A tour of artist Geeta Khandelwal’s Bombay home

On a recent visit to Bombay I was privileged to visit the home of eminent quilting artist, textile collector and author of Godharis of Maharastra, Geeta Khandelwal with Judy Frater and a group of artisan-designers from Kutch and Karnataka. The exhibition of Bhujodi and Bagalkot weaves and Suf and Lucknow embroideries (I have written about the project in a previous post) had finished the day before and there was a free morning before everyone had trains to catch home. The idea was for the artisans to experience the home of the kind of customer who buys their textiles, to further their market knowledge and have a first hand insight, which is usually difficult for the artisans living in isolated rural areas.

Everything is decorated in Geeta's house. Ralli quilts cover this table and chair while the Buddha statue wears a garland

Everything is decorated in Geeta’s house. Ralli and kantha quilts cover this table and chair while the Buddha statue wears an antique necklace

Geeta is also a former advisory board member for the International Quilt Study Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska and ran a business collecting and selling quilts. Her interest in textiles began at an early age and she developed a high level of skill in needlework, patchwork and quilting, and other textile techniques which she continues to experiment with. Geeta showed us some samples of natural dyeing using shibori techniques, as well as some quilts which she had produced as part of community projects. She conducted a workshop at the Prince of Wales Museum during which members used appliqué and stitch on a square of fabric to express their hopes for the new government (just as Modi was elected prime minister). Each square was then stitched together into a quilt that was on display temporarily at the Museum.

Can you spot the crow on the balcony fence? Its not real - its bronze collected on a visit to Africa

Can you spot the crow on the balcony fence? Its not real – it is a bronze piece collected on a visit to Africa

For the lavishly illustrated and well-documented Godharis of Maharastra, Geeta explored and documented the living quilt traditions of villages and towns in Maharastra. Her home reflects her varied and extensive career, her imagination and creativity and her warm and joyful personality.

Chaise long decorated with a quilt from Pakistan and embroidered and appliqued bolster and cushions

Chaise long decorated with a quilt from Pakistan and embroidered and appliqued bolster and cushions

Dining room - the vivid red walls provide a complimentary backdrop to the beautiful South East Asian textiles on the walls

Dining room – the vivid red walls provide a complimentary backdrop to the beautiful South East Asian textiles on the walls

Niche in dining room displaying an array of Geeta's collected objects from around the world

Niche in dining room displaying an array of Geeta’s collected objects from around the world

Living room - so much to look at!

Living room – so much to look at! The footstool on the left is covered with one of Geeta’s quilts

Space is used wonderfully, and you can see careful attention to detail everywhere in Geeta's house. This alcove in the hallway makes for a calm place to sit with even more beautiful pieces of art to look at - opposite on each step leading to this hallway are statues of gods an Shiva's nanda, which you can also see printed on the cushion in this picture

Space is used wonderfully, and you can see careful attention to detail everywhere in Geeta’s house. This alcove in the hallway makes for a calm place to sit with even more beautiful pieces of art to look at – opposite on each step leading to this hallway are statues of gods and Shiva’s nanda, which you can also see printed on the cushion in this picture

The light and airy back room. The terrace garden is to the right

The light and airy back room.

And there's yet more quirky details in the terrace garden. Love the stone pigeons on the roof

And there’s yet more quirky details in the terrace garden. Love the stone pigeons on the roof

Chatting on the sofa (made with lovely central Asian Ikat cushions) Geeta is in the middle in turquoise sari. To the right is Judy Frater and on the left is Tulsi Pavar, a suf embroidery artisan from Faradi village, Kutch and further left is Mr Hoti, secretary of the Kamatgi village weavers cooperative society in Bagalkot district

Chatting on the sofa (made with lovely central Asian Ikat cushions) Geeta is in the middle in turquoise sari. On the right is Judy Frater and on the left is Tulsi Pavar, a suf embroidery artisan from Faradi village, Kutch and further left is Mr Hoti, secretary of the Kamatgi village weavers cooperative society in Bagalkot district

2 Comments

  1. Very Nice. And good to see the Godhari as the living tradition it is. My mother in law was very passionate about these godharis.
    I also think its wonderful how a fabric gets a second innings by way of these godharis and adds beauty and utility to someones life.

  2. What a beautiful textile-filled home and life. The book looks exquisite. I have never seen this style of quilt before and am now intrigued to learn more. Thank you so much for a very interesting insight into Geeta and quilts from this region of India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *