Saturday, April 5, 2014

Origami or Architecture?

I design with an architectural aesthetic, who knows, maybe in a past life I was an architect!  Both John and I in renovating our circa 1934 row home have tried to preserve the best of it's architectural design and introduce our own creative touches to add interest and folly. We think our cut outs resemble Origami, made with Sheetrock instead of paper.

We created a cut out in our bedroom ceiling in the window soffit just for fun. The Lion is old, it's made of cement and extremely heavy. We purchased him 30 years ago.

Another view of the cut out created in drywall and yes messy work but easy to create.

In our sitting room we changed the angle for a different feel adding interesting architectural detail over the built in bookcases.

Another look at them. In our sitting area upstairs we put up bead board on the ceiling on a diagonal and I pickled/white washed it. Since we opened up the area I wanted to define the space and the bead board does.

We weren't done yet and made another drywall origami detail in the window soffit. What can I say ... I like self expression and sometimes even a glimpse into a culture encourages me to explore, observe and study. I remember watching the Academy best picture award winning 2008 British drama "Slum Dog Millionaire". I was overwhelmed and deeply moved with the story line. For me it was emotionally difficult to comprehend the improvised portrayal of an 8 year old boy living in the slums of Mumbai. Up until the movie I hadn't a clue of the scope of India's poor.

I reflected on it awhile back and wanted to understand how a country rich with splendid beauty, intricately made textiles and breathtaking architecture and unique cuisine could be so diametrically opposed in living conditions. The rich-poor divide. Slums next to multi-million dollar homes and billion dollar hotels. Truth be known more than half of Mumbai's population lives in slums.

“Child mortality [since 2000] is down by 2.65 million a year. That's a rate of 7,256 children's lives saved each day. … It drives me nuts that most people don't seem to know this news.”

I have never been to India but through my armchair studies I have discovered a deep rooted respect for the Indian people.  Their jewelry, crafts and textiles evolved through the centuries. Respected artisans like Michael Aram, American born and a designer I admire and collect,has taken his craft based design and set up homes and workshops in New Delhi. Creating handmade pieces from tableware to furniture, all crafted in India Rich metalworking traditions. He has accomplished much in helping out the Indian metal crafts and introducing his modern designs to us all. He is an artisan I truly admire.

My first Michael Aram purchase, from many years ago. I love setting this out with cheese when we entertain. It has a cool tactile feel in the hand from the different metals and always causes pause with people as they stop, look and think.

Not to mention the exquisite textiles of skilled Indian craftspeople. Dyed silks, intricate beading, sequins embellished and embroidered. Intricately crafted textiles which generates huge employment for both skilled and unskilled labor in India's textile trade.

I purchased this vest 20+ years ago! Beaded and dyed and still in perfect condition.

A close up of the beadwork

I am fascinated by India's architecture from centuries ago to modern. The photo above is the Nāga Snake Tower. It is 54 stories high and is known as "Guardians of the City".

This is India's largest temple in southern India. A Hindu temple built in 1987. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple dedicated to Ranganatha a reclining form of a Hindu deity.

I express myself not only in writing but through my art and my interior design work which always  has architectural flair. I leave you today with my poetic short story of young love who were destined to be together. Totally imagined and probably would not of been written if it were not for my boundless curiosity of understanding darma, karma and my continued spiritual journey.

Photo sources: 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9 taken by me, Vera
Photo's 5,10,11,12 Google images

Dawn and Yamir

In New York City, after a night of labor, a girl is born at daybreak's first ray, not a moment too soon.
On the same day nearly 7,800 miles away, a boy in India is born, beneath the bright light of a full moon.

Thus begins the story of Dawn and Yamir, born in diversity of cultures, half the world away.
Dawn an only child will live a privileged lifestyle, but by no means is this meant to sound cliche.

Yamir, the youngest of three is an optimistic, fun loving child who plays Cricket in Old Bombay.
As a Hindu he is taught everyone's divine and you create your own destiny, life dharma he will obey.

Dawn met Yamir at age 13, during a business stay at the Ambassador hotel in India's capital city. 
Dad an international banking VP is bringing green growth strategies to areas impoverished and gritty.

It was 1992, 3 years before Bombay would be renamed Mumbai, the worlds most populous town.
A 5 week stay with her parents in India and instantly Dawn spotted Yamir, tall, lean and brown.

Yamir often goes to work with Dad a general manager with the Ambassador hotel employ.
That summer in the world's largest democracy, Dawn fell in love with it's culture, cuisine and a boy.

Serendipity brought Dawn and Yamir together, but that summer foretold their future dreams.
Yamir taught Dawn the game of Cricket where she developed a true appreciation it seems.

