...'Tinselling Shahrazad' was a wonderful Play class at the end of the year. Shahrazad is of course the star of the show, the fictional play of the 1001 Nights in my head. So we made her into a vintage movie poster and decorated her with sequins (allowed) and glitter (now banned). It was so fun and I'll run a few more Tinselling Play classes interspersed throughout the year again with different characters and ONLY sequins. I also used something called Angelina which my mama had stashed in her box of beautiful things from long ago...
...does anyone else have boxes of bits and bobs, spangly bits, decorative bits that can go anywhere and are boxes of possibilities? These kinds of collections make me dream...
…as if I am floating in castles in the air. Castles in the Sky is a painting in Carpet Pages V: Code, this year's Carpet Pages show along with some amazing artists who have done brilliant things with QR codes. I just painted one!
This year’s Carpet Pages V: Code show is made up of artworks that all include a QR code. The works exist across physical and virtual space and are scattered in both the physical and digital world, and are united in the virtual. Anybody anywhere who sees the physical artwork, wherever it exists in the world - in other shows, in artists' studios, hosted across other artists' websites - scans the QR code which takes them to this website where they can see both the originating artwork as well as encounter other artworks. The one leads to the many. There are painters, filmmakers, a cross stitcher, a Lego mosaic maker, a miniaturist and a calligrapher. Scanning the QR code embedded in each dispersed artwork takes visitors on a marginal jump into virtual space, hosted here, where you can see both the originating artwork as well as other artworks spread out in a digital carpet which both exists and doesn’t exist at the same time.
Zeros and onesAnd wool once it’s spunSitting pretty on warp and weftIn a carpet we findReal and virtual alignedYet separate, the two ways are cleftFrom country to cityThis art by committeeSpans a great distance vastQR works in the world In the rug lie unfurledThe internet gets you there fastReal and virtual swappingAnd binary-craft hoppingOn and offline states in a flowTangible artA digital chartOf QR codes all in a row...ArtistsJumana Emil AbboudSusan CollinsJasmir CreedRobert MeadCaspian PrazmariVaishali PrazmariSamiur RahmanAlexa SeligmanXanthe Seligman CarrNastassja SimenskyYein SonAndrew Stahl...
...visit the project here: https://www.carpetpages.com And speaking of shows, please do also visit the End of Year Student Show 2022, Painted Ladies, here: https://www.vaishaliprazmariteaching.com and enjoy the beautiful works of Anastasia Doran, Nadia Khan and Roxana Miraz who painted enchanting night scenes.A beautiful series featuring and painting women. We painted gentle ladies and furious goddesses, girls having fun on swings, combing their long and beautiful hair, thinking and gazing, running from the monsoon, sniffing flowers, waiting for lovers and scattering fireworks. There are actual portraits of known ladies: princesses like Jahanara and the Turquoise Lady. Here we present a small and pristine collection of women with a focus on the night.
Two strong and calmly profiled Jahanaras balance the wild energy of the two face-forward Kalis. The summer monsoon waves are shaped by a goddess on a fish. Those long and bright summer nights lead to autumnal balmy nights where girls were waiting, thinking, gazing in the distance. Two sitting Nayikas in the forest waiting for their lovers, and solitary thoughtful ladies at night under the wintry ink-black sky with stars...
..and the book arts continued at The British Library with my lovely husband Patrik. We pored over book covers and I was happy to be able to recognise goat leather versus other leather thanks to his teaching. We will be teaching as a husband and wife team together next year: classes in Islamic book covers. 2023 is coincidentally going to be my own Year of the Book too...
...a smile of recognition as one craftsman connects to another over the centuries. Please note his fancy glasses. I know he would want me to point them out. They are really very fancy and handmade by another craftsperson...
…and I enjoyed turning the pages in real life and allowing the gold dots - not just ornaments but memory aids, remember, as per my research - to shine in the light. I'll do a more detailed post on our research over at the Miniature Painting Forum to avoid clogging up your inbox. I also loved confirming that the paper they used was thin. I love thin papers and paint on them myself...
And I'm really happy to announce the new TALES classes for 2023! Borne from a desire to present a truly comprehensive picture of all miniature painting, and emerging from my latest ongoing research into the world of the 1001 Arabian Nights, these classes are like a cabinet of curiosities for miniature painting. The TALES classes comprise 3 strands: Objects and Ingenious Devices, Natural Marvels and Wonders and Characterless Characters.
If, like me, you find stories and marvels irresistible, join me in painting a collection of marvels, wonders, everyday objects, theatrical devices, mechanical ingenuity, strangenesses and curios… in short, THINGS that are in stories and paintings and that are not easily defined as animal, vegetable or mineral. Cooking pots, cups and jugs; tables, takhts and thrones. From flags and bows and arrows and a multitude of tools to clever clocks, musical instruments and astrolabes, we cover them all. Humans have found wonder in the tiniest fleas and the wide open seas and the far flung stars (and now we’re going to Mars). See through the eyes of Sindbad and wonder at natural marvels that include composite creatures, giraffes and even a ginger cat. These things are the stuff of stories, the razm o bazm (fight and feast) of the Shahnameh and the magic everyday fabric that is the stock in trade of the Nights.
