India Changed Me



Patterns, tessellated, hexagonal, stars.

Sun gate, moon gate, lion’s gate, more.

Kingfisher Strong.

Blessing, anointing, flower petals, pattern again.

Filth, poverty, caste, oppression, freedom, slavery.

Chanting, prayer, empty, full, covered, uncovered,

Lost, found.

Chanting, prayer, empty, full, covered, uncovered,

Lost, found.

 - Amanda Jolley

My first trip across the ocean was to The Netherlands in 2009. I went with a group with the purpose of experiencing Amsterdam and a few other locations through the lens of art history. We visited historical places, the museums, kirks (churches), all the while meeting each day to learn more about the history of art and culture. Wonderful trip, along with other various trips that I've truly enjoyed along the way.

But then my husband and I went to India in 2017 and I had my mind blown. We went with a group led by Sue Stover and Michelle Fletcher. We spent time learning from artisans and visiting ancient structures. While we did some art making of our own while on the trip, India offered so much in way of texture, sound, and color that my own art making seemed unimportant at the time. I had a desire to be fully attentive to what India was presenting. I found myself writing poetry in the early morning as I burned my incense and prepared for the day ahead. A strange magic was happening in my soul. I found myself blooming.

Upon my return home, I could tell as I entered my studio that a profound change had happened within. My approach to life returned to center. My painting process shifted. I no longer cared about outcome and just let the paintings pour out. My view of day to day changed. My ability to say no came easier as my focus sharpened. India flowed out into my day to day. It wasn’t so much that I was reproducing anything that I saw there, but rather that an essence was pouring forth.

Needless to say, I wanted to return. I am fortunate that Sue did as well, and not only Sue, but some of my family. After seeing the profound effect India had on my husband and I, the siblings started planning and this past January we went back with family. While the focus of our trip was different, more touristy, my love for India did not wane. My family says its one of the best trips they have ever taken. Life-changing.

As Sue and I planned for the trip to Gujarat, India next January, we were united in what we wanted to share with the group. This includes not only the a hands-on textile experience with local artisans and cultural immersion, but also a sense of support and inclusion. One thing I feel very strongly about is that those that trust us on this adventure are given space to blossom as we journey together and explore the patterns, process, architecture, food, color, texture, smells...

-Amanda Jolley