MFAM Week 6: Diwali Days

MFAM header copy

It’s week six of the My Favorite Art Museum series, and this week I’m on time! Amazing, I know.  With Diwali coming up, I thought now would be a good time to look at the Nelson’s collection of Indian sculpture. (Confession: Diwali starts on November 3, and I was going to work on this project the week before, but I mixed up the dates and didn’t realize my mistake until midnight last night. Whoops…)

The Nelson’s collection features a variety of gods and goddesses, as well as representations of several myths. As with the Greek/Roman and Chinese collections, I was drawn to the sculptures’ intricate details. The sculptures feature include gently draped fabric, ornate jewelry, and clothing that is definitely not safe for work.

IMG_4330b“What do you mean this doesn’ t comply with the company’s dress code?”
Durga, 6th Century
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Obviously, I can’t really copy the goddess’s outfit (that would be a very different blog…), but I can draw on her style. Walking through the Indian galleries, I noticed the way the figures’ garments draped across their bodies. The folded and gathered areas almost looked like stripes. I could work with that.

IMG_0609bSeated Buddha (detail), 9th-10th Century
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

I also noticed the way the gods and goddesses accessorized. Each wore ornate belts, arm bands, necklaces, and earrings. I could work with that too.

IMG_0611bShiva and Parvati (detail), 9th-10th Century
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

IMG_4326bA Yogini (detail), 9th-10th Century
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The steadily dropping temperatures around here aren’t conducive to the seated Buddha’s off the shoulder look, so I decided to create a wrap instead.  I chose a large remnant of a burgandy and teal stripped fabric for the wrap. To accessorize, I’d create a belt using a small decorative plate and a broken necklace (not pictured).

IMG_4693bFabric detail.

Yep. I’m going to wear this plate.

The wrap was pretty straightforward. The remnant was approximately 60in x 35 in. Using the diagram below, you can see where I cut arm holes (dashed lines), leaving several inches at the top of the fabric to act as a collar.

diagramNot to scale. Click to view larger diagram.

Once I had cut the slits for my arms, I finished the edges on the sides, top, and bottom.

IMG_4679Finishing the edges.

To create the belt, I cut the butterflies off of the plate, leaving the excess metal by the top of the wings. Using my jewelry making tools, I curled the excess pieces of metal back on itself, creating a small tube that I could put chain links through.

butterfliesDisassemble and curl ends under.

After all the butterfly pieces were ready, I linked them all together and added the broken necklace chain to the mix.

IMG_4677bLink together.

Once the belt was put together, I added clasps to either end of the butterfly chain, and small rings to the inside of the wrap. Then I attached the belt to the wrap, so that the belt was keeping the wrap from slipping off or fluttering around too much.

I paired my new wrap/belt combo with my favorite jeans, a black sweater, and black boots. Not really an outfit you’d want to wear in India, but it’s perfect for the chilly Midwest.

after copyMFAM Week 6: Indian Art

Can you believe we’re already moving on to week seven? We’re almost to the end! Don’t forget to check back next weekend for the next MFAM installment, and remember, please don’t touch the art.

Image credits:
They’re all mine again


  • The MadMama says:

    WOW! Oh my gosh, I’m speechless! Great job on the wrap, I love it! But that belt! You are amazing! I want that! Ha! :)
    I’ll be sad to see this series come to an end for sure.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks! It took me a while to decide what to do for India, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

      - Elizabeth
      aka The Hungry Octopus

      • Elizabeth says:

        And I’m kicking around ideas for a couple new series next year, so hopefully those will work out. :)

        - Elizabeth
        aka The Hungry Octopus

Leave a Reply