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PROJECT INDIA OVERVIEW

WHAT . WHEN . WHERE . HOW . WHY

WHAT:

  • Expand my knowledge and awareness of the broader picture of global gem and jewelry work. Specifically in Jaipur (most of the gemstones in the world are cut and polished here) as well as throughout India.
  • Connect with and support local artisans creating jewelry components handcrafted out of local sustainable natural materials as well as precious metals. Specifically in Jaipur and Varanasi as well as throughout India.
  • Build positive and lasting connections with just and conscious gemstone producers and artisans throughout India.
  • Support organizations that are creating job opportunities with established artists. IE: Vatsalya (Jaipur).
  • Realize the beauty of learning from and working with people around the world who are intricately and increasingly connected to us.
  • Bring the depth and history of ancient India to my Door County community.
  • Teach a paper wrapped bead making workshop to a Woman Artisan Coop organized by Malika and Lima Aklant in Mussoorie, India.
  • Teach a sari wrapped bead making workshop to a Woman Artisan Coop organized through the non-governmental foundation Vatsalya in Jaipur, India.
    • Share of my artistic abilities with those less fortunate to expand their skills and thus,
    • Create economic and social enterprise opportunities for populations in need.
    • Realize the importance of understanding the sourcing of materials, and the need to support Fairly Traded goods and materials.

WHEN:

  • February 16th – March 28th 2012 (6 weeks) – TRAVEL INDIA
  • April – September 2012 – CREATE NEW BODY OF WORK
  • October 4th, 2012 – ‘PROJECT INDIA – ARTIST TALK AND SLIDE SHOW’
  • October 6th, 2012 – ‘PROJECT INDIA – OPENING EXHIBITION’
  • November 14th-16th, 2012 – ‘HEIRLOOM JEWELRY WORKSHOP’

WHERE:

NORTHERN INDIA

  • A.) New Delhi
    • Purchase materials for the workshops
  • B.) Mussoorie
    • Malika and Lima Aklant – Paper Wrapped Bead Making Workshop
  • C.) Jaipur
    • Vatsalya – Sari Wrapped Bead Making Workshop
  • D.) Agra
    • Taj Mahall
  • E.) Varanasi
    • Explore India’s 5,000 year jewelry making history
  • F.) Kathmandu, Nepal
    • Gemstones and Wood Beads
  • DOOR COUNTY, Wisconsin
    • Plum Bottom Studio/Gallery
      • host of exhibition and workshop

HOW:

A project like this takes many ‘Hows’:

  • Hard Work!  Dedication! Creative Drive!
  • Through money earned from my part-time serving job at the restaurant, Parador, in downtown Egg Harbor.
  • And through funds raised during the “Project India” fundraiser hosted at Plum Bottom Pottery, in October, 2011.

WHY:

I have planned my journey to India to increase my understanding of humanity’s symbolic and real interconnectedness and to further expand and inspire both my artistic jewelry work and my worldview as well as my local community. As I evolve as an artist and as a woman in the world, I am noticing a tug inside my heart to do more, to consciously realize my potential as a part of the larger whole.  In doing so, I hope to make a bigger impact on the world through my art of jewelry. I have chosen to take the first step toward this idea by traveling to India to network and connect with local artisans and gemstone producers, and the broader Indian culture.You will see many more whys as you read through this page.

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PIECES TO THE PUZZLE:

It has been so interesting to see all the pieces come together in regards to how this project has come to be. See Flow Chart below to understand all these amazing connections. Here are the details:

One of the pieces came from my enlightening friendship with Elise Roberts. Elise has her masters in International Social Welfare and is currently the Upper Midwest Regional Organizer at Witness for Peace. Her passion and knowledge for social justice through out the world has been incredibly motivating, strengthening that inner tug in my heart to do more! click on the link: Witness for Peace, to learn more about Elise and this amazing organization. Elise traveled in India twice and has shared much of her traveling experience which has been pivotal to the travel planning for the project.

Sarah Davison-Tracy is the wonderful owner of this non-profit organization. Seeds of Exchange  partners with dynamic community leaders in India, Uganda and Pakistan.  “We help bridge these influential leaders with socially-minded people interested in collaborating to make a difference. “

Sarah is probably the most radiant woman I have every met, she glows with loving kindness. She has directly connected me with Jaimala Gupta, of Vatsalya in Jaipur, India and Malika & Lima Aklant, in Mussoorie, India. I will be teaching the two bead making workshops with these wonderful individuals (details below under PROJECT DETAILS). Sarah also connected me with Delta Donohue…

Delta Donohue is the dynamic owner of Anoothia fair trade business providing economic development, training and sustainable livelihoods to village women in India. Each purchase provides needed revenue for empowerment programs serving rural women and street children in India. Anoothi works directly with Vatsalya, Jaimala Gupta’s Women’s Empowerment group.

