The Art of Flour Painting and How It Has Influenced My Silk Scarf Designs 


Art and traditional painting remain a strong influence throughout my silk scarf designs and I always seem to draw inspiration from photographs I have taken with interesting decorative images or ornamental patterns.

I thought I might share with you one of my travel stories to begin this post. I was staying in a homestay in Hampi, India. Every morning I would rise before sunrise and go for a walk before it got too hot in the midday. I would inevitably bump into my neighbour. Agloriously elderly lady who every morning would be out “preparing” the path just outside her house. She would clean the ground, wash away the dirt and debris and prepare the surface for her “ Kolam” painting. Crudely she would paint these wonderful geometric flowers in chalk flour paint. New ones every day as the wind or sometimes rain would wash them away. The designs were usually magical or religious motifs, mingled with fish, flowers, birds and other animals.

She would tell me… “ the rice rice will keep the ants from the door” and “ it will encourage other small animals, birds and creatures to take shelter." A sign of a welcoming home and gesture to the gods for prosperity and wealth. A wonderful daily tribute I thought to myself to a harmonious co-existence between man and beast. “Lines must be completed” she would say “or else evil will come though to your home”.

Kolam white four painting

I have also seen them painted for weddings and special seasonal celebrations where the whole streets are covered in these white flour chalk paintings. 

Decorative painted art is not only on the walls and streets in India. They also love to paint animals. In the city of Jaipur, elephants hold a place of reverence in the Hindu religion. I was lucky enough to have experienced first hand the Purham Elephant Festival. Here elephants are garbed in the finest brocade costumes and are elaborately painted with vibrant coloured chalk paint. Usually these drawings consist of motifs of birds, flowers and animals. They are also adorned with anklets and gold plated head plates. Their tusks are garnished with silver and gold rings, bells and bracelets and the Mahout or riders sit mounted on top holding beautifully ornate parasols.

Another festival that is celebrated with painting and colour is the riotous festival of Holi. This ancient Hindu festival is one of the worlds most colourful events. Celebrated in spring, participants pelt each other with coloured rice paint. Holi powders are made from dried and ground red sandalwood, green henna leaves, spinach leaves, coriander leaves, rose petals, beetroot and blue hibiscus flowers.

There is boundless inspiration for me through wall art and chalk flour painting. This silk scarf design called Purham, is dedicated and inspired by the elephant festival. Its spectacular display of colour and decorative procession, sparked marvellous memories and imagination for me. Thank you India for continuously offering such fabulous displays of extravagance, surprise and intrigue. 

Purham Silk scarf