Scrap Potential- Scavenging in India

scrap potential
Many folks ask where I find my materials to make collages.
Here are some scraps, sources and experiences from my last trip to India.
While an Artist-In-residence at Chhaap Foundation for Printmaking Trust in Baroda, Gujarat, I used a batter of coffee grounds and tea leaves, bindi powder, turmeric, and Celluclay (a dried paper pulp) to experiment with paper sculpture. The texture was made with a fork.

turmeric paper
Some of this paper I’ve paired with old portraits:

India

agni sati
These were found at the exquisite ‘Friday Market’ on the outskirts of Baroda.
friday market
This is a sprawling maze of live goats, tin charms, chai carts, torn saris, wooden game pieces, broken toys and, most lovely for me, old photographs.
friday market photos

tea cartfearfully
bombay red
love marriage
Scavenging for mid-century photographic ephemera outside of The States is quite challenging, our Kodachrome generation being unparalleled, so this particular market was really a gem. (On a side note however, it seems India’s snapshot culture of today is certainly catching up).

The upcycling at Friday Market also deserves some attention. Here are some wonderful hand-stitched oil-can cozies:
oil cans
I experimented with using some of the found objects as stamps, such as these keys:
keys
keyhouse
Moving South, in Fort Cochi, Kerala, I picked out some paper goods at Junk Junction (Kumbarramukku, if memory serves).. Looking through newspapers, game cards, old books and ledgers, this passerby wanted to document a dusty picture of a famous 70’s movie star:
junk junction
The language there, Malayalam, has a beautiful alphabet, and I was quite inspired by it.
Malayalam ana
I was in India for a number of teaching projects, as well as dumpster diving, and the scraps came in handy for those, too. In this bookmaking workshop at Chhaap, students rummaged through a rag bag donated by a local fashion designer, Rupali. They used the pieces to customize their book covers.

It was an honor to have Jyoti Bhatt, one of India’s most renowned artists and photographer of Indian ephemeral art, among my students.
book making
In a nearby school run by the organization Koshish Milap, I brought in scraps of handmade paper and fabric in all colors and shapes. It was a great ice-breaker for them to teach me the colors in Gujarati (new to me), and having a full-spectrum palette easily accessible helped them to jump right in and start collaging (new to them).
colors
The kids were overjoyed and seemingly not intimidated at the process of building their own beautiful compositions out of scraps.
collage birds

Thanks again, India, for all the inspiration and generosity. See you next time.

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