Coming from a family of potters and working with my hands brings a healing touch to my mental, emotional and physical being. I have grown up away from my home town, as my father came and settled in the city of Ahmedabad after I was born. So I never got the opportunity or atmosphere of working with clay. Handling the textile threads and seeing the design emerge, as a form beneath my fingers gives me a sense of comfort.
As a child, I went to my parent's hometown in the village and saw my grandparents working with clay to make utensils. Considerable skill, hard work and patience are required with operations taking several days to make one pot or a vessel, and this is the place where I learned that to attain a certain degree of expertise in any technique you need to patiently experiment to create successful shapes and forms.
My overriding interest in manipulating threads led me towards many textile crafts. I have always been keen to discover how textiles are made, to learn about their history and origins. I gradually develop an idea in constructing a piece of my work by adding an extra third dimension to the technique. I have worked with several non-loom techniques (braiding, crochet etc) and surface ornamentations (embroidery, painting) shortly I will be experimenting on my tabletop sample loom.
My first Ply-split Braiding break came in on 26th Jan 1996, this one inspirational afternoon Mr. Errol Pires (Faculty with NID) taught me ply-split, creating something totally new and innovative. Since then I have been continuously experimenting with different structures and shapes. This technique, using commercial cotton cords as medium ply-split, offers endless opportunities for innovation in technique as well as certainty of being surprised by the unexpected results like belts, garments, utensils etc. My boundless fascination for clay vessels has inspired me to make the award-winning lamp, (lower right from a private collection), exhibited at the SPLITERATI 01 the reunion.
After creating a piece; I get a feeling of achievement and personal worth. My works presented here are those that I think are successful pieces and are worth sharing. They have been done over the last few years and I continue to explore several techniques even today.
Pallavi Varia can be reached by e-mail.