After my recent overdrive of posting about old bungalows of Allahabad–I will have another one coming up soon – it will come as a great change to you to see a tablescape of mine ! I had done this in Dublin. And, having come away to India, the article kind of languished in ‘drafts’.Till I came to Lucknow. And was hit, among other things, by the profusion of ‘chikan-kari’in innumerable shops.
Chikan-kari or chikan is beautiful, intricate hand embroidery-white thread on white muslin or white (and now in all possible colours which I personally don’t like too much)on pastel coloured muslin.It is an old Lucknow tradition.Most Indians- men and women- own at least one or two chikan embroidered kurtas(long shirts) and wear them in summer.
This tablescape included a white chikan tablecloth. Now you know why I thought about digging out this post in Lucknow !
The article in flashback-
A few days ago, right on top of a pile of freshly washed and starched clothes, I discovered a much-loved tablecloth I had not used for about 5 years. It was a white tablecloth with white chikan embroidery. I had bought it at the SEWA workshop in Lucknow(get an idea of their fabulous embroidery here). Chikan, as I had mentioned in an earlier post(click here to see it), is delicate tracery embroidery- white thread on white or pastel coloured muslin made by hand in my husband’s hometown, Lucknow, India.
From the local Lidl- I had just bought some pears and grapes which I happened to dump next to that pile with the tablecloth. The two together made my moment !
They looked SO beautiful together- shades of light green with the fresh white-echoing spring-and echoing the garden outside. That was it ! I knew I wanted them together-arranged on the table !
Then I added another shade of green-which I got from a few pieces of avocado. And a greenish-yellow from some lemons- to break the monotony of green.
White sedum flowers are still blooming on our terrace-in plenty- so to echo the white of the cloth and to add movement- I brought in these flowers ( to see another table arrangement with the same flowers click here). For containers I wanted something that would look fresh and cool(temperature cool ,and the other ‘cool’!) so it had to be silver(it could have been glass but silver would be an added colour). So I dug out these Italian coffee cups and saucers from the cupboard. These I had bought from a garage sale in Ottawa(how I miss garage sales ! There are none in Dublin !).And then some Inuit design pewter spoons, also from Canada(I had only three!).
I was excited–I was loving it ! Then to complete the picture-some tea lights –
-and green napkins from Fabindia(their textile products are fabulous! See their products here).
I placed bowls for daal(Indian style,soup-like lentils)on marble inlay coasters. These are parchin-kari or marble inlay pieces from Agra, in the style of the inlay motives in the Taj Mahal .
My friend-the very talented enamelist, Veenu Shah, had gifted them to me. Veenu, this is from your table to mine–carrying on a tradition! (Talking about Veenu, see some of her enamel pieces here).
-the table becomes more intimate in flickering flame from the tea lights-
And a cozy dinner is ready to begin !
End of flashback.
It feels strange to see this article. I mean, I am here in Lucknow-so involved in life here- and to even imagine that sometime back I had a life in another country so far away feels strange!
Here I have had to stop myself from buying more chikan kurtas–just that you see so many beautiful ones everywhere that it might be hard to resist. You know where to come if you want chikan yourself !
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Hope you have a wonderful weekend !