India Interior Design Blog: Kala Pohl : Art, jewelry and Amithi
I blog about my art, handcrafted jewelry, décor, travel, food, my non-profit and anything else that catches my fancy. The tone of my blog is positive and upbeat and reflects my personality.
My heritage is South Indian (Kerala), but I was born and grew up in Malaysia. I got married and moved to the U.S. in 1984 and worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years. My journey as an artist, however, began when I was a child. I experimented with water color, batik design and eventually acrylics.
Working full-time did not give me much time to focus on my art. So, in 2002, I retired from the technology world and launched a full-time art career.
I am a Contemporary Folk Artist (www.kalapohl.com) and my art is in private collections throughout the United States, Southeast Asia, Australia and Europe. In 2007, I launched my Handcrafted Jewelry business.
I began blogging in 2008 to market my art and jewelry. Soon it morphed into something much bigger. It became a place to share all of my interests – photography, food, travel, spiritual growth, my non-profit (Amithi) and my take on life. A place that reveals more of the person that I am.
It has been a lot of fun, an eye-opener in many ways. I am an introvert and blogging has opened up a whole new world for me. It gives me the opportunity to work on my writing and photography skills.
Blogosphere is an excellent source of inspiration and a great place to find like-minded friends. I have developed some good friendships over the years.
My husband and I are into contemporary interior design, though we also lean towards the eclectic:) Our home is decorated with my art, as well as art and decor items that we have picked up on our travels.
We collect glass and ceramics from local artisans and you will see it all over our home. My husband is also an artist. He sketches and is a wood-worker, so he handcrafts all of the frames for my paintings.
We love color and know that it has a definite impact on our well-being. So, our home is painted every 3 years and this time around we decided on the warm tones of reds, oranges and yellows.
My favourite posts (click on title to read the post)
My tips on creativity:
Become a child again. Explore the arts without fear or judgement. We are all artists at heart and we used to believe that when we were kids. However, once adult life and responsibilities took over, creativity became frivolous. Just the process of creating brings about relaxation and reduces stress. So, begin your creative journey, even if it is in a small way.
My tips on decorating:
1. Experiment with wall color. It is only paint, if you don’t like it, paint over. This one is a tough one for a lot of people, but in reality the easiest to do. I paint small sections in different rooms and see what they look like in the morning and evening lights. I paint my home every 3-5 years, so that the energy feels refreshed.
2. Select items that speak to you. Surround yourself with pieces that you love, or given to you with love. Every piece should tell a story. Most of the pieces in my home are conversation starters, they all have a story. Either my own story of how I came to purchase it, my relationship with the person who gifted it or the story from the person who created it.
3. Eclectic is fun, so mix and match. Travelling through Asia and Europe, I pick up décor pieces that I love. The colour, shape or story behind it captures my interest. I usually have no idea where I am going to place them in my home, but somehow every piece finds its own place and fits in so nicely with everything else.
4. Arrange, rearrange furniture until it feels right to you. I move things around at least twice a year. A favourite chair gets moved to a different room, the treadmill moves to a new location, etc.
5. Keep an inspiration folder – keep magazine photos, take your own photos of rooms you like. I have many folders of magazine tear outs and articles. Sometimes I like the furniture design, other times I just like the color combination. A lot of these are also inspiration for my jewelry designs. And they are huge mood enhancers, for when you are feeling down. Just looking at all that eye candy makes me bounce back again.
My adventures and passions
My passions include photography, interior decoration, experimenting with different types of cuisine (though my husband is the chef in the family), reading and travelling.
My biggest passion and adventure right now is my non-profit, Amithi. Amithi is Sanskrit for Boundless or Without Limit. It symbolises the boundless strength we all have within us (www.amithi.org). Our mission is to promote relaxation using the arts (painting, crafts, music, dance, poetry and drama), meditation, movement exercises (Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong), nutritional education and community service. We conducted programs in South India, Malaysia and Singapore in 2010. This year, we launched a program for the local community in Tampa, Florida called Creative Relaxation Through The Arts.
My goals and aspirations
My future plans are to continue to grow my art and jewelry business online. Through Amithi, I want to share the skills and techniques necessary to help people reduce stress in their lives and to spread the benefits of Amithi worldwide.
I am also contemplating a Fashion Blog of sorts for women over 50 – with an Indian flavour. As an Indian woman over 50, I find that most of the tips on the do’s and don’ts of fashion don’t apply to me. For example, the Indian skin is in much better shape at 50, so no need to wear clothing that hides the neck, etc. And if I do feel like hiding my neck, a beautiful shawl works much better than a turtle neck. I believe fashion is personal and should reflect one’s personality at any age, without forgoing fun, color and uniqueness. Indian fabrics, jewelry and designs are so rich and dramatic that I would love to integrate them with the western attire gracefully.