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‘I’m convinced that Pinterest can teach me to build my dream house with nothing but foam wreaths, ladders, wine bottles and a glue gun.’

For some years now I have harbored a secret interest for decorating and designing homes in creative ways, without burning a big hole in the pocket. In fact, at one point I was thinking of starting a small business as an amateur interior designer catering to young people looking for spunky ideas within limited budgets. Although I never really got around to starting a business, I did manage to experiment with small projects at home, in Rotterdam, Hyderabad and Bombay. The last few months have completely changed my outlook towards DIY or Do-it-yourself decorating projects – all thanks to Ben Silbermann, who decided to found Pinterest! Pinterest has given me the inspiration and confidence to be ambitious with my experiments and implement cool design ideas. I might even think of using Pinterest as the basis for an off-beat interior design consultancy at some point.

After quitting work last month, I decided to make use of my free time and take up a few DIY projects for the new house we were moving into. Here are some of the results – 

Wine Corks in Glass Jars and Frames

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Upcycled Ladder Bookshelf

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Wine Bottle Lights – Yellow

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Wine Bottle Lights – Pink

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Life Size Wall Decal

Painted Wine Bottles

Crates Upcycled as a Bar

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Vidyaranya 50 years

    “Believe nothing…
    …merely because you have been told it
    Or because it is traditional,
    Or because you have imagined it.
    Do not believe what your teacher tells you
    Merely out of respect for the teacher.
    But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis,
    You find to be conducive to the good,
    The benefit, the welfare of all beings
    That doctrine believe and cling to,
    And take it as your guide.”

    – The Buddha

Vidyaranya, a way of life that cherishes freedom, questions, diversity and friendship.
(As taken from the Vidyaranya 50 years publication)

What I learned at Vidyaranya | “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

What happens when a Greek, Brazilian, American and Indian come together to work on a business idea? Apparently, nothing short of a miracle! Artoujours is an idea developed by four such minds, so alike yet so different. This paradox creates a spark of innovation.

The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind – A Whole New Mind (http://www.danpink.com/wnm.html). Left brain dominance is a thing of the past; right brain qualities of empathy, inventiveness, and expression create the landscape of our times.

How many young people today have the opportunity of free expression? How many women around the world could live a more secure and happy life by choosing art as a vocation? How many cultures are watching their art forms fade away into history? How many children have never held a paint brush or a musical instrument?

The need of whole new minds, some haunting questions and our passion for creativity gave way to Artoujours, art forever. Artoujours is a dynamic center of arts, where people have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of creative expression, through classes, experimentation, production, performance and connection with art forms and artists from around the world.

At Artoujours we are passionate about arts of all kinds, we believe in the power of art to transform lives, inspire creative thinking, cultivate expression and develop character. Art is for everyone, and artistic talent can be found in every human being.

Our way of making this real is through six approaches –
1. Art School for everyone
2. Art foundation running projects addressing specific social risk groups
3. Art Production connecting themes from across the world
4. Art gallery promoting artists
5. The Art shopping experience
6. Casual Arts where people can explore their creative side through different art forms over a cappuccino and applie pie

Annika, Mauricio, Sophie and I are working on feasibility studies in different parts of the world to see where we want to start up the first Artoujours. Mauricio already runs an art center in Santa Maria Brazil called Musiartes (http://www.musiartes.com.br/) which he will build further.
The feasibility study includes these elements:The legal framework of setting up an organization; overhead costs; competition; grants and Government policies; supporting network; market; local business culture; financial prospects; social inclusiveness; and the education system and arts.

Here is a brief presentation on Artoujours – If you have any ideas, feedback or contacts that can support us in starting up please write to us at artoujours@musiartes.com.br

Art is not just painting or playing the guitar or dancing. Art is a way of discovering who you are, what you want, expressing your feelings and thoughts, your life. Sophie said to me – toujours is a very strong word, it means forever. Art for us is forever, and everywhere in everyone. A person can create as he/she can destroy. Everyone connects with feelings, ideas, and thoughts to be able to share these with someone else, with the world – visualize, hear, express. And this happens in every corner of the world, throughout the years of human existence. Art is natural, nature is art. It is human evolution.

I find myself constantly thinking – Based on India’s reality, where and how can Artoujours be most relevant?

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