Prompt 9: The Pop-up

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Prompt 9

1 – The Ritual:

For this prompt, I chose to pick up on one Ceremonial Parsi Ritual, the Navjote – a ritual through which an individual is inducted into the Zoroastrian religion and begins to wear the Sedreh and Kushti.

2.0 – The Ritual – Step by step guide:

2.1 Nahan & Nirangdin – Physical and Spiritual Cleansing

Before the navjote ceremony, the initiate undertakes a ritual bath called the nahan, in a bathroom within walking distance of the area where the ceremony will take place. During this time, friends and family seat themselves and await the arrival of the initiate. In addition to cleaning the body, the nahan includes a spiritual purification called the nirangdin that enables the initiate to enter the faith in a state of spiritual purity. Here, in preparation for the bath, the initiate under the guidance of the officiating priest, recites a prayer and chews a pomegranate leaf (also see baresman). The initiate then either takes a small sip or symbolically places her or his lips to a small metal container containing nirang (consecrated white bull’s urine called taro or gomez when not consecrated). The taro is ritually consecrated to nirang in advance and is believed to have cleansing properties (also see Darmesteter 5.5). The priest will have added to the nirang, a pinch of the bhasam or the consecrated ash from a fire at the fire-temple. The nirang (taro) ritual is part of an ancient practice when taro was used externally and internally as a disinfectant before the advent of modern anti-bacterial agents. While strange today, thousands of years ago, the practice saved lives. When nirang-taro is not available, pomegranate juice can be used as a substitute. While the bath symbolizes external physical cleansing, the nirangdin represents internal spiritual cleansing. Put in another way, through the nahan and nirangdin rituals, the initiate symbolically prepares herself or himself to partake in the navjote ceremony with clean hands, and a clean heart as well. The symbolism also reminds the initiate that good health is needed to undertake the rigours and responsibilities of life. In the photograph to the left, the priest can be seen giving the initiate a small container. In all likelihood, this container contained taro. Also in the photograph, note the white, powdered chalk design, called chuna or rangoli, outside the threshold of the bathroom as well as the string of flowers (often tuberoses) on the upper frame of the door called a toran (for more on torans see the page on marriage customs). This practice is both decorative and thought to be auspicious. The priest stands outside the door while the initiate bathes behind closed doors. After the bath, the initiate puts on a loose fitting white trouser somewhat like a pyjama, a shawl wrapped over the shoulders, back and chest, and a prayer cap. Zoroastrians cover theirs heads while praying.

2.2 – Ceremonial Walk and Achu Michu

The female members of the family headed by the eldest woman, in this case the initiate’s grandmother, play a significant role in accompanying the initiate from the bathroom to the ceremony hall. They carry with them a tray called a sace or ses containing symbolic utensils, a coconut, flowers or a garland, sugar, rice and a set of new clothes, Including a new sudrah and kusti that the initiate will wear after the ceremony. The belief is that this is a particularly vulnerable time for the initiate as the temptations of evil assail the new initiate in order to introduce doubt and turn the initiate away from the chosen path. Therefore, once the group arrives at the initiation area, the eldest woman, here the initiate’s grandmother, exorcises any lurking evil, and prepares the initiate to begin the initiation process, cloaked as it were, with an aura of protection. During the ritual called achu michu a raw egg is circled around the initiate’s head seven times to absorb and ward off evil. Alternatively, rather than circling the egg over the head, the elder can walk around the initiate seven times before smashing the egg on the ground beside the initiate’s feet destroying any exorcised evil or the evil that may have been cast on the initiate. The process can be repeated with water, rice, betel nut, dates (placed in the tray or held in the hand) and finally a coconut which is also smashed on the ground. Each presumably has a special quality to absorb or ward off evil. The ritual has no support or justification in Zoroastrianism. It is nevertheless an interesting tradition that adds to the various rituals of the ceremony. The symbolism is that Zoroastrians are ever vigilant against evil and seek to walk the path of Asha or goodness.