While touring the Taj Mahal, Dawn felt a calling to architecture, visiting historic spots everyday.
Her heart embraced the essence of India believing it is where her soul belongs - 7,800 miles away!

Dad accomplished his goal in establishing global financial flow, his work in Bombay was ending.
Dawn never influenced by people's beliefs or ambitions felt Yamir and her union was ascending.

It was then during their tearful and heartfelt parting embrace that Karma sealed their fate,
Although it would be 9 long years for Dawn's return she and Yamir would patiently wait.

Despite all obstacles and diversity these teenagers were destined to experience young love.
Flying back to NYC she committed to memory the horizons sightline from thousand's of feet above.

Over many years of communication there weren't any love letters tied in a satin ribbon bow.
Instead daily emails turned into Skype calls, where they could see each other's face aglow.

Skype allowed them to talk about dreams of a reunion, that they would one day soon share.
Recalling India's sunshine kissing her long golden soft curls living in NYC just didn't compare.

Eventually Yamir became a Batsman and his team won in Cricket's World Cup game.
But it was during London's hosting the World Cup's final, he earned player respect and fame.

Dawn driven by passion attended NYIT school of Architecture and design and earned her degree.
Returning to India and working in sustainable housing design was what and all she could foresee.

After graduating she accepted a junior position with a Mumbai firm designing affordable housing.
The firm is known for home vibrancy and sustainability and to become a protégée was very arousing.

Destiny was bringing her back to India and Yamir for a long awaited loving embrace,
After 9 years, 34 days and 2 minutes Dawn finally will dwell in her beloved chosen land of grace.

Karma is the law of cause and effect and where we create our destiny in thoughts and deeds.
Forever, as in always united, is measured perpetually and everlasting love always succeeds.

© Vera


  1. Vera, this is such an interesting post! I love that you and John aren't afraid to express yourselves through your design and decor of your home! That makes it so truly unique and 'you'.
    And I love the poem...a modern love story! :)

  2. It is so appropriate that you share this my friend, as it is National Poetry Month AND spring. Even though from my geographical perspective, I KNOW that spring eventually comes. Like love, some people never think it will come to them, but when the bud is ready, it blooms.

    First of all, those cut outs are fantastic! I would have never thought of doing such a thing, but seeing them give me GREAT IDEAS! Oh uh..better not tell Ruben! Love the lion's head, and all the other features that you and John have created yourselves, much like what Ruben I ourselves have done.

    Isn't it fun to write?To take our imaginations and put pen to paper to create flesh and blood situations? BRAVO! What a wonderful way to step into a new season. MUCH LOVE!

  3. VERA! Oh, you and the little fuzzy ballerinas came by MON ATELIER! How fabulous! Where those two little dancers looking for my mile-high chocolate layered cake? Or just strolling by, hand and hand like good little friends? teeheee

    I am so charmed by your (ehem.....THEIR visit!) on this sunny evening in April. May spring always be in our hearts, those of us who create! LOVE TO YOU!

  4. Vera,
    The architectural elements throughout your home are so beautiful. Very unique to you and John. That is just awesome. The love story is gorgeous along with all the pictures of India. It always has struck me that a country that is so gorgeous and has given birth to some of the most talented crafters can be so harsh with it poor. Sad really. Thanks for the lovely story. Very sweet.

  5. Your home is so interesting and intriguing, Vera, and I love that everything has a story or memory behind it. I can't believe that you made that sheet rock cutout! It's amazing! Your poetry is always such a joy to read. You are such a creative artist! :)

    xoxo laurie

  6. So many thoughts running around my head.

    Love your origami cut outs . . . I have a Michael Aram piece - ice tongs with hands on the ends that I found online because of my love of hands . . . We just saw The Lunchbox and loved the sweet story . . . Oh, crowded streets of Mumbain . . . L O V E the story of the young lovers .

    Thank you for a beautiful read as I rest on the sofa after 5 days of the Craftcation conference.

  7. Let's see...I think we would be fast friends if we lived near one another. I love Architecture in all shapes and dimensions. I look around wherever I go just looking and gazing at the old and new. Chicago is a great city for new, old and fun architecture.
    And those cut-outs are the bomb! The ceiling ones create great interest, and the wall one is great for your favorite car collection. I always wanted one so I could put a piece of sculpture in it. Thank you for sharing so much beauty. I really love it all. ~Kathleen

  8. Vera: Your poetic short story of Dawn and Yamir is fantastic. I believe in karma. My husband and I met through a karmic meeting of sorts in all places...a supermarket. And we know we are soul mates, just as Dawn and Yamir knew. This is such a great poem with a strong backbone. You are a wonderful Writer.

