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Currently on exhibit at Books on the Pond in Charlestown, RI is the exhibit Raj by the Sea by Elizabeth Eckel. Elizabeth is a Westerly native who has lived and worked around the world in Africa and India. While in Rajasthan, India, an arid region in the Northwest area of the country that borders Pakistan, Elizabeth fell in love with the ancient tradition of wood block printing Throughout her travels, she amassed a special collection of special hand carved stamps to take back home.
When the pandemic arrived, Elizabeth returned to the U.S. to quarantine in South County where she began exploring the world of block printing on paper and fabrics. What I found innovative and fun about Elizabeth’s work is the way she she used an ancient art form and let the the beautiful coastline of Rhode Island inform of her art. Instead of colorful Indian motifs that often range from prints of animals, red chilies, flower-laden trees and peacocks, Elizabeth’s pieces, whether on fabric or paper, showcase jellyfish and calamari.