Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Little Wooden Toys

my little Rama figure (a little dusty),
star of the Ramayana story

my little Brahma, creator of the universe.

I spend a lot of time reminiscing here it seems...it's not that I like to live in the past, but I find looking back a helpful tool for seeing where I am in the present, where new ideas can spring from or the experience of memory as a tool to propel me into a new project or sometimes just the next moment. I notice that happens for a lot of people, we remind each other of things we've seen and places we've been and can inspire something entirely new for each of us.

A few days ago I read on a wonderful paper-cut artist's blog, Fog & Thistle that she's working on a shadowbox of the Ramayana, the ancient Hindu epic and love story. I love this story, my adviser in school had written books about Hanuman and was an expert on the Ramayana and the Hindu pantheon (he recommends this version here). Her post brought back such great memories of the time spent reading and discussing its twists and turns and all the little and large digressions that the story holds.

found these b&w photos here. I wish I knew who took them

And then of course also memories of India: the toymakers I sat with and worked with day after day in Benares were well versed in creating gods and goddesses from little pieces of wood, lacquered in bright colors, so that children (and later tourists!) could learn the ancient stories, sort of like what Rachel is doing with her shadowboxes. I took a few of my little figurines off their shelf and photographed them for her. They reminded me too, although I see them everyday, of my love for all things small and intimate--of the pieces I collect for my work and the little stories (les historiettes!) that I try to tell through my work.

Just want to remind you to enter my giveaway--the gift is a tiny story as well--I'll be so happy to pass it along...

10 comments:

nadia said...

what beautiful memories to have, wow how rich.
I am hoping to do something like that in the next few months, would love some advice.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

of course nadia...feel free anytime to contact me at bonbonoiseau@aol.com

Krissy said...

gorgeous photos!

Sarah said...

Have you seen the film SITA SINGS THE BLUES? It is a beautiful imagining of the Ramayana, www.sitasingstheblues.com.

Fog and Thistle said...

Thanks so much for posting photos of your figurines! I really enjoyed reading about your experiences in India with the artisans...what an incredible experience that must have been! I'm really touched that my project inspired your post today :)

Looking forward to reading the version of the Ramayana that your professor recommended. Off to do that now

noble pig said...

I love that photo and nice post about your memories.

Aran said...

be sure to tell me about the souffle!!!

Mrs.French said...

One of the best things about blogging is the memories and inspiration it conjures up....thanks for sharing.


~oh and B would be happy to assist you with your giveaway, as long as his momma is the winner!

ana dane said...

this makes me want to bust out the ole Mahabharata. maybe we can paint ourselves blue, guzzle ghee and shoot a reenactment in the park?

Bonbon Oiseau said...

ana, i'll be right over on my giant bird.

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