The Chai Cart: Burning Man 2019

For my sixth Burning Man, Phil Reyneri and I (along with my parents!) served ten to fifteen gallons of hot masala chai every night out of this little handmade chai cart. We ran a similar project in 2014 and 2015, but this year, we debuted an all-new cart.

Every night, as soon as it got dark, we’d brew ten gallons of chai in camp, and then load up the cart. We took turns deciding where to serve the chai — a beautiful art installation, a friend’s camp, a dance party, or way out by the trash fence (the perimeter of the event). It usually took about three to four hours to go through ten gallons (we’d serve each person a few ounces at a time). Almost everyone had their own cup on them, but we kept a few loaner mugs on hand for anyone who for didn’t. I’m guessing we served chai to around 2,000 people over the course of the week?!

My favorite night was when we found a concrete fire pit and bench way out in the middle of nowhere. We set up shop, played quiet jazz music, and served chai to the small group of folks who had gathered around the warmth of the fire. It was cozy and intimate, and it was a nice respite from the loud and chaotic burn that was happening in the distance. By the time we ran out of chai a few hours later, we had amassed quite a crowd of people. They were chatting, sipping chai, and roasting s’mores (!) over the fire — another couple had shown up and handed out s’mores ingredients to everyone. I loved creating our own little chai party wherever we went!

Phil’s favorite approach was to make the chai around 3am so that we could serve in time for sunrise. Our last morning, we served chai during the sunrise set at Robot Heart, which delighted partygoers who had been dancing all night long. They paused their dancing to enjoy a bit of caffeine and sugar as they watched the sun come up.

Over the course of the week, we delighted, comforted, and caffeinated a LOT of people. We got feedback like, “this is the best chai I’ve ever had,” “this totally turned my night around,” “ARE YOU SERIOUS!! IS THIS FOR REAL?!” “oh my gosh I think I had your chai in 2014 and I can’t believe I found you again!” “I’m sober and it means a lot to me to find a yummy non-alcoholic beverage out here,” and “I’m also Indian and this chai is the real deal.”

Even if Burning Man isn’t your thing, I highly recommend doing something unexpected and delightful for strangers sometime. It’s truly amazing. It brings out the best in them, and in you.

Upcoming Group Show: Sanctuary at Heron Arts

Mark your calendars! I’m participating in a group show at Heron Arts next month featuring four female Bay Area artists: Anastasia Tumanova, Nicole Sweeney, Alice Wiese, and myself. If you like my work, I guarantee that you’ll love this show. The opening reception is Saturday, October 26, 6-9pm. RSVP here!


S A N C T U A R Y
A Group Exhibition by Heron Arts Gallery

Opening Reception - Saturday, October 26th
Showing Through - Saturday, November 30th

Sanctuary brings together the meditative and textural works of four female Bay Area artists: Zai Divecha, Nicole Sweeney, Anastasia Tumanova, and Alice Wiese. Through the use of light color palettes, repetitive shapes, and organic forms, the artwork takes on an introspective and soothing aura, inspiring feelings of inner peace and psychic refuge. Working in a different medium — paper, wood, ceramic, and fiber respectively — each artist pushes the boundaries of their chosen craft in technique, application, and expression.

Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, October 26, from 6-9pm. Drinks and light bites will be served.

Reserve a free ticket at
www.sanctuaryheronarts.eventbrite.com.



Canis Major at Workshop Residence

Introducing my newest installation — a warm, glowing night sky, made of paper, wood, and LEDs.

When I was a child, my parents helped me stick glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling above my bed. Gazing at them while drifting off to sleep was a comforting ritual. I delighted in the magic of the glowing plastic, but subconsciously, I think I also liked being reminded of my place in a vast universe.

Canis Major, my newest installation, is about bringing that that feeling into my adult life. The feeling of being safe in your home, lowering the lights as you wind down for the evening, and contemplating your place in the universe. I hope it brings viewers a feeling of comfort, calm, and maybe a bit of childhood nostalgia.

Pinpricks of light shine through thousands of tiny holes, which are laid out in the exact pattern of stars in the night sky. Canis Major and Orion are among the constellations that can be found if you’re in the mood to do some stargazing.

The constellation chart below shows the map of stars depicted in this piece. Canis Major, the constellation for which the piece is named, is located on the far right side. It can be identified by the large cutout representing Sirius, the the brightest star visible in the night sky. To the right of Sirius is Orion -- look for the three stars in a row that make up Orion's Belt.

The piece is on display — and available for purchase — at Workshop Residence in Dogpatch. Email manager@workshopresidence.com for pricing.

UPDATE 10/3/19: This piece is no longer available.

