Tuesday, 7 February 2012

BuDa workshop -Part III-Behind the Scenes

The BuDa Folklore quilting workshop was so fun and I couldn't not share it with my other quilting and non-quilting friends.
 WARNING : The following post is over-running with pics. If you do not like pictures of crazy random people doing crazy random things, stop reading HERE

1.Day 1: Thats me, waiting to meet up Suzanna, another participant, after fixing up (over phonecalls) with her for a car ride to the venue. Its amazing how many people will stop and ask you for directions even when you look very much a stranger to the parts, with your baggage strewn around you!!

2.We, Suzanna and I, the enthu-cutlets (over-enthusiastic people, in local lingo) that we were, reached an hour early. The minute Savita, our host, showed us the guestroom (MY room!), we were in love with it. We set the camera on timer and practically jumped onto the bed/quilt. First shot - I didn't quite get there on time..

3.Second shot - We were laughing so hard with childish glee, we couldn't get a proper shot..

4.Suzanna took pity on me and offered to take a decent shot of me in MY room :-). I think I made a friend for life in that moment! See the gorgeous quilt on MY bed?

5.Since we reached early, Suzanna and I offered to help with the pictures that Savita wanted to display of last year's workshop.

6. Carol, we had a great time looking at your pics!

7.Thats Nirmala-akka getting ready for the workshop. Ten minutes of polite smiling and then we started sign language conversations :-). Didn't stop till we waved goodbye 3 days later!

8.All of us chose a spot in the spacious hall and hung onto every word of Savita's introduction..

9.And when we chose a spot, we really really chose a spot! Like li'l doggies, we refused to move our butts from our sweet spots :-)

10.See what I mean? A li'l lifting of the butt maybe, but shifting?, No ma'am!

And so the workshop began. We got by with a smattering of languages, wild hand gesturing, some helpful translations by Savita and Rekha (another participant), but mostly with show-and-tell and lots of laughter.

11.Day 2: Nirmala-akka must have realized we were too attached(!) to our spots, so she came around to each participant, gently correcting and guiding us..  

12.No, regardless of how it looks, Nirmala-akka is NOT trying to hit me out of frustration at our slow pace and awkward stitching. She's pointing out how the corners of the quilts need to be reinforced with diagonal back stitches..

13.Like so...

14.She also taught us to waste not a single inch of fabric...

15....Or thread..

16.She taught us how to sit on the floor and since no frames are used, how to  anchor the quilt WIP with our feet/toes/thighs,knees,butt. Thats Mridula, who 'sat' best :-)...

17.She also taught us to run the needle periodically thru our hair, so it jabs thru the quilt layers better. It actually works! (Go figure!) Thats Suzanna, who 'looked-the-part' best..

18.Lunch times were always fun. It would be pot luck and we'd sit around this delightful pool of fish and strange flowers, swapping home-made food and stories...

19.Savita, the ever-gracious host, would keep us happy and hydrated with multiple cups of tea. And Bhargavi, also of Buda Folklore (Bless her!), came up with this great idea of making us a caramel pudding in Savita's kitchen..

20.The pudding was excellent and was polished off in no time. Though Bhargavi was not very happy with how it looked (!), the unanimous decision was that the ONLY way it could've been any better was if there was more of it ! :-)

21.And so we sewed...Here's a mother-daughter duo - Mridula(on the right) and her mom, Raji..

22.Even Li'l Avanti (Mridula's daughter, who tagged along as school was closed that day), seemed to have caught the sewing bug. She made garlands by stringing bits of scrap together.

23.By the end of the day, my back had given up and I moved to Savita's kitchen counter..

24.It is a good idea to periodically turn your work over to take a took at the back..heh heh..

25.Day 3: Last day. Tension mounts. We are worried if we can finish our quilts. Everybody is sewing furiously (except Suzanna, who would get up and wander about every once in a while, sipping water and shooting stuff with her phone. She has a very good eye for composing shots.)

26.It was upto Nirmala-akka with her eyes always dancing with mischief to break the tension by good-naturedly poking fun at our stiching and gently prodding us on! Every once in a while she would offer to do a few stitches for us, saying the poor quilts were complaining of pain at our clumsiness :-)

27.Not everybody looked tense. Here's Raji at her usual spot, sitting very elegantly as always, and sewing away...

