Guest writer: Priya Sebastian, illustrator

Time Capsules

Words and pictures: Priya Sebastian

A friend of mine once asked me what beauty means to me. It was an answer I had to give a lot of thought to because it meant so many things within the many different facets that encompass a human life.

I decided that for me the most important aspect of beauty was this: How beauty made me feel. My greatest sense of contentment comes from having natural beauty around me and from possessing it in some form. Those who know me well enough and follow my blog know that nowhere is this more apparent than in my love for seedpods.

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I remember when I studied illustration in Australia a very long time ago, I observed for the first time, a Banksia seedpod. I began to notice how unusual and beautiful Australian seedpods were and began collecting them with a passion even after my return home and wherever my travels took me.

Since this guest post is for an Australian blog, I thought it would be appropriate to focus on my love for seedpods which began in that country with its spectacular natural beauty. In this post I want to try and show how these beautiful and unusual natural sculptures have become so much a part of my life and influenced my work.

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I live in the bustling city of Bengaluru (Bangalore) in the South of India where I work as an illustrator. I am fortunate to live in a part of the city which is relatively sane and to have my own garden space as a daily reminder of how blessed I am to have nature beside me. These seedpods are from my garden. Photographing them, much like drawing their contours on paper, teaches me to truly observe and appreciate their nuances and textures. I always love how their colors work so well with each other. The seedpods in the picture below were picked up from my garden.

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We have a botanical garden called Lalbagh where if you are a lover of seed pods and if you go in the right season it feels like rummaging through a treasure chest. This is some of the booty I came home with during a walk there a few years ago.

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Here are some images which give an idea how I have tried to incorporate these shapes into drawings. After a while of doing this, you use the pods only for inspiration and you end up creating your own seedpods on the paper in front of you. I love it when that happens.

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I used some seedpods as part of an illustration for a poem here. Everything, the texture, color and shape have to work just right to create a satisfying illustration.

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My late mother kept every letter that was ever written to her. The papers are old and fragile, the handwriting, not always in English is intriguing and beautiful, they are records of a family that has dissipated and dispersed. They too, like seedpods are receptacles of life and of time.

Keeping this in mind, I am trying to create something more enduring out of these pages, something which showcases their eternity within the shapes of pods, which in a sense they are, so that they won’t have to spend the rest of their time inside boxes but rather can be admired for the inadvertent works of art that they are.

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Priya Sebastian’s Bio

Priya Sebastian studied illustration at Queensland College of Art exactly 20 years ago. She has many happy memories of her days in Australia and is therefore delighted to be contributing a guest post for an Aussie blog. Priya works in Bengaluru (Bangalore) as an editorial illustrator. She is known for her bold, powerful charcoal drawings and tends to be partial towards a black and white palette.

See more of Priya’s work on Tumblr and her blog.

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