Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year to all

Here's wishing everyone a very happy, prosperous and safe  year ahead!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 Beejika Catalogue

With Beejika, Shradhanjali brings you the exquisite artistry of Nature, reflected in the seeds and seedpods of Auroville’s trees, planted over the last 4 decades.
The seeds and seedpods of the local trees are harvested seasonally and sundried. Then, coated with transparent varnish for protection, they are individually hand drilled and strung into beatiful Jewels Of Nature.
Nature can be as beautifully inventive and creative as we can imagine.
With their exquisite colors, curious shapes and textures, the Beejka seeds present the perfection of nature’s artistry, even in something as small and simple as a seed.

Click here to download our 2013 Beejika Catalogue

Monday, June 25, 2012

A new catalogue for Shradhanjali

We are happy to inform you that our new Shradhanjali catalogue is online on our website.
You can click here to download it.
We would be glad to get your feedback as at a later stage we may print some hard copies.
The product spread sheets should be more practical for both clarity and eventual ordering.
We are presently preparing a beautiful and entirely new style of Beejika jewelry. 

A newsletter presenting these new items will soon be ready and online.
Please once again, send us your feedback.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Craft and Design Training

Ankita and Medha's croton leaf lampshade design
For the past 6 weeks, we have had two young students, Ankita Katyal and Medha Shah doing their social sector training in Shradhanjali.
They belong to the Indian Institute of Craft and Design (IICD), based in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
The IICD’s main objective is “to synergize traditional knowledge and skills with contemporary needs to evolve methodologies that are relevant to modern India.”
The Institute which has been conceived as a nodal centre for excellence in Craft and Design, has several, programs particularly in Education, Training & Outreach, Research and Documentation and Advisory & Consultancy services.
Further the Institute works in the crafts sector and with craftsmen in an integrated manner.
The IIDC’s mission is to work on the revival of the languishing arts and crafts of Rajasthan and help make them commercially viable.
The four year, (or 8 semesters) program consists of two semesters of foundation, 5 semesters of courses, projects, field study, professional internship and the final semester being a comprehensive professional diploma project. The aim of this program is to prepare students as craft designers to act as a bridge between the artisans and the market.
As part of the IICD’s program, Under Graduates students undertake a training with an NGO during their Semester VI (3rd year).

Ankita and Medha, during their stay in Shradhanjali have undertaken to develop a new range of designs for lampshades.

The result of their research was shown to the merchandising-in-charge of a large chain of stores in India; everyone was very happy with the outcome of Ankita’s and Medha’s research.
Hopefully, orders will follow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hand painted Korean-style venetian blinds

We had mentioned in an earlier posting on this blog that Miran, a Korean artist, was trying to create new designs for our range.
She has worked on venetian blinds for our office.
It has now been installed and it looks amazing.
It brings a special peaceful East-Asian atmosphere.
Come and judge by yourselves by visiting us at Shradhanjali or just taking a look at this picture.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nature’s bowl

Life continues...

After the devastating Thane cyclone,  our workshop reopened on Monday, January 2. 
We continue to work on new products. The latest is the fruit of the Calabash tree.

Botanical name: Crescentia spp. Bignoniaceae
The genus Crescentia is distributed with 5 species in the tropics of Middle America.  Best known is Crescentia cujete (English: Calabash Tree) with its undivided, rounded leaves broadened at the tip.  It is cultivated a lot.
Very common is also Crescentia alata with three-lobed finger form leaf and winged leaf stalk.  Both species reach 8-10 m in height, having a trunk with flaking bark.  On the branches and young stems appear the inwardly carved, broad tubular, brownish – red flowers (cauliflory) which bloom for just one night and are pollinated by bats.
From the ovary which has two parts a spherical to ellipsoidal fruit capsule develops, often nearly head-sized.  The fruit contains a pulpy tissue in which numerous flattened eatable seeds are embedded.
The dried fruit capsules are used in various ways, such as jazz rattles, colourfully painted and carved as ornaments or cut in half as drinking bowls.  For the American Indians the fruits had a special meaning.
The plant is named after the Bolognese Petrus de Crescentia (1230-1320)
At Shradhanjali we scrape, scrub and clean the Crescentia alata fruit for a multipurpose natural bowl.


The cyclone brought tragedy but also grace and unity

Hundreds of  'folded' electricity posts
The cyclone brought tragedy but also grace and unity
January 6, 2012
Auroville saw widespread destruction due to Cyclone Thane. Fortunately no lives were lost.
'To live 'normally' again will take weeks, but fortunately our area, which includes 7 villages, witnesses no death, not even a serious injury.
But Auroville forests will take decades to recover. They were our pride and protection against the South Indian heat, they are no more!' 

Claude Arpi on the devastation in Auroville after Cyclone Thane.

We were getting ready for a New Year like any other.
A Korean poetry evening was scheduled at the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture, it should be interesting I thought, but our energy and thoughts were mainly focused on the preparation of the New Year Eve's Mandala of Lights attended each year by hundreds of people from Auroville and Pondicherry.
It was always the last 'spiritual' appointment of a year (with a visit to Matrimandir), often preceeding a more secular evening (or jumping into one's bed for older people, like me).
On the 29th morning, we heard that a cyclone was supposedly heading towards Pondicherry, but over the years, we had seen so many of them!
When the staff of our workshop asked if the next day was 'leave', we answered: "Who says that the cyclone will cross tonight? You know very well that most of the time, we only see their tails. Don't they always change direction a few hundred kilometres before reaching the coast and head north, to Andhra Pradesh or more often to West Bengal and Burma?"
The conclusion was peremptory: "No 'leave' for now, if the cyclone comes, then we will see and 'leave' will then be obvious."
Very early that night, it became 'obvious'.
As the velocity of the wind kept increasing, more and more violent rains coming in close waves began battering houses and nature. Our room on the first floor, probably more exposed, was soon flooded: At about 3 am, a plastic protection on the door to the terrace was ripped apart and flew away.
I must say that we were unable to realise at the time the extent of damage that the cyclone Thane (apparently, Burmese meteorologists named the cyclone Thane which means 'Eagle') was going to inflict on Pondicherry and Cuddalore district where Auroville is located.

It was not like any other cyclone we had seen in 40 years
At about 4 am, I began to receive SMSes: "How are you?", "It's pouring in our house, what about you?" It was not very comforting to know that everybody in Auroville was awake at this early hour.
At 6 am, as dawn came, the wind was stronger than ever (according to newspapers received three days later, the winds reached 150 or 180 km/hour). I must say that nobody came out to measure it.
It was not until 7 am that I decided to venture out of the house to say hello to my neighbours who have a sweet one-year old daughter. I began to understand that the 'Eagle cyclone' was not like any other cyclone that we had experienced during the last 40 years.
To cross the few metres separating our house from the neighbour's, it took me nearly ten minutes; I just could not find my way, as the ground was strewn with huge branches of our banyan as well as of neem and bauhinia trees.
Later in the morning, when the neighbours began to organise themselves (we were fortunate to have in our settlement one of the best chain-saw experts in Auroville), we began to understand the magnitude of the disaster.
To progress less than 200 metres, to reach the gate of our Dana community, it took more than four hours despite the determined team of 'Danaistes' working hard to open up the road.
Only later we learned that a similar scenario had repeated itself everywhere in Auroville and the surrounding villages.
A grace: Mobile phones (at least BSNL) continued to work. Quickly, we took stock of the extent of the devastation, but the fact that there was no announced injury or death (relayed through our mass bulletin on the smart phones), led us to expect a relatively happy end. This put a little balm on our hearts.

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