Monday, December 27, 2010

Experiments with random materials : Lippan Kaam

This year around we have had the fortunate chance to experiment a lot with some projects. Mostly they are experiments with materials, printing and paper that I have already shared in my previous posts.

This one is a fresh arrival at the studio and I am excited to share it here.

For a project we wanted to replicate a particular motif rendered in Lippan Kaam : Mud work from the walls of Kutch, Gujarat, India.

This work is actually created on the walls with a clay and dung mixture, motifs are created in bas-relief mostly freehand by memory by using palms and fingers pinching and shaping the mud mixture. The white comes from the sand of this marshland that is rich in salt content. The motifs are inspired from the rich and famous embroidery patterns and once the walls are done they look stunning with mirrors embedded in the mudwork, much like the embroideries itself.

And as much I was aware of the painstaking effort in creating these from my last visit to this breathtakingly beautiful place, where would one find the exact materials here in a city like Mumbai?

And so we did this little experiment...

On a ply-board we pasted a basic outline in a black and white print of what we wanted. Then carefully pasted a white chord (used to hold pyjamas) along this outline. Even though it seemed rather simple till then, it was tricky to get the intricate bits correct. For this reason we had to alter the design several times over.

Once this was ready, we made a mixture of plaster-of-paris and glue with water to pour over this basic framework. Getting the right viscosity here was important as we tried on a small patch first. Too thick would fill up the spaces and the chords would not stand out in relief and if too thin the POP would crack instantly. After pouring the mixture over, we still had to shape it with what we could get our hands on, but mostly very patiently with fingers. And then, wait for it to dry and settle.

Did think of sticking mirrors in the mud work but realised it would never show up in print correctly. So I left this issue to be dealt with at a later stage.

Even though the original art is an all white and a simple play of textures and relief work we tried giving some colour to it on Photoshop and were happy with the results.

Once we were done touching up our artwork the issue of replicating mirrors popped again. We succeeded in resolving this issue by using highly reflective silver foiling in the areas...and viola! It looks authentic as and stunning!

Can't wait to share the rest of this project. Shall do in another post real soon.


nikheel said...

I like it very much.
Waiting for a next detailed post.

Lalit said...

So much thought has gone into making of this calander. It has given new meaning to Indian art.This work is very impressive.