2.3 – Navjote Ceremony Setting The Patet:

The initiate seeks repeatance The Patet: The initiate seeks repentance The traditional ceremony is conducted with priests and the initiate sitting on the floor or on a raised platform. Where priests are not available, the ceremony is conducted by an elder or someone familiar with the rites. The officiating priest sits directly opposite (facing) the initiate. The initiate and sometimes the officiating priest are flanked by assistants. One of the assistants maintains the fire called the Atash Dadgah. The initiate sits on a low stool, called a patlo, covered with a white sheet. Most Zoroastrian ceremonies are conducted on the floor covered with a white sheet called a sofreh. The practice reminds Zoroastrians to be humble, to be grounded and to stay connected with the earth and nature. The sace or ses, that in our photographic tour was carried by the mother and aunt, is placed beside the initiate. The sace contains new clothes as well as a sudrah and kusti with which the initiate will be invested. When sitting opposite one another, the initiate sits facing the sun. During the investiture, the priest will stand behind the initiate and both will face the source of light. The area is decorated with strings of flowers.

2.4 –  Patet – Repentance

The final step in preparation for initiation into the faith including investiture with articles of faith, is repentance for past sins. This final spiritual cleansing enables the person to start a new-life, a nav-jote. This part of the ceremony is preformed sitting down, with the initiate and head priest facing one another. The officiating priest and any assistants begin the patet prayers. The initiate joins the prayers if she or he knows the prayers or can follow along. If not, the initiate is expected to silently repeat the Ahunavar (Yatha Ahu Variyo). At the conclusion of the patet, the initiate and officiating priest rise to stand facing one-another marking the start of the investiture ceremony and the navjote proper. Once standing, together they begin to recite the kusti prayers, prayers for untying and retying the kusti. Investiture At the conclusion of the patet, the initiate and officiating priest rise to stand facing one-another marking the start of the investiture ceremony

2.5 – Fravarane – Pledge of Faith

The pledge of faith made by the initiate at the navjote ceremony and daily thereafter, is called the Fravarane. The Fravarane contains the creed of the faith: to commit to a life based on good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The following lines are taken from the closing lines of the Fravarane as stated in Yasna 12.

2.6 – Tandorosti

Blessing The ceremony ends with the initiate and priest opposite one another, and the priest offering blessings – praying that the initiate may enjoy a long, healthy and righteous life full of grace. In Persian, tan means body and dorost means correct or healthy in this case. This stage starts with the priest placing a tila or kunkun (a red powder paste that adheres to the forehead when dry, symbolizing a third, spiritual eye. This is a custom borrowed from the Hindus), a garland around the initiates neck, a coconut, a bouquet of flowers, and betel-nut leaves in the initiates hands. As the priest recites the blessings, he sprinkles the initiate with rice and flower petals, figuratively showering him with good fortune. Navjote – The initiate and his parents Priest showering the initiate with flower petals during the tandorosti Navjote – The initiate and his parents The initiate’s mother congratulates him after the tandorosti The initiate has now been initiated into the Zoroastrian faith according to its rites and customs.

2.7 – Celebration & Festivities – Sharing of Food

Once the priest has left, the festivities celebrating the initiation and coming of age start with the congregation coming up to congratulate the initiate and give the initiate gifts, usually envelopes of cash. When the congratulations and the giving of gifts have finished, the gathering retires to share a meal together. In India, the custom is, or was, to use banana leaves as disposable plates. For a person who has just entered the age of reason, and for whom the navjote is also a coming of age celebration, the person is from this day onwards, responsible and accountable for every thought, word and deed.

3 – The Navjote

Prompt 8: Transportation

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Prompt 8

1 – Realisations:

This semester I have investigated and looked into Parsi rituals, specifically, the rituals every Parsi will go through at one point in their life in the Zoroastrian faith. After researching into them I have been trying to tackle how to preserve and then in turn present it to my audience (Parsi Diaspora Youth).

2 – The Shift:

For this prompt, I took a step back and chose to try and understand what these ‘Parsi rituals’ mean to me. I chose the most prominent and auspicious symbol in our community, which is used in every ritual that we have in our community, the Ses. It is a round metallic tray of varied shapes and sizes, present at all times in a Parsi house, especially on auspicious occasions. The Ses for general occasions is a small one and the Ses for special occasions, like weddings and Navjotes, is a big one.

