Shibboleth Sari Weeks 5, 6 & 7

The design for a sari called “Mango Teardrop ” is coming together gradually or “slowly slowly” as we used to say. The idea started with the ancient Persian “boteh”, like a teardrop or mango seed shape, that travelled to the Indian sub-continent, and eventually to the UK  where it is called “paisley.”  It led me on a journey back to 1960s London where us kids and our mums and aunties and grandmothers would pile into one modestly sized car, a Ford Anglia, and go to Southall  in search of Asian foods, and return to Tooting disappointed (if it had sold out) or triumphant. As a child it was really exciting, even though I often had no idea what the thing we were looking for was.

One such adventure was about tracking down mangoes. Later on the same day, alone in the kitchen with my Aunt Malcy, (when she’d cleared away after lunch and before she said her rosary) I saw her hold the mango up to her cheek and breathe it in as a single tear rolled down. The memory of that lover-like gesture is clear in my mind and stands for what she missed from her past life 20 years after leaving India.

The Mango Teardrop sari will have a mint green choli/blouse with embroidered Ford Anglias on it and its base colours will be burnt orange, turquoise, and cobalt blue. Below are images of a sample of the free motion embroidery and the dyed fabrics. (Experiments with printing mango shapes are shown in previous posts.) So far, so good. The next bit is about developing the sari with a half and half reversible design.

Spent some time working on banners for International Womens Day at CDM ( which was overseen by Taslima Ahmad my wonderful mentor. Also went to Victoria Baths, which I used to go to loads in the 80s. Looking at the stain glass windows there helped me plan the sampler for my “Genepool/Dna” sari idea. Taslima got me making mock shisha mirrors from a milk carton and foil. Interested in the reverse side where you can see the working and the threads dangling. Came full circle, back at CDM, when I saw that one of Taslima’s plates had the same pattern we had in Tooting, in the days of mango-hunting trips to Southall!