I worked directly with Delta in Denver Colorado where we held an art event called, “Artful Women” (see Events link and scroll down to find the event and read more about it), a day long art exhibition where we displayed up our beautiful wares; my woven jewelry and the beautiful handmade textiles and jewelry made by Vatsalya’s,  Women’s Empowerment groups, held in a historic mansion in the heart of Denver. It is amazing to think that I will be meeting the women who created the beautiful wares that I shared an exhibition with just two years ago.

Another piece to the puzzle came from a beautiful Hindu concept called ‘Indra’s Net.’ It is said that above the palace of the Hindu god Indra, you can see an infinite net that covers the earth, suspended like an atmosphere. At each knot in the net there is a clear and radiant jewel that reflects all the other jewels.  Each jewel contains and mirrors the entire net and all the jewels that hold the net together. To me, Indra’s net is a metaphor for how each living part contains the whole and how the smallest unit is crucial to binding the threads of life.  (For more information about Indra’s Net, check out Mark Nepo’s book: Finding Inner Courage) In traveling to India, I will be going to the home of this beautiful concept. This philosophy speaks to and inspires both my artistic jewelry work and my worldview.

My current body of woven jewelry expresses and reflects the idea of Indra’s net in many incarnations. Every piece of jewelry is a woven net, with the threads of precious metals overlapping in every organic curve and within that net are many jewels. There is energy, vitality, in the work. It is united yet chaotic in its organic organization. Though difficult to articulate, this energy is very present when experiencing my work.

In terms of my worldview, I want to learn about how I am connected to the people of India and how my work is intricately and increasingly connected to people around the world through trade and globalization. I plan to share what I learn to my community through my art.

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PROJECT DETAILS:

 In Saharanpur, India I will be leading a paper bead-making workshop with their women cooperative group.

Malika working with the woman artisans

Malika and Lima Aklant work with the project: Global Heart Links, a grassroots effort to involve people in the West to use their resources to economically empower women in a city in North India. The project is centered around the selling of paper products that are designed and hand-painted by these women. The designs celebrate their cultural heritage and the fair wages paid empower them to improve their quality of life in their family and in their community. In addition to the women earning an income, funds are set aside for community development projects.

Example of a G.H.L greeting card

I am very excited to work with Malika and Lima Aklant.I will be teaching their women artisan coop a new skill, paper bead making, using the scraps from the paper products they are currently producing, to create unique and beautiful handmade beads . I will use these beads in my new jewelry series for the exhibition next year “Project India – Artisan Series 2012.”

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Vatsalya is a Sanskrit word meaning, unconditional motherly love. Vatsalya came into existence in 1995 by registering itself under Societies’ Act, 1958. The major activities of the organization, however, started in the year 2000. This included helping destitute and desperate children who lived on the footpath, conducting health check-ups, providing free medicines, organizing health education camps and counseling sessions, and so on. There is a unique Children’s Village on the outskirts of Jaipur where about 60 orphaned, abandoned and destitute children live under the loving care of Vatsalya’s staff. Through their outreach programs, they attend to the needs of over 800 children in slums every month. Vatsalya was created by its founders to make a difference in lives of these children mainly, however, as time passed, they expanded their vision. At present, Vatsalya has significant interventions in the fields of Health & HIV-AIDS & Women’s Empowerment.

Meet Jaimala, owner of Vatsalya

Vision: Transformation of Social & Economic Liabilities into Social & Economic Assets.

Mission: Help restore lost childhoods and improve the quality of life of the vulnerable members in their population through direct services, advocacy and the networking of thoughts and actions.


In Jaipur India I will be teaching a sari bead-making workshop with Vatsalya’s Women’s Empowerment group. Using the scraps from the recycled sari’s that they use to create their beautiful textile products, we will wrap wooden beads with this gorgeous fabric to make elegant and one-of-a-kind handmade beads! I will use these beads in my new jewelry for the exhibition next year “Project India – Artisan Series 2012”

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More details to come…

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SUPPORT:

If you would like to support Project India, please email Angela: angelalensch@gmail.com or you can send support to:

ANGELA LENSCH, 7653 STATE HIGHWAY 42, EGG HARBOR, WI 54209.

Thank you!

Everyone knows there is a lot of suffering in the world; my intention is not to depress but to elevate awareness that anyone can make a difference and do something to help. I invite you to join me on this journey. By supporting Project India, you will be helping make a difference in the world.

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3 responses to “PROJECT INDIA OVERVIEW

  1. Alicia Mulliken

    February 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I’m going to share this with a few friends who will be so interested in your work and in Project India.
    Alicia

     
  2. pat healy

    February 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    good luck. I am so happy for you.

     
  3. Bernie Strege

    March 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

    This is Bernie I love all the looks What a great trip. Have a good trip home

     

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