Wednesday 25 January 2012

The Lull Before the Storm...

My new-improved, doggie-story has now gone off to the publisher (cross fingers...). I probably won't hear anything for a week or so at least. I am still waiting for my other publisher to send me the suggested page layouts for the next book I'm to start work on any day now: between us, we have to tame all the work I did last year and squeeze it into a 32 page picture book! 

It's weird having a lull just before you know you are about to be really busy. I have a couple of events later this week, but school visits won't really kick off until next month, so John and I have been going through all the bookings I've got coming up, making sure timetables are all resolved and trains are all booked.

I'm also using this pocket of time to write down another idea that's been knocking around in my head, about a koala, but that's way too new to share for now.

What I can share though, are some more pages from my Kerala sketchbooks: I've at last got time to do more scanning

These drawings were all done in Tellicherry. We were taken to visit the obligatory fabric shop, but first, to my delight, we were shown the weaving and spinning sheds where the fabrics were created. It was like Northern England before the Industrial Revolution, except the hand-operated, wooden looms were all operated by women in beautiful saris. The low-ceilinged room clacked and banged noisily with the sound of wood on wood.

In a neighbouring, smaller room, women sat on wooden stools, spinning:

I showed each sketch to the women I drew, getting their names, and briefly stopped production in my corner of the factory, as everyone wanted a look and pass the book around. We bought John a lovely, brilliant orange, linen shirt before we left.

When the guide said he was taking us to a 'beedi' factory next, I expected beaded jewelry (and inwardly yawned). But it turns out a beedi is a kind of cigarette, and the 'factory' was very interesting indeed. In a big wooden building, long rows of women sat with trays on their laps, twisting tobacco into dried Ebony leaves, which they clipped into an appropriate rectangle shape with scissors. On our way out, the woman in the office saw my drawing, and gave me some freebies - shame I don't smoke!

The sketch at the top is in town - I stood by the side of the road and soon drew a considerable crowd. They all watched quietly and even shooed away a beggar. After a while I stopped worrying about my handbag hanging at my side - I knew they'd give short-shrift to any pickpocket. I really loved the people of Kerala who were always positive, interested and helpful and I never, ever felt threatened by crowds.

Just to finish (and to make you feel as jealous as possible), this is the view from the house where we stayed with a family in Tellicherry. Horrible eh?


Julie Clay Illustration said...

Oh yes, that looks horrible.... I could do horrible I reckon :)
I love the leaves at the top of this sketch, how lovely to sit and watch dolphins, sigh........

Caroline said...

Looks a super spot to relax! Great sketches - am always amazed you find the time to draw so prolifically whilst you're out and about!

Unknown said...

Definitely a horrible view. Jealous!

Love all the sketches. You have captured the vibrancy of these Indian women and their work so well.

Unknown said...

Oh goodie, another book about koalas! You are hereby an honorary ambassador for Australian fauna. Happy 2012 Lynne from your fans Down-Under.