28.And here's me, at MY sweet spot, sewing away..(I still havent quite got the knack of anchoring the quilt using my body parts!)

29.As our quilts neared completion, Nirmala-akka explained to us the quaint custom of feeding the quilt. The quilt is going to be a much-loved part of the family, and before closing its mouth (sewing the last piece down), it is to be fed something. All of us assumed it was a symbolic offering and so, Suzanna, who finished first, settled on a freshly harvested papaya to feed her quilt..

30.Turns out, the quilt needs to be ACTUALLY stuffed with a small bit of food so it may never go hungry!! When Nirmala-akka heard of Suzanna's papaya she burst into laughter and I think all of us are scarred for life - everytime we see a papaya we are going to be thinking of Sue's quilt pregnant with papaya!! Anyways, she fed her quilt a small bit of chappatti and closed the mouth with great reverence , before going off to shoot her favourite motifs from Nirmala-akka's quilts..

31.Speaking of motifs, here's one of my favourites..the 'aama' (turtle)..

32...And another one...the 'Champions' (champions!)

33.Mridula's quilt is fed by her daughter, Avanti...

34..and Raji's quilt is fed by HER daugter, Mridula...



37.Rekha's turn at feeding her quilt...

38.And then mine...I fed it a small bit of chappatti..

39.But Nirmala-akka is not happy with that. Says the quilt is still hungry!! So she places a grain of cooked rice on my finger tips..

40...and guides my hand deep into the quilt's belly!! :-)

41..before closing its mouth. Did anybody notice I used some cheater fabric to give the impression of more scrappiness?..

42.And then Savita brought out this HUGE quilt of Nirmala-akka's and our eyes nearly popped out at its beauty. Sue couldn't resist it and HAD to dive under it to get a 'feel' of (quilting) it..I told you she looks the part!

43.Of course, the rest of us couldn't let her get away with that! So we dove in too!!

44.Workshop's over..quilts are done..

45.We say goodbye to Savita and Nirmala-akka with hopes of meeting again..

Whoa, thats 45 photographs!! I'm sorry folks, but I can't resist this unique opportunity to make it a 50-pic-post, so I shall go ahead and post some pics of motifs!

46.Krishnar thottil (Krishna's cradle)

47.The beehive

48.Ther (Temple charriot)

49.Balli (Creeper)

50.Bharat jhanda (Indian national flag)

I have numbered the pics so its easy to comment on a specific one, should anybody like to :-).

I'm done. So is my back.
Jai Hind!!


  1. Really enjoy reading this posting! I don't know what else to say :) cool workshop, I hope I can join the workshop next time...I have a question, about feeding the quilt :D after some time the food will damage right? and what if it causes fungus on the quilt? *silly question but I really wonder about it* thanks for sharing your experience :)

  2. Awesome! I'm NOT going to miss the next one at any cost!

  3. wow...that was an amazing post Tina...thank you for sharing this awesome pictures...felt like we were also a part of it...I hope me too can attend this workshop one day...

  4. superb tina.....u deserve a special hug....nd hats off to nirmala akka.....

  5. Really enjoyed this series on Buda Workshop.Beautiful beautiful work. Will the food not spoil in the quilt? I wonder. Oh someone already asked that !:)

  6. wonderful post Tina..love every single picture!!!!I hope they will have another workshop cos I'd love to join too. The feeding quilt part was really unique:) first time I heard about this..:D

  7. Hi, Tina. Wow! this is really interesting. Thanks for sharing this!
    best, nadia

  8. What a nice blog you have!
    My compliments!
    (I came here by the link at Annemieke's blog.)

    Thanks for sharing, this wonderful post. It is quite different than we used to do.

    have a nive day,

  9. What fun! This is the epitome of modern quilting! Love the randomness of color, design and technique and yet how everything fits together so beautifully! When you find the time you should point to this post from the various modern quilting sites on FB. Lovely pictures too and notice how everyone is all smiles in spite of having more than one female in the kitchen :)

  10. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. It looks like an amazing experience and very unique from a cultural perspective. I love how Nirmala-akka connects with the quilts - recognizing their hunger and pain. I've never viewed a quilt from that perspective, but I'm sure mine are constantly complaining of the pain associated with my clumsiness and seam ripper!

  11. Thanks a lot for giving us a detailed information ....Lovely quilts made by all ....It was so colourful and Beautiful...