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May 21, 2020

This Is My Normal: Kangan Arora, London

In our new series, we are sharing a day in the life of people experiencing the pandemic in different parts of the world. Textile designer Kangan Arora takes us through hers.

#ThisIsMyNormal: Textile designer Kangan Arora is currently with her husband in London, where citizens will have to observe social distancing until at least June 1st despite new data showing the city recording some of lowest case numbers in England. She shares moments from her beautiful home — now doubling up as her studio — where she is finding ways to surround herself with colour and music. Although immersing herself in her work has been her way of dealing with isolation, Arora admits that finding the time to slow down and observe spring in London has been enlightening, comforting and joyful for her.

The day starts with looking out to my now ‘studio’ space, enjoying the 2 hours of sunlight we get in our flat before it disappears for the rest of the day. With a coffee, the first of many – I get straight to work.

If I’m not teaching, I concentrate on the home studio. I’m working mostly with paper at the moment generating ideas for what may become prints or textile designs.

Our main living space is now studio/dining room/living room/gym/classroom and more. I’m constantly rearranging the room and moving furniture around to get the best light.

My husband and I always cooked every day, but now we’re enjoying it so much more as we have more time to do it properly. Although if we’re feeling lazy, we have a bbq and cook for a whole week in advance.

Without access to my screen printing studio, I’ve been using any material I can lay my hands on. I had a stash of bindis from home (because I liked the packaging) so I’ve been making Bindi drawings.

I have piles of designs and samples in the studio that never become anything. I’ve brought these home, adamant that this lockdown will force me to find a new purpose for them.

Working from home means you never really switch off as there is no delineation between home and work. I do prefer it this way, I can be flexible with my time and work late into the night or go for a walk in the middle of the day.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music during this time in isolation. It’s soothing and reassuring and the notes never let you down. I find great comfort in listening to Indian classical music, old hindi music from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s Jazz and the Blues.

In the evening, we go for our once-a-day-exercise/walk we’re allowed. All the rainbows in people’s windows make me happy and give me so much hope.

We live in Crystal Palace, feels like our own little hill station but I love looking back at the city and can’t wait to go back.

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