Being part of WorldArtCommunity is full of surprises. Of the happy and amazing variety.Especially when one comes across new and unique forms of art and it’s expression – that leave us humbled and awed at the same time. And that’s exactly how we felt after meeting Professor Kripal Mathur and seeing her work in the space of textile art.
But to begin from the beginning.Born to parents of a literary and artistic mindset – Kripal’s artistic side manifested at an early age. Growing up in the lush environs of Pune – where her father was Head of the English department at the National Defence Academy, she was also exposed to Indian classical music, theatre, creative writing, textiles and fashion by her equally talented mother. Another blessing was the fact that her parents recognised and supported her artistic bent of mind , as well as the individual and different talents of her siblings.
Professor Mathur attributes a lot of her early fascination with all things literary and artistic to the fact that her parents were always there for her and her siblings. While her father introduced her to Shakespeare and the work of several English poets , her painter, musician, poet and playwright mother ensured a vibrant atmosphere in the house – with plays scripted and being performed, music of both the instrumental and vocal variety happening and designing and creating her own outfits from a tender age.
After completing an undergraduate degree – the lure of Art took Kripal to the prestigious National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, where she completed a post-graduate degree in Textile Design. This was where she realised her calling and was able to express her creativity – in the work she did as part of her course. She questioned the status quo and worked to infuse her art with freshness and rejuvenation.
She also developed her own unique style – with a lot of emphasis on contrasting colours, and did away with monotones from her life ! Her love for English poetry – in particular the poem “Ode to the West Wind” by renowned poet P.B. Shelley had a significant influence on her. Describing the poet and his poem as an intrinsic part of her life, it has been both a source of inspiration, and a guiding star.
After graduating with honours and with a signature collection of artistically designed carpets – which were framed as wall art, Kripal took the plunge in to the industry as a designer. But destiny had other plans . In 1993, Kripal Mathur was invited to set up the Textile Design Department by the Government of India at the then fledgling but prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology. Today after 21 odd years at the helm and having given her life to the students at NIFT – Professor Kripal Mathur looks back and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Starting from scratch – she created the department of Textile Design at NIFT, structured the curriculum for the post-graduate course, set up the printing, weaving and computer laboratories. And over the years, many gifted and well-known stars of the design and fashion world have honed their skills under the watchful eye and guidance of Professor Kripal Mathur.
In 1996, Kripal had the opportunity to study at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, for an Advanced Print Design Course. This helped broaden her outlook as a designer with strong Indian roots – to one with a global outlook and appeal.
Despite her immensely satisfying work as a design educationist, the creative artist was always there deep within. Over the years she created customised pieces of textile art in the form of wall carpets, appliqué, hand knotted pieces and more – for both Indian and international projects and exhibition displays. However – there was never enough time and bandwidth – given her work responsibilities, to create something sustained and meaningful that would be representative of her inspiration and creativity. So about eighteen months ago – Professor Kripal Mathur decided to take the plunge by designing and creating her first solo collection. Driven by her passion and the poetic inspiration of the “Ode to the West Wind ” – this was a collection of many firsts and was displayed at the Alliance Francaise de Delhi followed by a display at Dastakaar, in January 2015.
Waxing eloquent about the collection titled “ Zephyrus “ – Professor Mathur speaks about how each piece of intricate and detailed textile art has a story to tell. Be it about nature or about an emotion. There has also been a conscious effort to innovate and use different styles of creation for different effects and results in every piece. So you end up seeing a third dimension in what from a distance appears to be a wall art piece. Or the moulding of fabric to create contours and shapes using the technique of felt-work which has resulted in a crafted shape with fluid lines and curves to make it truly a one of a kind artwork.
The Zephyrus collection features carpets, wall-art, garments and more – using unusual techniques such as tie-dye, felt making, embroidery, appliqué and patchwork, tufted carpet weaving, etchings, and Persian Soumak weaving. These unique, one of a kind pieces are a true labour of love for Professor Mathur and she says she would be the happiest person – should she find a kindred soul who would appreciate and treasure her work.
While she believes that art lovers need to be sensitised to the beauty and potential of textile art – Professor Kripal Mathur is happy to continue working on her mission and inspiring upcoming young talent at the same time. And creating signature pieces for the world of art lovers to enjoy and cherish.
Check out her collection here.