Monday, May 12, 2014

The quilt tells a story.....Palash

A quilt tells a story…….

A picture is worth a thousand words - so the saying goes. In definition, this refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. It also aptly characterizes one of the main goals of visualization, namely making it possible to encompass large amounts of data in one single image. For me, the true beauty of it lies in the fact that a picture can contain a thousand memories. Each element can bring to mind a mirage of memories – one instigating another, pushing the mind to spaces one assumed were long forgotten.

In my family, we take pictures perpetually – of holidays, of time spent together, of food, of festivities, of our home/s. We are spread across the world and this is how we keep in touch, we keep each other in close proximity to our lives, we share, and we miss.

After 40 long years of living in Kolkata, my husband and I have finally retired and have moved to the South. While packing up the contents of our photograph cupboard, I came across a picture of the palash tree. It was an instant travel back in time to the day we took the picture – my husband was playing golf at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club one early morning, and I had decided to walk the course with him. In West Bengal, the palash flower is a symbol of spring. And there it was - all a-bloom in its flaming splendor - a tree with its vibrant red splashed amidst all that green. It was like a loud proclamation of the season’s arrival, proudly standing out amongst the rest of its leafy counterparts. I can still recall the feeling of quiet awe, and complete amazement as we stood there, taking it all in.

Palash – Flame of the Forest – will always symbolize Bengal and home for me. It will always be an instant connect to Kolkata, to the auspicious red, the pujos, the smells, the language, the spirit of home.

When confronted with choosing a subject for the Alps Quilting Competition 2014, the first online quilting competition in India, this seemed like the most apt image to capture. These past few weeks while I’ve sat in my new home in Bangalore, working, piecing together this quilt, I have walked the course at RCGC once again, relived spring in Bengal, and remembered my roots – and a city that will always be home.

I used the piecing technique I had learnt in Chaing Mai under Karen Sengel who was a student of Ruth McDowell. It was the first time I had actually practiced the technique since I had made the original Rooster.
Some pictures of the process

And details of the quilting  I used free motion quilting for the first time and was delighted with the experience!

I made it through the first round, but not the final one. No disappointment though as I had loved every moment of making this quilt.


  1. Gorgeous colors & so vibrant.. Can't wait to begin on my new passion of quilting. Back in India & learnt d basics of quilting in Kuwait.. Hope to find other quilters like u here in Mumbai

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