The other stock in trade of the Nights is of course the people that populate them. Moving from faces to FIGURES: the stock characters, or ‘characterless characters’ as I describe them, are just that: 2D characters that represent an occupation or trade. Gossip and the guilds. People’s jobs define their surnames. The most beautiful of princesses, the basest of slaves. The vilest, the meanest, the cruellest; the most generous, the most princely and the most magnanimous. The most judging of judges and kingliest of kings. The Sailoriest of Sailors and the Merchantiest of Merchants. All clichés are here: the wicked vizier, the comely youth, the scheming wife, the long-suffering wife, the mother… the many varied and countless faces of womanhood that was Shahrazad’s master plan: show them all to Shahriyar and present a picture of all life to him so he sees the nuances and not only the extremes, and comes to completion through her stories.
It’s winter so in many parts of the world we’ll need our indispensable slippers and scarves and maybe have the desire to remain in bed under draped blankets. Begin our drapery studies and design your own fantasy slippers!
...the TALES classes will also be based on the idea of 101 Important Things. My 101 Important Things idea that is just a little idea for you if you have a spare 20-30 mins you don't know what to do with and just want to feel really, really good and reinspired about the whole of life... amor mundi and re-enchantment for yourself and the world. I felt SO good after this exercise and it's probably not new or original but related to my 1001 Nights - one of the original forms of the Nights were 101 stories - and for my list I was also envisaging them to be made into drawings. BUT they exist equally well in written list format. If you're ever down you can just look at your list and feel so good again. The lull between Christmas and New Year is a good time to do this!This list is of course personal to me but also tried to make it a bit universal... you'll see some strange things in there that are my memories/experiences too (if you want an explanation just ask me sometime). List is below. If you want to do yours just write down or type all in one go and see where it takes you. It's not a bucket list necessarily or things you want to do or even things you like (eg chocolate and baths are not on my list even though I can't live without) is just what you feel is important. And my endpoint was the drawings so they had to be visual for me somehow (couldn't imagine chocolate... also, you will miss things out and that's ok, you can do again next year, etc). Stream of consciousness free flow indulgent serious pleasure.
If you do a list of 101 and are happy to share I’d love to read through them, I love lists! (Thank you to those who have already shared, it was a pleasure to read!) I wavered around number 50. You will run out of inspiration and waver a bit, I'd love to know what that point is for you too! The point where you have to pause and stop and think. Is just interesting.
101 Important Things
Spark of life
Cosmic dust and planets
Love, symbolised by sloths
Air, Chinese clouds
Sands (of time)
Prehistory, dinosaurs, ancient Earth, fossils, trilobites
...and I look forward to hearing more stories and perhaps holiday tales and even your 101 Important Things list in our Miniature Monthly Meeting for January. The Zoom link is via the Forum https://www.miniaturepaintingforum.com or here's the direct link:
Monthly Miniature Meeting 24.1.23, 6-7pm London time - all welcome
Vaishali Prazmari is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Vaishali Prazmari's Miniature Monthly Meeting MMM 24.1.23 6-7pm London time
…Do any of you take your children on 'Take Your Child To Work' days? I do, and I love it. I enjoy going on mama dates with each child separately. Sometimes when I have a lot of work to do they also come to work with me. Above they are at Pollock's Toy Museum inspecting my toy theatres in progress. Fountainboy 1 is also doing his homeschool work with me there. Homeschool is Londonschool is Worldschool - basically it's keeping up with his literacy as much as possible, ideally daily. It doesn't always happen because of illness and other reasons, but since it's such a short time I like to aim for a daily practice. It all adds up. Fountainboy 2 is almost small enough to fit in one of the larger theatres. But not quite. Check him checking to see if it is structurally sound! And below, 2 fountainboys drawing together in a cafe. I just love seeing children with this hairstyle and they love it too...
...I really have had a lovely year and would like to thank my family and friends and supervisors and students and mentors and teachers and colleagues and acquaintances and wonderful strangers and anyone else on this mailing list whom I don't formally know and wish you a wonderful year ahead. What a whirlwind of the past couple of years we have lived through, pandemics, financial crises, crazy politics and more. May 2023 be as pink and rosy as those earlier castles in the sky...
...and we also loved all the Christmassy atmosphere and lights around London. Above, UCL did a great job this year - look at those rainbow columns! We had a rare snow day and they had lots of fun building a snowman. Another wonderful year of teaching my amazing students - some of their beautiful work in the snapshots here (be sure to visit the End of Year Show for more). And lastly, the Christmas scene in our house. How long did it take you to spot me? I am well camouflaged and, erm, looking at my phone in a quiet moment. It was actually a fairly restful Christmas, which is the best kind. This year we are also actually using our fireplace for heat. Heating is expensive! Being in one room with a fire is not only cosy but economically efficient and just feels like the past too. Home and hearth. Tinselly yours,
P.S. Below is a crazy coloured pigeon I found. I haven't forgotten about the remainder of the extra Birds classes - they will come in 2023, I just have to schedule them in. Meanwhile, I wish you a very merry lull between Christmas and New Year. Or - even better - Joyous Kwanzaa! And if you'd like to send me your 101 Important Things list, please do reply to this email!