last goodbyes at CTET

Saturday 13th February, 1st day of Spring in Bangladesh and my last day at Dhaka. I took the chance to say goodbye to the students at CTET in the morning. Some of the work submitted from the workshops was very good and I decided to award 5 prizes, for workmanship and enthusiasm! I was presented with a crest from the college and Mr Belal gave me a signed copy of his book he has been working on for the past 12 years, and the students from the 2nd group gave me some sweet presents too, and all the students wrote down their favourite places to visit in Bangladesh (already thiking of going back!). Masud and Nahin from the British Council were there and spoke to the students about their experiences. It was a joy to work with everyone and it was sad to say goodbye..

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back to the future

I am back in the UK and it seems to take a long time to settle in again, meaning even though I have been back 2 weeks I somehow still feel I am in no mans land not quite in Bangladesh not in Cornwall either! I guess it will take time to absorb and digest all the experiences and colours so I am not panicking yet and very thankful to those who deal with my absent mindlessness so well.

I will keep uploading images and information from my last weeks in Bangladesh and from developments on the project here in the UK, so do watch this space!

Its lovely to be joined by 2 bangladeshi designers ,Jihan and Farzana, who are sharing the residency in Falmouth and spending 2 weeks each at the college. This week they are overlapping! More on them in a separate entry.

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last rays of sunshine worlds apart

the last week went past very fast, so fast I didn’t have time to upload more on the blog! Before I knew it Saturday came and I was frantically trying to pack and say goodbyes! I am now in Dubai for another few hours, on a stopover to see Josef, one of my oldest friend, and get some last rays of sunshine before I head back to the UK this evening.

the last week was full of interesting visits and meetings, the natural dyeing course was in the morning and then Laura and me would treck round town on textile adventures. I will upload pictures and info on my last week in the next few days, so watch this space!

till then see below the bling bubble of Dubai, possibly the most opposite place to Dhaka! Its surreal being here, I feel like I have been thrown into a magazine or a film set, people look artificial! saying that dinner at Atlantis on the palm tree resort was absolutely amazing, a true world of aquatic wonders and luxury and we kept getting mistaken for Valentine sweethearts but didn’t turn away the chocolates and flowers! see http://www.atlantisthepalm.com/

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fame!

My journey has been featured in Bangladeshi press, both on the english speaking Daily Star last weekend and today on the Bangladeshi newspaper Amardesh!

for the Daily Star article see http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine/2010/02/01/heritage.htm

and you can see (and read in Bangla if you can) the amardesh article on http://www.amardeshonline.com/pages/details/2010/02/09/17682

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Natural Dyeing course at Aranya

This week I am taking part in a natural dyeing course at Aranya. We are a small but very international group of students from Turkey, Greece, Nepal, India and the UK, and we are spending each morning at Aranya learning about different dyeing techniques using sustainable natural dyes. Some snippets of our time so far can be seen in the pictures below!It has been wonderful being at such a creative busy environment and to see how the beautiful Aranya textiles are created.

Ruby Ghuznavi of Aranya is a specialist in natural dyes and over the past 35 years has worked hard to revive and sustain natural dyeing techniques in Bangladesh. Her team have been exceptionally helpful and informative and we have already learnt so much!  Thank you to our teacher Shamim for being so patient with our million questions and requests!

I will share all my knoweledge with my students in Falmouth (where natural dyeing is already very popular) and I am thinking of continuing my natural dyeing experiments in the summer in Greece too!

Please note the copyright for all the pictures and videos posted on the blog and flickr belong to Ismini Samanidou and Gary Allson and may not be used without permission

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one day tourist: part B Dhaka sites

In the afternoon we returned to Dhaka and made a dash round town to see Dhaka University, (or Oxford of the East), the Mughal Palace Lalbagh Fort, the Dhakeswari Temple Shankharia Bazar (Hindu Street), Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace), Sadarghat (River front) and Star Mosque. My favourite part of the afternoon was when we went on a walk in Old Dhaka and got to try pan, see how all families live together in one room (Old Dhaka is the most overpopulated are in Bangladesh), went on the roof to see the young boys flying kites, and the monkeys jumping from one building to another. I knew I would have to re read everything Massum was telling me so I kept taking photographs (465 in total).

I will update this entry with more facts in the next few days, till then enjoy the richness and colour of Bangladeshi culture!

Please note the copyright for all the pictures and videos posted on the blog and flickr belong to Ismini Samanidou and Gary Allson and may not be used without permission

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One day tourist: part A Sonargaon

Last Friday in my attempt to see Bangladesh as a tourist I took a one (very long) day tour with Guide Tours http://www.guidetours.com to see Sonargaon, the old capital, and to visit some important buildings in central Dhaka too. My guide Massum, a philosophy graduate from Dhaka University was excellent, with lots of information for every site we visited and lots of patience for my questions and endless photographs!

I need to refresh my memory on all the historical facts so for now I will attach the pictures and the information will follow!

We first visited Sonargaon, the country’s first capital, to see the folk museum and the old buildings, and was surprised to see there were people living there even though the buildings were barely standing. Sonargaon was busy with local tourists, mainly younger visitors and families, all eager to take in the historical sites and socialize on their day off. I loved the patchwork of surfaces and layers in the old buildings.

Please note the copyright for all the pictures and videos posted on the blog and flickr belong to Ismini Samanidou and Gary Allson and may not be used without permission

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