Summer of Content

Creative workshops in the mountains are an intrinsic part of the holiday season for many Chandigarhians

Written by Parul | Published: July 2, 2012 3:20 am

Creative workshops in the mountains are an intrinsic part of the holiday season for many Chandigarhians

Come June and the mountains call out loud to textile designer Deeksha Suri,who escapes from the heat and dust to soak in the serenity and get a break that’s creatively simulating. This summer the 30-year-old spent time with traditional weavers in Kullu. Her aim was to understand their unique art and observe the intricate relationship between the loom and the wool. “It’s a perfect break,one that combines keenness and research on traditional textiles,’’ says Suri.

The Andretta Pottery and Craft Society in the quaint village of Andretta in Palampur,which attracts potters from across the world,was where Suri and her students from a fashion institute spent a couple of days,creating pottery. They also spent some time at the Mud House designed by artist Norah Richards. “We had enrolled ourselves in a workshop and it was a memorable getaway,’’ says Suri.

With more people looking for breaks that are more than just sightseeing and shopping trips,the hills around Chandigarh are offering a lot of action of the creative and artistic kind. In the last couple of years,individuals,societies and NGOs have made an effort to organise workshops and activities that attract people to a brand-new experience.

For instance,the Kangra Arts Promotion Society and Voice of Himachal is an endeavour by creative people who have got together to revive Kangra miniature art by holding exhibitions,planning art appreciation courses and offering informal opportunities to learn from the masters. “We began by organising an exhibition at McLeod Ganj and inviting people to spend time with the master artists,providing them with basic material on the campus,’’ explains Varan Ratan Singh,who is part of the Society.

It’s in Manali’s scenic and cool environs that Emaho Exhibition has announced its five-day documentary workshop. Manik Katyal has chosen the venue to give participants a chance to be close to nature. To take place from July 12,the workshop will be organised by the Emaho Team in association with the internationally-renowned photographer and trainer Sam Harris from Australia. Open to both amateurs and professionals,attendees will get one-to-one training and experience in all technical and creative aspects of photography and Katyal says attendees may also get a chance to publish their best work in the Emaho Magazine. “Participants will get opportunities to practice their skills in the workshop venue and around,” says Katyal.

The Deer Park Institute,a centre for the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions in Bir,Kangra is a place photographer,writer,and aspiring filmmaker Hitesh Saini heads to every June. This time it was as a participant in the filmmaking workshops here. The Institute organises workshops,conferences and courses in various disciplines,including yoga and meditation and summer is especially busy. Saini says,this time the filmmaking and appreciation workshop demystified the medium of films,striving to teach young people how to make films with minimum resources. “Experienced facilitators,an absorbing environment,a chance to interact with people of diverse interests from across the world — it’s unusual.’’ Twenty-eight-year-old Sethi agrees that the setting of the campus in the lush mountains is a perfect break,far from the madding crowd.

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