Typically a ses consists of:
Divo : Symbolises light – to dispel darkness and evil.
Paro / Soparo : It is a conical metallic utensil in which patasha and/or rock sugar (khadi sakar) is kept. 
Pigani: It is a small metallic utensil with a lid in which Kanku (vermilion) is kept to put an auspicious red mark/tili on the forehead.
Gulabaz: It’s a metallic sprinkler-cum-container, which has rose water (Gulaab-jal) in it. Miscellaneous items: Coconut (a symbol of resourcefulness and Utility), betel leaves (paan), betel nut (sopari), almonds (badaam), dried dates (khaarak) and rice, (symbolising fertility and productivity). 

3 – The Prompt:

For this prompt, I decided to spend time cleaning and polishing the Ses I have in my apartment. I wanted to take my time cleaning it and emerge myself in the experience of doing so.

As I was doing so, I also had a recording playing from my speaker of the Behram Yasht prayers, and as I was listening to it and cleaning the ses I recorded my thoughts and feelings throughout.

This was the first of hopefully many other, Auto ethnographic prompts I will be doing for studio.

Prompt 7: Dataholic

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Prompt 7: Data Visualisation

After completing the previous prompt, I had received a number of comments, suggestions and feedback on the stickers, so I began to sort through them. I created a miro board, which I used to analyse and visualise the data collected from this post; but the best way to do so was to just keep the screenshots of these comments in clusters with the sticker the comment was made under.

1.1 – When Inspiration strikes:

When I completed this, I was a little underwhelmed with the way I was showing this data and then felt the urge to want to learn more about data visualisation. At the same time, I discovered Giorgia Lupi’s work titled “Dear Diary”, for which she collaborated with Stefanie Posavec. For this project each week for a year, they collected and measured a particular type of data about their lives, used this data to make a drawing on a postcard-sized sheet of paper, which they then dropped the postcard in an English “postbox” (Stefanie) or an American “mailbox” (Giorgia).

1.2 – The Assignment:

Inspired by this project, I too decided to learn more about data visualisation, by collecting data around my everyday life for a week (from the 9th to the 16th of February).

1.3 – The Data:

I began by noting down each time I 1) Picked up my phone, the reason and for how long,
2) Every time I would walk through a door (be it an
elevator, car door, or bus door),
3) Every time I would say Goodbye, to whom I said it to
and if it was in person or through the phone,
4) Every time I had coffee, who made it, which mug I
would drink it in, the time I drank it and where I was
drinking it.

As I was collecting the data, it became a parent to me that I had bitten off more than I could chew, in terms of collecting the data, and so I chose to not continue to collect the data on my phone. I did continue to collect the other three.

IMAGEEEEEEE of sketcbook


2.1 – How do I visualise it?:

After the week was over, I was contemplating which medium to use to visualise this data. Initially, I was so inspired by the Dear Diary project, that I did think about doing it with coloured pens and paper, but I wanted to push myself further and try and figure out another way. I knew I wanted my data to be tactile, and not just 2D, but I did not know how to achieve this

So I decided to go to Dollarama, to try and be inspired by the crafts there. But I had no such luck, instead, I left a bit heavy-hearted and more confused as to what to do next. So then I thought it best to try Michaels to see what materials they have.

After walking down the aisles, I remembered the last time I was here with my sister, I bought Polymer clay to make Christmas ornaments with, for my peers as a gift. I instantly remembered the fun I had working with the material, and that’s when everything fell into place.

2.2 – Clay time:

I knew I needed white to create the base on which my data would stand, and I picked up 2 other colours, to play around with and experiment with for that day.

I was very excited to begin working with Polymer clay because recently I have really taken to this material (I even went to a class at 4 Cats studio with Giulia and another friend to make bump mugs out of clay)

INSERT BUMP MUG IMAGE.

I am extremely lucky my sister has a company “Joy & Sarcasm” with her friend, in which they design and sell Polymer clay earrings, and therefore they kindly let me use some of their ????, such as their rolling pin, roller/press, shape cutters & gun extruder.


