Creative articles about sewing

BERNINA Worlwide Traveldiary 6, Chennai (India)

Monday, April 20th 2015

Once again, I repacked my luggage completely and left a suitcase and a large bag in the locked-room of the hotel. The green suitcase and a bordcase come up to Chennai, on the west coast of India, where Ajay and I are going to visit Tina Katwal, Ajay’s first female BERNINA dealer in his dealer network. We will present another workshop at Chennai. I have been looking forward to this visit for a long time and am very curious what awaits me.

The flight is in the late morning and Ajay picked me up a the hotel quite soon. After almost 2 hours of flight we already arrived in Chennai. It seems to be a little warmer than in Mumbai, but the humidity is lightly lower. Anyway, the sun beats down mercilessly by the bright blue sky. India, wonderful country.

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Tina has booked for the coming days a driver, who will be our constant companion. We are now picked up by him at Chennai airport and safely chauffeured through the traffic of this town. I can quickly check-in at the hotel, that is close to the Bay of Bengal, the north-eastern edge of the Indian Ocean. After a short refreshment we are on our way to “The Square Inch”, Tinas Studio. How lovely it was to meet Tina!

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I am looking through the pleasantly cool and quite high room. Familiar furnishing such as the world’s identical BERNINA shelves with the BERNINA sewing machines catch my eye first, then they stay on all those stacks of fabric. Oh my God! All those fabrics are Indian batik and produced in Chennai. Have a look at these colours….

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Together we set up the work area for the workshop the next day.

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And then, some little time was also in India to see and get to know a bit about the country and its people. I was pleased when Ajay and Tina proposed me to visit an Indian temple and a particular church. The symphatic driver drove us safely through Chennai-traffic. Again and again I caught a view on smaller temples, wich are located between kiosks and larger shops, homes and parks. Religion is much more important in India, than in Germany. The regular daily visit to the temple is an everyday occurence.

The way to the temple was lined with lots of tables, where the offerings were purchased for prayer to the gods.

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“Shoes off”.

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Step by step we were approaching the interior of the temple. At the beginning I took several photos, but I stopped. This special atmosphere in the temple, between prayer, silence and meditation was transmitted and each click and flash would have been just inappropriate. Anyway here are some impressions of this so very special area, I got to know.

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Still and quite moved by the mood we left this holy place and made our way towards this particular Catholic Church that Tina wanted to show us.

It was the St. Thomas Basilica, which was built as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela on the tombe of an apostle. Apostle Thomas, who reportedly died as a martyr in 72 a.chr. in Madras (Chennai).

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Once again it was so typical of India – these strong contrasts that happen within minutes.

We then drove through the streets of Chennai until we came to the coastal road. The nightlife awoke on the beach, where families and friends met to celebrate and enjoy the evening together. Difficult to imagine, but this place is still traced by the horrific disaster, the Tsunami in 2004. Tina talked about it as an eyewitness and concernced, and I became aware again in what protected area we live inside Europe.

At an Indian restaurant I got more impressions of Indian food and I liked it!

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I went quite later than expected to bed, my cold was still heavy, but antibiotics started to work.

Good night.

Tuesday, 21st April 2015

I woke up early and ventured a look through the curtains that protect the hotelroom from brightness and heat. Breathtakingly beautiful, the light and nature presented this morning. I love India.

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It was time finally to meet the class participants, who also were curious and certainly a little excited, what would happen during this day. Pretty women in all ages, beautifully dressed in saris, others quite handy in jeans and shirt. The welcome was as kind and warm as in Mumbai. We were ready for take off!

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Since the workshop content “paperlamination” was chosen by Tina, she had collected countless newspapers with fantastic pictures and headlines. Wow, that was impressive. And all took up with enthusiasm and created the greatest collages!

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We laminated and printed, and the feeling for colours was just natural for all these ladies!

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It was exciting. Paperlaminations turned out into beautiful light organzas and the prints were wonderful. It was the moment for the BERNINA sewing machines to take place on the tables. Some of the twelve participants had never sat at a sewing machine before. So Ajay Gupta took the part of the explanation of the BERNINAs, the intoduction of freemotion quiltling was mine. It was somehow magic, even unbelievable, the ladies just startet freemotion quilting, as if they had never done anything else. Not to bother and to think about – just did it. And that’s the way. However a few experienced quilters also participated, so it was a gread mix.

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These results were simply breathtaking. A collage next to the other was perfect. The participants were thrilled and I was very impressed too!

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Full of pride and certainly a little surprised of herselves all participants received their well-deserved certificate. This class was great, everthing was harmonious, it could not have been better. And it was a successful conclusion of my workshop travel to Asia, just a peppy, creative final stroke.

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Well, at least concerning work. Something had to follow, just the summit.

I will report the day after tomorrow about it in the next and final travel diary from India.

Cordially, and many love and big hugs to Tina and Ajay for these days in Chennai,

Jutta Hellbach

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Comments of this post

  • Roger Bühler

    Dear Jutta Hellbach,

    Thank you so much for sharing your interesting travel diary with all the photos. Thanks to dedicated ambassadors like you the BERNINA family becomes closer all around the globe and there is a valuable exchange in between completely different cultures! Thank you for your hard work and your highly appreciated contribution!

    Another big thank you to BERNINA Korea, BERNINA India and Sabine Scheiner for the well organized workshops!

    Kind regards,
    Roger Bühler

  • What a fascinating place Jutta. I loved the design on the floor – what significance does it have? Hope you feel better soon and have a wonderful time over there.

  • Tina Katwal

    Aw..what a lovely account of the workshop, Jutta. Thank you so much. Hugs.

  • Tina Katwal

    Hi Jan, I guess you are referring to the mandala-like pattern on the floor. In many parts of India, it is a custom to clean the threshold of the house and make an auspicious pattern out of rice flour called ‘Kolam’. In some places or on certain occasions, it is created with coloured salt crystals or even flower petals. Do google ‘Rangoli’ and ‘Pookalam’ and ‘Kolam’ for some lovely images.

  • Thanks for that Tina. I can see some lovely embroidery patterns emerging from those designs!

  • Jutta Hellbach

    Dear Roger Bühler,

    it was a pleasure and great advantage to travel and work for the worldwide working Bernina family. Sewing and fabric connects women all over the world and the Bernina sewing machine makes it much easier to do so

  • Jutta Hellbach

    Hello Jan,
    yes, I feel well again and completely recovered.
    Now enjoying work and holiday at Bernina in Portugal :-).
    Jutta

  • Jutta Hellbach

    Big hugs back, it was such a good time, being with you!