Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Keralan jungle

Whoa.. It's been a while. I just got back to Mysore from a lovely week spent in Kerala working with Balan the goldsmith. He made me 7 beautiful handmade (from scratch) chains. I have already sold 3 of them, but if you are interested. Let me know, I can give you the details and save one for you.

Kerala is a magical land, tropical, hot, laid back. The family I work with is so sweet and kind, they do everything from their home. Balan works outside on his veranda, his wife and two adult daughters work around the home, Granny sits and keeps herself busy playing with all the children who come by. It's quiet, it's a slow paced life, but also very simple. I love it. I love being there and realizing my crazy life in the US is not the only way to be. They eat from their land, cashews, mango, jackfruit, tamarind. They work hard and love each other. It's amazing.

Balan has been teaching me Indian goldsmithing for two years now. I have spent about one month with him over that time learning from him and custom ordering pieces, paying him a fair wage for his hard work. Every day, he works 11 hours making very little money.

Here are some photos from the visit. I will post more in the next few days.

Chains, unfinished, just out of the fire
rings (made in Mysore with Kumar) star ruby
Balan polishing chains with a seed from his tree
me polishing chains with a seed from his tree
me holding a fresh cashew which we smoldering in a fire of palm fronds and then ate..

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