An Indian Summer

My travels in India have been over several journeys.

From arriving in Delhi before dawn broke one morning when I was just 21 (and then eating delicious fresh black morel mushrooms for lunch!), to a trip to the races in Calcutta presenting the Queen Elizabth II cup.

Planting 6km of mangroves to help with a climate change project in the Sunderbans (and never seeing a tiger), to sketching jewels from the terrace of the Mehrangarh fort. Going on camel rides in the Thar desert (shivering in my tent at night under the stars), to watching the waves roll on to the shore at Kerala.

I loved the vivid colours, the swathes of silk that blew up in the wind over your face, the jewels that dangled and jingled, sparkling in the sunlight, on every woman of any age at any time of day. I loved their elegance, their movements even for daily chores, bending down so gracefully to sweep the floor or standing to plait up their ebony hair with their delicate, dexterous fingers.

I admired in awe the architecture from the Taj Mahal - inside the mosque adjacent to the great Taj Mahal there is a ceiling pattern high up in the apex of the roof, which caught my eye.

A complex geometrical radiating pattern created from intersecting arcs. In the roof of the mosque this pattern is transformed into ribbon like lattices. Opulent and grandiose to the eye - as befits this monument to great love - the Taj Mahal and its mosques were built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

To the palaces of the Raj to the Havelis of the merchants in Jodhpur. The merchants house or Haveli sit in the market below the Mehrangargh fort in Jodhpur. I had been admiring some intricate paisley patterns on fabrics over the last few days in the market there and began sketching what was to become my Haveli necklace and earrings. Almost filigree in style the large open ovals echo the ornate Indian designs that have a lightness about them, and the twisted wire of the detail contrasts well with the polished edges.

My sketch books were over flowing from every trip.

There will always be more to see, there is always another journey in India...

Return to Journal