My forays into cyberspace are tentative and furtive. On the recommendation of a talented Sydney polymer artist, Maria Psaltis, I joined Voila, a European polymer art site run by Christine Dumont. And that was it. I joined and then did nothing for many months. These things take time.
Last month, I took the plunge and set up my Voila Photo Gallery (so much easier than I thought it would be!) and in doing so, submitted work for the Voila monthly challenge-the selection of the Polymeristas of the Month. To my absolute delight, my Chautara (Resting Place) Bangles were shortlisted.
These bangles hold very special significance for me. I sketched the design on one of the many bus trips I took along Nepal’s East West highway to Birtamod, the home of Samunnat Nepal. In the monsoon, the greens of the fields were intense and varied. And in magical November, after the monsoon, you could see Kanchendzonga Himal in the distance. For a few magnificent weeks, the skies were clear and the weather cooler.
From treks I was very familiar with chautaras. (Familiar?! I could spot them as a mere speck in the distance and will myself towards them!) A chautara is a resting place on the path, built from stone, often to remember parents or other special people. Usually, an ancient and luxuriantly leaved pipal or banyan tree (or both) grow from the centre. The stone platform is constructed so that there is a ledge at a perfect height for you to rest your load-a bamboo dhoka if you are a Nepali, a back pack if you are trekking. You can stop your journey for a moment, lean back under the shade, catch your breath, chat with any one there and then head on again, refreshed. Reliable sources tell me that a chautara is often referenced in folk songs-as a place for wooing. And it is certainly a common place for village discussions and the exchange of gossip. Mind you, it is also said that no-one can tell a lie under a banyan tree…..?
I love the idea of resting places as you travel through life, and a chautara has become my metaphor for that. In making these bangles I wanted to make a piece of jewellery that would trigger the wearer to rest, to stop thinking, thinking, planning, rehearsing, rehashing and… just… rest. Rest in the moment of looking and feel refreshed.