My friend Vimala is a true eccentric and her amazingness only grows with age.

South African by birth, today she lives the life of a hermit near the holy mountain Arunachala in the south of India.

Ten years ago when we first met, Vimala picked up a brush for the first time.

Her entire life she’d been convinced that she “couldn’t paint” but her mystical and whimsical paintings had a different opinion and were impatiently waiting to materialize.

[pic  – painted self portrait “3rd Eye Kung Fu”]

Needless to say, Vimala hasn’t put the brush down since.

In 2008 we went to Mexico and there, inspired by the vibrant art and handicraft scene of Oaxaca, Vimala told me her paintings “refused to be hidden under [her] bed any longer”.   She began a quest that would finally turn into the most amazing and original pillow art I’ve ever seen.

[pic  – “Kiss to Frida Kahlo”]

She found a family in war-torn Kashmir, that were brave enough to join her.   applying their traditional hookwork skills to make pillow art, translating designs so unlike any they were used to.

[pic – “My Heart has Wings”]

The entire extended family is involved in the production.  They dye the wool themselves, the women do the hookwork and the men then stitch the actual covers together.  This tradition has been handed down many generations and even though they work extremely fast, due to their many years of experience, it still takes two full days to complete one cushion cover.

[pic – “Orchid”]

They start off with the colours as per Vimala’s original design and then change the colours completely. Each different colour combination changes the vibration and look of the cushion completely.  Only a few of each colour combination gets made, so they always look a little different and it is a constantly evolving work.  They never mass produce any combination.

[pic  “flying rikshas painting” and pic  “flying rikshas cushion cover”]

The fruits of this beautiful collaboration is now, for the first time, available in Canada at Boutique Katrin Leblond.

Hurry to get yours.

[pic – “strawberry fields”]

Share your gifts and make the world a more beautiful place!

Katharina B

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