3.1 – The First attempt:

With the limited colours I bought, I began to start visualising my data and using the material to see what shapes etc I could create with it to represent each piece of information. This was my first attempt:

3.2 – The Coffee Chronicles:

After going back to Michaels to get more colours, the real work began. I started by visualising my coffee habits.

The Process: I started by taking white clay, which I ran through the pasta machine, folded it and then ran it under again, till it was soft. I lay it flat on the paper, which is on top of a tile. Here I used the cookie cutter to cut out circles (16 for coffee and 127 for the goodbyes). I lay them out beside each other so they are not touching, and I began to add the colours to them. To create the long cylindrical shapes I used the extruder, for which I placed the clay inside it, after choosing the ring of choice, and I closed it and turned the crank. I used a knife blade to cut the clay to the desired sizes and played them on the white circle with my fingers to get an accurate design.

After the design has been made, I placed the tile into a pizza box, which then went into the oven for 15 minutes at 275°F (as said on the wrapper). I then took it out, let it cool and began to build my box.

The box in process


4.1 – Goodbye

5 – The Final:


6: Process Video:

The above is titled: My Process to Working the Process

Prompt 6: The Sticker Life continues…

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Prompt 6: The Sticker life continues

For this prompt, I continued to build on my sticker pack, with more rituals and symbolic items. I intend to share this sticker pack with my fellow Zoroastrians to gain some input and insight as well as to note the reactions they may have to finally have stickers that they can relate to and use when sending virtual greetings.

1.1 – The nagging question:

Each ritual has very specific tasks that need to be done and objects that need to be collected and placed in a certain way. Unfortunately, as most of these rituals and traditions have been passed down orally from one generation to the next, there is no specific place, online or in a book, with its documentation. A question that keeps popping up is: What will we do as the next Parsi generation, when our elders are no longer there?

1.2 – Recruiting Anita:

Luckily, the one person, most Parsis back home in Karachi go-to for all these details is my mother. She has handwritten most of these rituals in a book, which she keeps handy, and shares with most of my community. I requested her to read through them and keep them in my visual bank for future projects.


2 –  The Visual Research continues:


3.1 – Creating the sticker:

Chitti Lakhvanu

The Chitti Lakhvanu is one of the rituals that take place before the wedding ceremony. For this ritual, the Bride/Grooms family come together to handwrite their guests’ names on their wedding invitations. The first name written is typically the name of a family elder, and is seen as the most important one.

When designing this sticker, I wanted to create a visual that can represent the ritual in a minimalist way, and so I started off by designing an envelope with an invitation.
I used the colour red for the text on the invitation as that is seen as an auspicious colour in our community and is typically used in such situations.

I then decided to push this concept further, as it did not really show the true essence of the ritual i.e the names being written on the envelope, and so I designed another sticker with a lady doing so.
I was happy with the results, but there was something missing. I was not able to connect this visual with the ritual I have seen happen numerous times before.

After thinking about this for a few days, I realized my mistake. The lady I designed looked nothing like the ladies I have seen doing this ritual. Typically, it will be an older lady (the mother of the bride) who is wearing our traditional clothes, a sari (usually a red one) with a Kore (these are borders that are used to embellish a sari).

And so I created this sticker.
Her name is Jeroo.


3.2 – The rest of the pack:

Cake and Wine

Another ritual that is part of the wedding celebrations is the cake and wine. After the wedding celebration is over, bridal parties close family and friends stay on for the second part of the celebration, where the bride and groom cut their wedding cake, pop a bottle of champagne and speeches are made.


Dahi Machli Ni Ses

This ritual is part of the Adravvanu (engagement) celebration where both families have a group of 5-7 ladies from their household go to one another’s house and exchange clothes for the bride and groom.
Each group of ladies carry with them a special Ses, called the dahi machli ni ses, which includes curd, fish (fresh fish or sweetmeat/chocolate in the shape of a fish) and sakar.
After both families do so, they meet at the brides’ house and the boy and girl exchange engagement rings.


