Sunday, August 12, 2012

Of Maharajas & Messiness

We bought our house just over a year ago.  In that time we've added on a bedroom with a bathroom + walk-in closet + screened-in porch, and now we've just redone our kitchen (it was finished when we got back from Spain). Oh, and that is the royal we--the Roommate & I do the selecting & designing, others with actual handyperson skills do the work!  

And now the Roommate is painting the living room.  So this is what my cutting table has looked like since late May.  It's a gateleg table, so the part with the cutting board on it folds down.  The stuff in the back?!  Hopefully it will get put away sometime today, as the paint dries in the living room and we get our buffet back together...

On a less messy note, we went to see the Maharaja exhibition at the VA Museum of Fine Art (in Richmond), which ends 8/19/12.  (Hurry!)  It was great; really fun.  

It's especially interesting to us because this man, Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, features heavily in the exhibit, because he was a maharaja well-known for his exquisite taste in gemstones & jewelry, & he placed the biggest order Cartier has ever received!  Oh and the second biggest, too!  And he's the grandfather of a friend of ours!  All those jewels you see in this photo (the strings of diamonds, the strings of pearls, the rubies & emeralds)...they are all real.  And his granddaughter, Joey, designs jewelry; guess where she gets her ideas? But you can afford these treasures! Manjusha Jewels

Of course I was interested in the clothing too, and managed to snap a photo before I remembered NO photography.  It's a bridal gown, embroidered with gold thread & pearls & weighs about 25 lbs.  Fortunately, back then, Indian wedding ceremonies had the bride sitting for most of the time!

I learned about some interesting techniques, too, which I'd never heard of. First, the thousand-head manner of holding various layers of fabric together with tiny gold-colored tacks.  The head of these tacks was about the size of a sewing pin.  Thousands of them were needed to keep the fabric together.  I couldn't handle the fabric, of course, and there wasn't any in the museum shop, so I'll have to do some additional research on this technique.

Another interesting technique is after embroidering paisleys in a staggered pattern all over a fine cashmere gown, thin hot irons were pressed to it to slightly melt the wool of the cashmere & make a fine grid that surrounded each paisley.  I'd never heard of that one, either.  That was a Kashmiri technique.  

Oh, and the messiness?  Not cleaned up or put away...traffic between our house & Richmond is notoriously awful and we spent a lot of our day driving.  

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