Monday, January 12, 2009

What's Right: Janakpur Art Center

These beautiful pillows are just three of the designs made at the Janakpur Art Center. The fabric is from the nettle plant and the vegetable-dyed colors are very rich. All very Mother Earth friendly. I have four of these pillows, all with indigenous motifs.

The Janakpur Art Center is located in, well, uh, Janakpur and it is another example of a women's craft cooperative changing the lives of women artisans and their families through economic development. They are working with me to create additional items such as table runners, placemats and coasters. The motifs are traditionl ones from the Mithilia culture. Janakpur is located in southeast Nepal near the border of India.

The people of this region (including the northern part of India)also depict scenes from their daily lives in Mithila paintings. These scenes can now be found on photo frames, jewelry boxes, textiles, and furniture. The women are adapting their art in ways that will be marketable and will help sustain the tradition. Oh yeah, their craft puts rice (instead of bread) on the table too. Below is a village marriage ceremony scene. The best part is to sit with someone from the Terai region of Nepal and enjoy their teachings on what the symbols and scenes in the painting mean. Enjoy!


  1. mal and wendy said...
    What a lovely blog Jules. I am an Australian living in eastern Nepal working with some ladies in Jhapa who make beautiful polymer clay jewellery. Is it OK to send you our website address? We have hopeless internet here so I am not up with blog etiquette (don't get to check out many but have been trying to track down email address for the JWDC!) and don't want to do anything inappropriate!

    I am hoping to get to Janakpur in the next couple of months but we are about to start a training program that wil keep us all a bit busy!

    Best wishes with all that you are doing. Sounds wonderful and I can totally understand your love for this place. I was hooked in '75 and eventually made it back.

    Let me know if it's OK to mention the site and I will send you the address.
    Warm regards, Wendy
    Jules West said...
    Yes, please send me your website.
    I would love to see what the women are doing!

    My email is

    I now have a design business in Nepal.

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