Jashan

A Jashan is seen as a service of blessing and thanksgiving. A white cloth, sofreh, is spread on a table or on the floor and is laid out with seven kinds of fruits, a tray containing seven kinds of dried fruits (lurk), a metal cup with milk and another with water, a vase of flowers and a vase containing sprigs of the evergreen cypress (sarv) tree. A fire is kept burning in a metal fire vase, and the wood to serve the fire during the ceremony is also kept in the tray.

Priests exchange flowers over the fire during the Jashan ritual. In a traditional three-part Jashan, the priests exchange flowers twice during each segment, karda of the Jashan. The first flower is symbolic of the spirit of Ahura Mazda. The second set of six flowers, which are handed over to the assistant priest, represents the remaining six Bounteous Immortals.


Navjote

Spiritual purity in Zoroastrianism is brought about through the performance of the padyab-i kusti which is the ritual of untying and retying the sacred cord (kusti) which every Zoroastrian from about the age of seven is expected to wear. The sacred cord circumscribes the waist three times and is worn over an undershirt known as the sudreh.

The sudreh and kusti are given to the child after a ritual initiation known as the navjote. This important ceremony welcomes the child into the faith and is performed by a person who has been inducted, formally, into the Zoroastrian priesthood, which is hereditary.


Topi

A velvet or cotton cap that covers all the hair. It is worn during all religious rituals, when going into the Agyari, during the navjote and during any type of prayers.


Dastoorji/Mobed

A Mobed (priest), wearing the traditional Padan (mouth-veil), which is typically worn when they are praying in front of the fire, to prevent his breath from reaching it.


Chalk Stamps

Parsis use perforated lightweight metal chalk boxes into which white chalk powder is put and stamped on the damp floor. A dash of red, orange, pink, green and yellow chalk colours are added to enhance the patterns. The designs are mostly floral with symbols of good luck; fish and horseshoe. Quotes in English and  Gujarati such as “Good Luck” are also common. Typically the chalk stamps are used for auspicious occasions such as birthdays, weddings and Navjotes.


4.1 – Parsi’s Reactions:

The reactions/suggestions/comments/feedback that I have received was extremely helpful! I was so happy to see the reaction my community had and how they engaged with the stickers.
The fact that so many Zoroastrians responded to this so quickly showed me the need for these stickers and the use they would have in connecting my community and representing them on social media platforms.

My post was also shared on another Facebook Page “Karachi Parsis”

4.2 – Feeback on Individual images

Prompt 5: The Sticker Life

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Prompt 5: The next step

During the winter break, I noticed that I spent quite a lot of time on WhatsApp, conversing with my friends from back home. Most conversations were about how I was missing out on all the functions and celebrations taking place this winter within ur community.

It was while talking to an extremely close friend of mine, that I thought about sending her a GIF related to a Parsi Ritual, Madhavsaro – Tree-planting ceremony marks the start of a wedding’s preparatory celebrations and takes place four days before the wedding. During the ceremony, the families of the bride and the groom independently plant a young tree at their respective family homes. This ritual is seen as a symbol of fertility for the bride and groom.

Unfortunately, there were no such GIF’s, Emoji’s or even stickers. As a social media volunteer for the World Zoroastrian Congress and the World Zoroastrian Organisation, I would often want to use culturally relevant emojis like the Atash, but nothing would come close.


1.1 – The Analysis:

Disappointed with this lack of imagery to use when communicating through our smart devices, I decided to create a Sticker collection of certain Parsi rituals as well as ones of everyday objects that relate to our community.

To start off I revised the list of rituals and ceremonies we as Parsis celebrate throughout of life, that I designed last semester:


2.1 –  Visual Research:

I then went on to collect multiple visuals of Parsi Rituals taking place


2.2 –  Inspiration from existing Paksitani stickers:

Designs created by Reema Siddiqui


3 – The Stickers:

Besna:

Once the baby is about six months old and is able to sit on his/her own

Pag Ladoo

The ceremony is done when the child begins to walk on his/her own. A special ladoo is made with rice flour coating and sugary coconut sweet in the middle of it. There are two ladoos that are made in the shape of feet also. The sagan would be done by making the child stand on patlo, where chalk has been put and a red tilo is done with his/her forehead and rice is stuck on it, he/she is made to wear a flower garland, and is given money and gifts and then ovarna is done with rice. 

