nelly sethna study
Nelly Sethna was an extraordinary weaver, craftsman and writer who emerged at the cusp of our Independence. Identified by her unique body of work that was far from the nationalist aesthetic expected of artists in post-independence India. She created using modernist ideas in an Indian vernacular: from an extensive range of hand-knotted and hand-woven tapestries in cotton and wool, to immersive ceramic murals. Sethna’s recent retrospective, “The Unpaved, Crusty, Earthy Road” adopted a seductive palette of browns, burnt siennas, mauves. (to learn more, take a minute to view Sethna’s online retrospective)
A young Sethna had always been a follower of activist Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay—the driving force behind the renaissance of traditional handicrafts, handlooms, and theatre in independent India. It was only in the late 50s that Sethna met with Marianna Strengell (Head of Weaving at Cranbrook Academy of Art), under whose mentorship she became immersed in the ethos of Scandinavian modernism. And so in the 70s, when she retrieved a collection of beautiful, hand-carved Indian Kalamkari blocks that had been dormant in craftsmen’s homes—she decided to use them to create new design layouts that cater to a contemporary sensibility. With her combined knowledge from both disciplines, she became a ‘transcultural artist’.
Drawing upon techniques of various tapestry artists, we took a stab at creating a technique and tapestry of our own. We laboriously cut up individual strips of Aeromul, and sew them into long multi-colored ropes. We then devised, through playful trial and error, a palette that could be woven together in numerous patterns and numerous ways, using a classic basket weave. Traditional craftsmanship meets modern pattern-making in a stylized, kimono-cut jacket. This kimono works as an object, to be hung as a tapestry on your wall.
Sizing and Styling:
The model’s height is 5’7 ft and she comfortably fits in a free size. This kimono is designed to fit with a bit of room. If a statement kimono is what you are looking for, reach out to us and we can help guide you on how to accurately size this style. The model is wearing it paired with a classic black turtleneck and a slinky pair of shorts. It is the perfect throw over solids, with a pair of heels for a special gallery party. Before you choose to buy this style online, we encourage you to reach out to us on [email protected] offline with a photograph of yourself—to help us guide you in picking the correct size—since each piece is made to order and is not eligible for an exchange / return / refund.