One of the things I wanted to do most on this trip was revisit Fatehpur Sikri, a palace an hour outside of Agra. It was one of my favorite places when I was studying in India in 2007, and I was enthralled by the carved designs covering every surface of the stone buildings. When I got back to school the next fall, I did a linoleum print of the carving above. This turned into the idea for my senior thesis. For my year-end gallery show, I did an installation with a quilt based on the carvings at Fatehpur Sikri. It was easily the biggest project I have ever worked on: the quilt was 50 feet long and took an entire year to print and sew each square together.
After the show, I started selling some prints to friends, then friends-of-friends, and then to strangers. I branched out to some other items like stationery, and started selling more. Eventually, I couldn't keep up with all the orders while working a full-time job, so I quit to work full-time for myself.
So, the quilt started it all.
On our trip to Agra we went back to Fatehpur Sikri and hunted down all of the designs I had used in the quilt. We found them all, and the carvings all seemed so familiar after spending a year working with them every day. They were just as enthralling the second time as they had been on my first visit, and I spent the morning taking hundreds of pictures, some of which will make their way into my future designs.
All gallery photos © 2009 Katharine Watson