Madhavsaro

Tree-planting ceremony marks the start of a wedding’s preparatory celebrations and takes place four days before the wedding. During the ceremony, the families of the bride and the groom independently plant a young tree at their respective family homes. This ritual is seen as a symbol of fertility for the bride and groom.

Atash

An Atash Behram is the highest grade of a fire that can be placed in a Zoroastrian fire temple as an eternal flame.

Prompt 4: The lifetime

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Prompt 4: Inquiry

It was after the Open Studio that I decided to shift my focus away from using food as a medium to connect the Zoroastrian diaspora youth to their culture, roots and tradition. I did this as I am hoping to experiment with other mediums; I may revert back to food, but till then I will try other ways to do so. My first attempt to do so was with my previous prompt where I used Zoroastrian symbols.

For this prompt, I focused on trying to narrow down my question, I did so by breaking it down to: How may we connect the Zoroastrian youth to their Culture, Traditions and Roots?

And even this question has so much I can unpack from it, for example, Which traditions, culture and roots will I tackle? Who exactly from the Zoroastrian Diaspora Youth am I going to make my target audience? How can I connect them?


To start off I decided to conduct an interactive brainstorming technique known as the Crazy 8. The Crazy Eights technique is a great way to produce a wide range of diverse ideas from a group of people. The question I asked was: What does Community and Culture mean to you?

Using the Crazy 8 Brainstorming techniques I asked people from my cohort to answer the question above. I also asked 7 Zoroastrians; 2 from Karachi, 2 from Toronto, 1 from India and 1 from Dubai, to participate. 
The results from this brainstorming session can be seen below. I found them to be very eye-opening and interesting.


1.2 – The Analysis:

From the top choices, I was fascinated by all the rituals my participants drew and explained to me in this process. This made me think of all the rituals we have as Zoroastrians, which made me take a deep dive into researching what those are.

2.1 – Zoroastrian Rituals:

Like other religions, Parsis have certain customs and rituals that make them unique.  The different types of rituals and ceremonies range from when a person is in their mother’s womb to when they first learn to sit on their own to when they eventually depart from earth. Every Parsi at one point in their life will go through almost every ceremony there is in the Zoroastrian faith.  It all starts with the moment that a child is conceived, that is where every story begins and that is my project also begins. 

2.2 – The visualisation of these rituals:

With the help of Cameron I noticed how the above timeline of Zoroastiran rituals were infact almost a calendar of sorts, which is not based off of years, months or days, but off of a human life, and the rituals are the pinpoints of birth through death and beyond.

It represents the important unit of time as human life, and the measurements are the traditions. The focus is on what it means to be a human in time within a community.

I selected 4 rituals and created visualisations for them:

Prompt 3: The Parsi Pack

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Prompt 3 : Discourse

The idea of ‘reading through making’ is one that excites me even after the completion of my project. Typically it is the opposite way around, so to be able to ‘Make’ from a reading intrigued me. However, initially finding the best reading for this prompt was quite difficult. I was adamant to find a reading that I enjoy and could possibly connect with my interests.


1.1 – The Reading:

After going through most of the readings in my syllabus, I finally found an article that I could connect with: “Print Culture and Decolonizing the University: Indigenizing the Page: Part 1” by Marie Battiste. The article is a collection from the book “The Future of the Page“, which presents the best of recent critical theory on the history and future of the page and its enormous influence on Western thought and culture.

Indigenous peoples throughout the words have used a wide array of forms and systems of communicating or writing or remembering that have shown similarity in strands of symbolic designs, meanings and functions. Early Indigenous literacy in America was largely symbolic and ideographic, reflecting a unified vision of knowledge and thought from one continent to another – Marie Battiste

Battiste talks about how the Indigenous peoples would communicate through symbols, which were explained from one generation to the next through oral communication. She goes on to explain how the European “travellers and missionaries destroyed, transformed or simply ignored most Aboriginal literacies”, calling them primitive. This was due to the fact that they were unable to comprehend the symbols and what they represented.


