11 Feb 2014

Moon Ship

                             Moon Ship, emulsion paint, gold acrylic and space gel.

I found the history that I 'lost' for the schooner below.
My name is Rajan Koshy  Artist & curator of Rice Straw Museum. 
This unique art is in the list of endangered form of leaf art. Less than 100 artists practice this ancient art around the world and I am the only rice straw artist in USA. Rice Straw art is an ancient & endangered leaf art existed many centuries ago but very few people knew about this art, also handfuls of artists still practice this unique, beautiful leaf art. This art originated in the southern tip of India called Kerala & in danger of being extinct. Not many people want to learn this art because they can make better living doing something else.
I learned this leaf art working with some of the masters of this art. I lived with them and learned this art and practice this unique art in Galveston, Texas. Now I to create an awareness of the beauty & uniqueness of this special art. You have to see it to believe they are made out of rice straw ( Dried leaves of rice plant). No color paint or dye added to the natural color of rice straw. All the colors or hues you see in rice straw art is natural colors of rice straw. This art originated before we knew how to make color, paint or dye. The artists selected & sorted out different colored straw, opened it with a sharp tool flattened it out, apply glue ( gum Arabic is the glue used & it is the sap from a tree ) on one side placed it on a cloth or paper and cut with a double edged razor blade. Before the razor blades they used sharp stones to cut the rice straw. Everything used to create rice straw art is natural substances like leaves, rice straw, glue, stones etc. even now the artists use the same techniques as used by the forefathers. No two leaves or leaf art look exactly alike. It origin goes way back in time to hundreds (may be thousands) of years when people didn't know how to make paints, colors or dyes. The shades of rice straw goes from pale brown to golden brown and everything in between. Some work take half hour and some others take weeks to complete. Some work has twenty to thirty pieces of rice straw and some others have three to five thousands of tiny pieces in it. Especially in portraits, each strand of hair is over a dozen tiny pieces of rice straw. 

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