Monday, February 10, 2014


Kolam is a sacred design drawn with rice flour at the entrance of homes in India. The women and girls of more than a million Hindu households in South India create new kolams every day of the year. The only exception is during the heavy rains of the monsoon season when drawing outside is impossible.

Kolams are made as invocations to the gods and goddesses that are believed to protect the home. They also provide food for ants which keep them from entering homes. Always placed on the ground before the front door of a house, these drawings are believed to prevent evil and to encourage good spirits to enter the home. The designs have been passed down from mother to daughter for untold centuries, although there is a premium placed upon innovation and experimentation with new concepts. Once she has created a kolam, each woman prides herself in never precisely repeating that design.

Here I am at Visalam Hotel in Karaikudi, Talmil Nadu, India, getting a lesson in kolam. It starts with a grid of white dots and then I was instructed on which ones to connect with what sort of lines...straight or curved. I got a bit frustrated with the need for symmetry and started freely adding designs. My teachers reacted to this disobedience, but I informed that it was called "free form".

Here is the master and my teacher......

No comments:

Post a Comment