1.2 – My takeaway:

A connection I was able to form was how as Zoroastrians we have many symbols, however a lot of the youth, including myself, do not know exactly what they represent and symbolise.
For this reason I decided to tackle this problem though this prompt.


2.1 – Brainstorming for the Icons:

I began by creating a mindmap of all the important icons that were either religiously or culturally relevant to the Parsis. Some were those that I knew myself, while others were collected from a coffee table book A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion & Culture.

As the main component of my assignment was symbols, I realized the best way to have others learn them and interact with them, was though our use of Chalk stamps.


2.2 – A brief history of the Parsi Chalk stamps:

Historical accounts maintain that the Parsi Chalk designs were adapted when the Parsis (Persians) settled in India over seven centuries ago. They were given shelter in Sanjan, Gujarat, by Jadi Rana who understood the importance of an inclusive society.  

Jadi Rana is a figure from the Qissa-i-Sanjan, an epic poem completed in 1599, which is an account of the flight of some of the Zoroastrians who were subjected to religious persecution following the fall of the Sassanid Empire and of their early years of resettling in India. Inexorably,  the Parsis adopted five of the cultural traits of their new homeland. One being the use of Chalk stamps for celebratory rituals.

Parsis use perforated lightweight metal chalk boxes into which white chalk powder is put and stamped on the damp floor. A dash of red, orange, pink, green and yellow chalk colours are added to enhance the patterns. The designs are mostly floral with symbols of good luck; fish and horseshoe. Quotes in English and  Gujarati such as “Good Luck” are also common. Typically the chalk stamps are used for auspicious occasions such as birthdays, weddings and Navjots.


2.3 – Chalk trays:


2.4 – Chalk patters:


2.5 – Reaching out:

I also reached out to a Facebook group ‘KIDS of Parsi Colonies, (Karachi & Global) ‘. Where I received an overwhelmingly positive response from the members.


3.1 – The stamp:

After gathering reference images of different chalk stamps that are available I started to create my own templates of the icons selected.


3.2 – Testing out the DIY Stamp :


4 – The Kit :

The DIY kit includes Precut frames for the stamp, a pin, Precut foil paper & a Booklet. The Booklet was designed, keeping in mind the main outcome of my project: to disseminate information about the icons, as well as to explain how to use the kit.

Each spread contains an illustration of the icon, a brief description and a unique QR code, which can be scanned in order to retrieve the Stamp I have designed for the audience to use.


The Parsi Pack :

Prompt 2: The Spice Pack

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Prompt 2 : Material

Clay, Paper, Coding, Thread… these are just some of the materials I have always wanted to work with; but as soon as we were explained the brief, I was fixated on working with spices. I use spices every day to cook, but I do not know much about them.

The Daily Practice:

My daily practice was threefold. After I had chosen a spice for the day, I would begin thoroughly researching it. I would research into the plant that the spice came from, where it is cultivated and which countries it is being traded to. I would then look into the facts about the spice and all of its benefits and detriments; along with the non-culinary uses of the spice, for example, Turmeric is used in a holy bath ritual known as pithi ceremony, which is a pre-wedding ceremony in India. 

I then went on to experiment with the spice itself. On a sheet, I played around with its texture, colour and even taste (I would taste the spice and with a pencil, I would create a line of what I could taste). I would create audio clippings of the sound made as I was experimenting, for example when pealing garlic or cutting into chillies. I then would use these cuttings to create patterns and textures on the sheet.

The final step was finding a recipe in which my spice of the day was the hero. Many recipes were those I have grown up eating/drinking in my hometown Pakistan or recipes passed down from generation to generation in my family.


The Synthesis:

After collecting all this information and experimentation over a week, I decided to create the Spice Pack. Each Pack contained information about a single spice. I used an accordion-style fold, to divide each section of information on the spice.

Step 1: Staining the paper
Each sheet was stained with a mixture created with water and the powdered version of the spice. Unfortunately, many of the spices did not mix with water to create the texture, and therefore I would boil the solid spice until it created a colour.

Step 2: Drawing
I then continued to create a detailed outline drawing of the spice in its plant form. Along with this, I gave a few pointers on the plant and its spice.

