Patterns, tessellated, hexagonal, stars.
Sun gate, moon gate, lion’s gate, more.
Blessing, anointing, flower petals, pattern again.
Filth, poverty, caste, oppression, freedom, slavery.
Chanting, prayer, empty, full, covered, uncovered,
I returned from a magical trip to India over a month ago. It’s taken this long for my mind and body to recover. Sue Stover and Michelle Fletcher put together an appropriately named trip: The Art of Travel…Inspired Journey to India. (And yes, this is the same Sue Stover that will be guest artist here at Studio Joy this May.) Not only was their behind-the-scenes planning evident, but we had an unusual group of people, few who knew each other, who got along better than family. We all enjoyed being together for this journey.
Not only did we visit and learn from local artisans and from Sue Stover, we also took wild rides through the city, ate one delicious meal after another, and watched the moon grow from a sliver crescent to its fullness.
I had a special companion on this trip, my partner in life, Scott. He came along on this trip not knowing what to expect. He was one of the few men along.
While he joined in on all the fun, he also was in his own groove of creating art. He took perhaps the best photos of his life while we were there. I’m utterly blown away by what he captured, and the story he has created through his photography.
He posted many of the photos on Facebook and soon had suggestions of compiling a book. That is happening. We also wanted a way to return some love to India from this project, so devised a scheme. This is what we’ve put together:
The book Scott has compiled is about 100 pages, softcover. Our friends, Buck and John, who actually know how to create a book, have offered to help with this project as well. We are utilizing Kickstarter to determine how many books to order. All excess funds from the Kickstarter Project (net profit) will be sent to support the elementary school in the hometown (near Jaipur) of our fabulous guide and dear friend, Richi Gurjar. We will also be sending books to Richi to distribute to many of the people in the photos, like our tuk tuk driver, G2.
I’m still processing the trip, how exposure to the caste system has affected my heart, how in love I fell with the beautiful ritual of daily life, how shocked I am at the little pay received for artisan work. I’d like to invite you further into our story with Scott’s book. Get one for yourself, or as a gift. Before you open the pages, open your heart to humanity and our oneness.
Besides this country reaching deep down inside our souls causing great introspection, we just had plain fun.
Spending time with the locals was one of my favorite things. They taught me things with joy, like how to balance a large bowl of vegetables on my head. I couldn’t quite go hands free.
I wish you could smell my journal from India. It smells like magic.