Leaving from Newark to Nepal I sat quietly on the plane, anticipating the landing of a very long flight that didn’t even take off yet. Few minutes later a flight attendant handed me a menu to choose my dinner. On its front was the most gorgeous, magnified looking image of a rustic and wild spice Star anise I have ever seen. The image was so detailed it looked like an illustration.
Me, as one who studied scientific illustration, when I see something like this it’s like putting me in a giant house made of chocolate telling me ‘eat the house’.
I am not new to Star anise spice, I use it in cooking and I remember my botanical instructor has a collection of spices illustrated by her, in colored pencils. Star anise has a striking star shape and a smooth/rough unruly texture . It might look small and boring when you first look at it (really), but that’s the spice’s way to fool you. It’s filled with licorice taste and has a wonderful ability to “dye” cooked food. Believe me I know.
Most of the flight hours I spent starring at the image…it kept my mind busy by imagining myself drawing it. I planned to spend a whole day in the spice market when I land in India for a stop, and buy more of this gorgeous looking spice.
Back home I took colored pencils, paper and a cluster of Star anise spice I bought in India and got to work. I started sketching…erasing…sketching…didn’t realize how complicated it was going to be. I wanted to capture the composition the way I had seen it in the market…bits and pieces of the fruit’s shape and personality, crushed fruit…mood…the play of fibers.
It took me days to figure this out. Let me tell you, I almost didn’t have fun.
Finally, I finished my drawings…not as easy as you might think.
After I submitted my drawings to the factory in Nepal and emailed million instructions (just in case), all I could do was wait. I didn’t know what to expect but Vidal and I couldn’t wait to see the end results…quietly I kept my fingers crossed.
What we saw when the rug finally arrived…my forehead was sweaty…wow…
…the details were exquisite..the colors just right…texture, the whole composition…like a journey on a rug. Imagine the relief.
I cannot thank enough the wonderful people and artisans we work with…those who can stand my never-ending questions and emails…who help us execute our vision into reality…and finally…bring it to you.
One of my colored pencils drawing for “spice”.
The end results.
Some say that placing a Star anise under a pillow chases bad dreams away…imagine what a whole rug can do 😉