Step 3: Mapping
Something that stood out to me was the locations where each spice was grown and traded to. To represent this I began by mapping out these locations on the paper. I then used cut pieces of the spice (or the spice itself) to represent a geotag of the locations.

Step 4: Recipe
For the next section, I added a recipe that…..
The recipe was printed on butter paper, to allow the user to be able to still see the stained paper in the background.

Step 5: Textural Exploration
For the final section I decided to share with my audience a textural exploration of the spice. I began with creating the base made of the powdered form of the spice. To add more to this texture I placed pieces of the solid spice ontop. Some spices such as the chilli had seeds which I also used to add to the texture.


The Spice Pack:

Each Spice pack has its own translucent slip which contains it.

Prompt 1: Travel Keepsake Box (TKB)

GSMD-500 | Grad Studio 1
Prompt 1 : The Gift
My fellow studio-mate for this Prompt: Greyson Kelly

It was the first time I met Greyson in person. We sat down and had an interesting and informative chat. We discussed each other’s backgrounds, where we came from, what we have studied and from where. We went on to talk about what our passions are in life and what we both hope to achieve through our masters.

Greyson is outgoing, positive and very passionate about his work. He shared his interest in Anime, Manga, dungeons and dragons, Legos (which we share in common), and Typography. But it was after talking about this that I could see his eyes light up when he spoke about his passion for Travelling.

He explained how he had made a plan with his friends to visit Japan in the summer of 2020, however, because of the pandemic this plan fell through. Being an avid traveller myself, and one who had a trip cut short because of the pandemic, I felt his pain. He explained,

“I was excited to experience the culture, the food. See their typography.”

To many travelling, is a way to escape, to relax and take a deep breath away from your everyday life, while to others, travelling to a new country is to experience that country and all it has to offer. Their culture, their food, their way of living. It is about embracing their rich history and diverse community.

Who is Greyson?

After our talk, this was something that stuck with me. I wanted to gift him something that would make him feel like all is not lost with this trip, and that once the pandemic is over he could once again plan his trip!

But how do I do this? How do I create something for Greyson that’s interactive and therefore gets him excited to plan a trip for after the pandemic ends (which let’s be honest, we don’t know when it’s going to be)?

I had now deduced from our talk about his fondness of building with Legos, that Greyson liked to work with tangible objects (as a break from the design work he does on the computer), and with things that have a step by the step building process. And that he has many fond memories of part trips he had taken.

But what happens when you come back from this trip? Do you forget about it completely? Throw away all the little mementos? Or hide them in a box tucked deep away in the back of your closet? No! You use the specially designed Travel Keepsake Box (TKB). This TKB was created for Greyson for two reasons. It was a way to encourage him and remind him that one day in the near future, he will be able to take that trip he so longed for; as well as to use this as a way to keep the memories of his trip displayed.

“Hey Greyson,
I know you’ll make it to JAPAN soon.
So don’t hide your souvenirs in a scrapbook!  I want you to use this shadow box to remember your epic trip!
– Leea”

I design a 4 by 4 pocket zine, which was framed inside a shadow box, that also contained a small vial and some thumbtacks. The zine is a step by step guide to collect souvenir’s and other objects as he takes his trip to Japan. The vial is provided so that he can “take a bit of Japan home” with him. The thumbtacks were also provided to him so that he can complete the Pin Your Map activity. The final page of the zine depicts what the box will look like once completed and decorated.

Throughout the zine, I have used simple symbols to depict each activity, as well as a spot colour that continues till the last page. Inspired by the Japanese flag, a red circle has been used near each title as well.

But wait… there’s more. Don’t throw away the zine once you’ve filled up your TKB!
Open it, flip it around and use it as a poster!

Greyson in Japanese

Reflection: This prompt allowed us all to open up, and learn a lot about one another. It was a great experience to be able to gift someone something that is not off the shelf but was a gift with thoughts and feelings attached to it. It was meaningful and personal. It was a gift exchange where I was able to give Greyson something to keep him motivated and excited about what the future has to hold, all the while representing a little bit of myself in it.

So there you have it Greyson! Your own personal TKB!
Have fun displaying your memories of all your trips.