  9. Dear and cherished soul, I just read your comment, and I await your email. LOVE TO YOU, always, Anita

  10. Oh Vera,
    Of course it would be a visit here with words that move, would it be anything less. And look who's talking one who writes like non other.
    Your story telling, your poetry, your designs, your worlds that comes to life in all you imagine it to be. You my dear are the best Karma, always beleiving it, listening to that small voice.

    Beautiful poetry almost wish it was put to voice. Perhaps you can video link it and read to us someday, it would be great to here the author read in her spirited voice who captures the soul of what she writes.

    Thank you Vera for keeping me posted on your what's and when of posting.
    I am going to get back to you on your emailing.

    Oh as for Anita, I wrote her, she is having a time of it. I sent some encouragement her way, she will be back!
    Perhaps you can pass on some her way.


  11. Good evening my lovely friend! I just came in from a much-needed walk outside in the SUNSHINE! It felt great.

    I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to speak with you. The time you took to call, the words, the ideas and the much appreciated. I think that TIME that someone puts into others is a very important element that needs to be looked at. The expressions, "Time is money", "Time is fleeting", "I don't have time" usually shape our view of time. So when someone takes the time to tell you what they feel and to listen? That is priceless. THANK YOU!

  12. Vera,

    Your posts are so full that I do not ever know where to begin in commenting. The lion, I love! What an authentic piece. I do not know how you ever thought to cut the angles into your walls, wow! I will have to show my Hubby and sons because they will be most impressed. My youngest son whom is studying to be an architect just completed the most amazing design/drawing for a building. I believe you would really appreciate the aesthetics of it. He is an amazing artist and top student of his classes. His professors already favor him and it is his first year of college. He tells us that his passion for architecture began when he was around 9 yrs old and on a road trip with my husband and daughter and they drove through S.F. He said that he was in awe of the buildings and and could not stop thinking about all them afterwards. Then when he took art classes in H.S and won awards for his architectural drawings and received the encouragement of an art teacher to pursue that he knew it was what he wanted to do.

    Your heart for India blesses my soul. I am a huge Bono fan so of course I like your choice of quote. U2 was my favorite band in H.S...I have a U2 collection and my children were raised listening to them.

    Your poem has depths and layers of details that kept me so intrigued. You really are an amazing writer. I do believe you should begin writing books.

    I will come again to read your post when I feel better. I had a wonderful day with my hubby in the city on Saturday, but Sunday woke up quite ill and had to rest all day yesterday. I do feel better today but will continue to rest and recover. Thank you for taking the time to email and check in on me! You are so thoughtful. Allergies are always horrible for me...our valley is one of the worst in the country! So yes, my entire family is suffering already. It is supposed to be 82 degrees today and it was just 62 a few days ago. I am not ready for the heat. The rain keeps my allergies at bay. My garden is loving the sunshine and growing wildly. We have peas everywhere! I will stir fry some this week.
    xxo Kerrie

  13. Dear Vera,
    I am so sorry I am late.. I cannot believe the cut outs you have done.. I agree with you, I believe you must have been an architect in your past life.

    The beaded vest is breathtaking, and you produce such beautiful poetry, I feel you should make a collection of your poems and put into book form..
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart, loves and interests.

  14. You are a fascinating storyteller. I love the way you weave things together. Write a book, my friend.

  15. The cutouts you and your husband created make such an interesting and one-of-a-kind statement. Love your attention to detail! Vera, your poems and stories are always delightful. It's such a joy to share in your creativity.
    Mary Alice

  16. What a visual treat it is to see what you have done in your home.
    You have so much talent, Vera!!
    Your writings are fascinating. I should write a book!

  17. Dear Vera,
    How kind of you to come back for another visit.. It is always so nice to see you there..
    Wishing you a beautiful week.

  18. Vera,
    Thank you for your visit, for it has brought me to YOU!!!
    I must peruse your blog.... what a delight it is to find another woman
    who enjoys many of the things I do, and your writing is enthralling!

    How I enjoyed seeing your VIOLET mouse, created by dear Penny, and the CAKE made by Anita, and the THEATRE created by Dore'!!!!!! You are my kind of woman dear heart!!!!!!!!! I also have a mouse in a tutu, although mine is rather lumpy, created in paper mache.

    so lovely to meet you!
    ~ Violet

  19. Hello Vera...I think your beaded vest from India is exquisite!

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. Loved your visit. Susan

  20. Happy Easter wishes to you also, Vera.. Thank you so much for visiting. it is always such a joy to see you there.

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