Being immersed in all the beauty that is in India, “Perception” took form in a fusion of opposing juxtaposition. All the ideas of the way Indian people see westerners and the way we view them. It’s only human nature to have preconceived notions and it is natural to make initial judgements based on these, it is all part of an evolution to expand our opinions in the way we see others. The way I viewed Indian women changed, I suppose I always viewed them as bystanders in life with a rather meek disposition, an image of them being hidden away had always resonated. Though after meeting a few strong Indian woman in small villages in passing, or a woman named Shashi who taught me more than a few things, shared her incredible journey, as well as all the wonderful ladies of the Ojjas textile company. There is beauty in the tradition of the general conservative nature in the culture, especially coming from a place like New York where we have become desensitized by everything.
The three designs of the Perception collection centers on different aspects of perception and the energy that follows, Design one, “In your eyes” is rather literal with motifs of an Indian woman with Henna hands that flows seamlessly into the next, as Indian women all dress with a cohesion of symmetry in lines. Design two, “All Seeing” was influenced by how many eye shaped motifs I saw all over India, the idea of the pupil and iris being made from a flower symbolizes the beauty being in the eye of the beholder and that not everything is as it seems. Lastly, Design three, “5 Chakras” combines elements of henna, eyes, and the hamsa. Hamsa literally translates to five; a symbol that both Hindus and Buddhists believe symbolizes energy flow in to the body, the five senses, the mudras that effect them all, and the five fingers on the hand that use the ‘mudra’ spiritual hand gesture that is an energetic seal on authenticity.
The designs are a combination of hand sketched motifs I created while still on Rajasthani soil, as well as digitally drawn additions I finished back in New York, while the background textures are all completely taken from the mud resist designs I created with wood blocks and natural dyes during the Ojjas workshop, I wanted to balance elements from India and from how I normally design. I scanned in parts of the fabric samples and scarfs, then edited them digitally. For color I want a balance of colors that felt earthy and livable, while simultaneously vibrant and reflective of the beautiful color palettes all over this breath-taking country. I wanted to combine my favored method of pencil sketches combined with digital, while also combining a new element of the traditional mud resist techniques to add to element of westernized and traditional standards working beautifully in unison.
Traveling through India, and travel in general is so important as a designer. We all live in our own personal bubbles, and it is so important to see past those walls, as well occasionally having that bubble burst, to have your world or your perception shaken up.