volume: the idea is to set up the local work environment of Nizamabad in the exhibition. We met Anand, son of the main guy (Ramjatan) and his best friend Sandeep…who were so full of energy, asking me again and again to tell Clem to teach them English, come to their village again and ask her if she liked the ‘pakoras’  they had served her when she first visited the village last month. So overall it was worth it! The mud plaster walls,  wooden shacks, thatched roof, Indian crafts and art at the carnival were all some sort of inspiration for our workshop.