“Quiet Type” Showcase at Pas Normal Studios

Come see “Quiet Type” — my paper sculpture that recently won Adobe’s 36 Days of Type competition — this Thursday night! Swing by Pas Normal Studios in Hayes Valley 6-9pm for drinks and charcuterie and a little party. I’d love to see you there! RSVP here.

This event is especially fun for me because I’m an avid road cyclist, and I love those rare occasions when my art and cycling worlds collide! It’s special to be able to show my work in a beautiful space designed for cyclists.

Getaway Artist Fellowship

Last month, I was granted the Getaway Artist Fellowship — I had the opportunity to hole up in a tiny cabin in the Catskills in upstate New York and make art for a few days. I went by myself, which was a new experience for me (usually I travel with friends and loved ones). Turns out I absolutely love being in nature by myself. I had an incredible time, and I’m proud of the work I created while I was there. And it made me realize I need to carve out more solo time for creativity and rest.

Some highlights of my time there:

  • Sleeping eleven hours without waking up. I didn’t know my body could still do that.

  • Being totally mesmerized by a little shaft of light in the cabin, and watching shadows of leaves dancing in the wind.

  • Doing everything slowly. Brushing my teeth slowly. Drinking my tea slowly. Heating up food slowly. Taking a break in between those mundane tasks to lie in the window and watch the light change in the forest.

  • Bringing only the tools that were absolutely necessary — not my full studio set-up. As any backpacker will tell you, there’s a beauty in bringing just the bare bones equipment you need to survive — or in this case, make art. I loved having just my most beloved tools: x-acto blade, bone-folder, tweezers, bookbinding glue, pencil, etc.

  • Building a roaring campfire — and enjoying it — all by myself. One of my secret skills is that I can build and maintain a crackling fires. It’s one of the great pleasures in my life.

  • Cooking a full-on feast for myself over the fire! I roasted sausages and veggies over the fire, and then cooked some cheesy potatoes on the electric stove in the cabin. I finished it off with four s’mores. I take my s’mores very seriously. (Golden brown, no charring, melted chocolate, and open-face. Fight me.)

  • Having no agenda other than to be a human, rest, and make art.

  • Having no one to talk to. I’m an extrovert, so I rarely carve out solo time on purpose. I was surprised by how much glee I felt at being able to create all of these beautiful moments just for me to enjoy.

And here are the finished pieces I created during my fellowship! I’m proud of these little babies. If anyone feels especially drawn to them, they’re available for purchase through my online shop.

Thank you to Getaway for this incredible opportunity. It was such a treat to be able to disconnect from the world, rest in a way I haven’t rested in a long time, and make art in a beautiful place. I need to do this kind of thing at least once a year! Thank you for that lesson!

Winner of Adobe's 36 Days of Type Contest

Remember that project where I made one letter of the alphabet, and then all of the numerals, every day for 36 consecutive days? Turns out my project was one of six winners for Adobe’s 36 Days of Type contest! Thousands of incredibly talented designers, artists, and illustrators participated in this year’s competition, and I was totally surprised and delighted to hear that I was one of six winners. Read my interview and check out the other winners over at Adobe’s blog post.

West Coast Craft Summer 2019

Had an amazing time returning to West Coast Craft! The quality of the work there is always so high, and I always leave feeling inspired and joyful. As an extrovert, I love having an opportunity to see my friends, run into people from different chapters of my life, and meet Instagram friends and followers in real life.

Quiet Type

I recently participated in the 36 Days of Type, an annual, global design challenge in which illustrators and designers each create and share one letter or number every day for 36 days.

I’ve never taken on this kind of daily challenge before, and it was tough! It forced me to stay on a rigorous schedule of producing and sharing new work every day. It was fast-paced, and there were several days in which I cut it really close to the deadline. It gave me a good excuse to develop new techniques, some of which have already made their way into larger standalone pieces.

Below is a quick snapshot of the entire project, but click here for larger photos of each one. The alphabet is currently on display at Marrow Gallery, and it’ll be up through May 25, 2019.

Architectural Digest

Quick mention about my solo exhibition “White Noise” in Architectural Digest!

Downloadable Phone Background

Here’s a nice, calm geometric pattern you can use as your phone background and lock screen.

To save, open this page from your phone, tap and hold to save the photo, then head to your phone’s settings to change the wallpaper. Enjoy!

zai-divecha-phone-background

Installation at Square

I just finished this 10-foot long installation for Square! I’m so excited to finally share this with you! I’ve been a Square seller since I started my art business in 2015, so it was an honor to create a large piece for their San Francisco Headquarters.

This piece is a balance of order and chaos. Each strip is pleated in a repeating pattern, but the strip size and scale varies randomly across the piece. I actually used a random number generator to randomize the strip order. Humans are notoriously bad at artificially creating random sequences, so I didn’t trust myself to wing it! (The only rule I added in was no repeats — I didn’t want adjacent strips to be identical.) From afar, it reads as organic and textural. Up close, the orderly patterns emerge.

In case you were wondering what 6,000+ folds might look like, this should give you a good sense!

Feature in Luxe Interiors + Design

Luxe Interiors + Design recently did a beautiful spread on me and my work! In it, I talk about what I love about both metal and paper. Check it out!

Mention in ART + DESIGN

Small mention in ART + DESIGN Magazine!

West Coast Craft Winter 2018: Nov 17-18

Looking for a special holiday gift for yourself or for a loved one? I’ll be selling at West Coast Craft for the first time this winter! Mark your calendars…

2018-08 Zai Divecha Paper Pieces-46.jpg

Zai Divecha at West Coast Craft
Nov 17-18, 10am-6pm
Fort Mason Center

Add to Google calendar:

Open Studios Oct 27-28

2018-07 Zai Divecha Studio.jpg

Come by my cozy little studio and get a peek into my process! Come for a cup of tea; stay for a paper-folding demo. This will be a low-key, intimate vibe -- keep me company while I make pieces for the holidays. For those eager to get a head-start on holiday shopping, I'll have a handful of pieces ready to purchase. My studio is dog- and kid-friendly.

My studiomates J·Liston Design and Niki Ulehla will both be showing work as well! 

WHEN: 11am-6pm, Saturday Oct 27 & Sunday Oct 28
WHERE: 1426 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 

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CAN'T MAKE IT? I'll also have a booth at West Coast Craft Winter '18 Nov 17-18 at Fort Mason! Come shop then!

PARKING: You can park in any of the spots labeled "ShopFloor" or "Harmonic." There are spots available on both sides of the building (Minnesota St and 26th St). 

FINDING MY STUDIO: Walk in through the giant roll-up garage door. Come up the stairs. My studio is the last one on the right.

MAKE A DAY OF IT: As long as you're in the neighborhood, check out some of my favorite local gems:

- Grab a beer from my friends at Harmonic Brewing!
- Get your caffeine fix at Philz Coffee - Dogpatch Minnesota
- Swing by a dozen galleries at the Minnesota Street Project.
- Try fusion Gujarati food at Besharam.
- Get a pizza or a meatball sub at Long Bridge Pizza Co..
- Savory or sweet pastries at Neighbor Bakehouse.
- Walk your dog to Esprit Park - 20th Street Overpass.
- Shop local makers at The Workshop SF or Industrious Life.
- Go bouldering at Dogpatch Boulders (don't break your ankle there like I did).
- Swing by the Museum of Craft and Design (or at least the gift shop).

Click here to see the Facebook event. Click the button below to add the details to Google calendar:


And if you want to explore the rest of the San Francisco art scene, check out all five weekends of Open Studios! From ArtSpan, the organizing group:

Each weekend, artists in different neighborhoods of San Francisco welcome the public into their studios and exhibit spaces to share their artwork. You can explore bustling group sites and tiny private workspaces. Whether you are shopping for art or seeking to connect with the creative soul of the city, you are welcome to attend.

Here’s the full schedule — I’ll be opening my doors for Weekend 3, October 27-28.

WEEKEND 1 | OCTOBER 13-14
NORTH/SOMA: Marina, Russian Hill, North Beach, Pacific Heights, Western Addition, Downtown, Tenderloin, MIDMA, SOMA, Hayes Valley, NOPA, Upper & Lower Haight, Buena Vista, Cole Valley

WEEKEND 2 | OCTOBER 20-21
Hunters Point Shipyard

WEEKEND 3 | OCTOBER 27-28 (This is my weekend!)
SOUTH/EAST: Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, Bayview, Bernal Heights, Portola, Excelsior, Balboa Park, Visitacion Valley, Outer Mission, Diamond Heights, Glen Park, Islais Creek

WEEKEND 4 | NOVEMBER 3-4
WESTSIDE/FT. MASON: Fort Mason, Presidio, Richmond, Sunset, West Portal, Ocean View

WEEKEND 5 | NOVEMBER 10-11
SF CENTRAL: Mission, Castro, Noe Valley, Duboce Triangle

All five weekends are open, Saturdays and Sundays, 11am - 6pm. Click the map below to see the PDF of all participating artists:

Studio Music: Lush // Grit

Here's what I've been listening to the last few months. It's a lot of hypnotic, edgy beats with lush instrumentals and couple sexy vocals thrown in. Enjoy!