If you had signed in to receive Indian By Design posts as they are published, you probably just received a whole lot of updates for posts that were unfinished. I was changing a few settings and some of my older draft posts published as a result. They have been returned to the draft folder and will not be visible on the actual blog now. I apologise for the inconvenience and confusion. Thank you. Hug.


In our daily lives, what objects do we reach out to and why – the ease of use vs the ease of care, perceived value of longevity vs the beauty of wear and tear, a juggling of price vs cost, things we save in a closet vs things we make part of our lives, Cotton vs Polyester, plastic vs wood – will it last long, will it stain, will it be worth it? These decisions often affect our buying decisions and ultimately what we surround ourselves with in our messy everyday tasks. There is much beauty in not saving the lovely things for a special day. Presenting a selection of products to enjoy using without holding them as being too precious to be a daily habit.

The Summer House – A collection of simple objects that one could effortlessly enjoy using. They seem created to be of use, to enhance the beauty of doing everyday things, to be a delight in the kitchen. The website states “The wood for our house wares is sourced from sustained plantations. 90% of our products are crafted by village folk.”

Measuring Cups

Measuring Cups

Butter Knife

Butter Knife

Gaatha Shop - Everything that we do becomes tradition. So in that sense, it isn’t a fixed entity, rather an evolving one. And while, to grow and progress, we must continue to adapt and create new traditions, documenting what has been is a essential step in understanding the essence of that progress. The Gaatha project has been documenting Indian craft traditions and sharing it on the Gaatha blog creating a rich resource for all to benefit from. They’ve now gone a step further and started the Gaatha Shop which completes the story by offering those who appreciate crafts the opportunity to bring them into their daily lives.

Brass

Brass Kitchenware

Dabado

Dabado – brass boxes

Bhujodi

Bhujodi Wool Stole

Kara Weaves –  Continuing on from the thoughts expressed above, the balance between saving traditional crafts yet bringing in new design influences to keep the work contemporary has always seemed a tricky balance to achieve. These towels seem reminiscent of Turkish hamaam towels and for me, although lovely to look at, do not externally evoke the familiar Kerala Torth I grew up using. Though internally, much like the Torth, each one is handmade on traditional wooden looms in Kerala, thereby supporting local craftspeople. Founded in 2008 by social anthropologist Indu Menon and graphic designer Chitra Gopalakrishna, Kara Weaves partners with local weaving co-operatives to design contemporary home textiles. A few pieces are available to buy in India, here. Hope to see a full-fledged website that caters to Indian buyers too. These towels and the traditional Torth are a far more effective everyday alternative for the Indian summer than the bulky western options.

Candy Stripe Towels

Candy Stripe Towels

Infini Towel

Infini Towel

Shramik Kala – “Shramik Kala is a collective of 400 Craftswomen from Rajankatti, Makelmardi, Kadoli, Hunnur, Telaganatti, Madanbhavi, and Chikoppa which are drought prone regions in the state of Karnataka. This collective was formed by Shramik Abhivrudhi Sangh, a local NGO which has promoted many craft-based, sustainable livelihood projects for women who had previously depended upon seasonal wage labor and migration to cities for work. Shramik Kala has nurtured the women to revive and master many of Northern Karnataka’s craft-traditions and techniques such as: indigo dyeing of the Neelgars, rope-twisting, folk-stitching and joinery of the Nadafs, vegetable tanning/dyeing of hides and leather-crafting of the Dhor and Samgar communities, wool-felting, spinning and kambal weaving techniques of sheepherding communities.The craftswomen now earn a livelihood by making high quality, naturally-dyed, hand spun, hand woven and non-woven bags from the natural fibres of jute, cotton, banana, mestha fibre, leather, and blended fabrics.” Their products can be seen here.

Shramik Kala LARGE_page10_image7

Laundry Basket

Shramik Kala LARGE_page10_image2

Travel Bag


The Sari, six or nine yards of fabric that drapes women of any size, shape, height or region, can be worn in different ways – for work, play or to celebrate. Though still extremely popular for occasional wear, the everyday aspect of the sari where one lounges in it as one would in a pair of jeans today, is perhaps fading in urban India. And it is that which draws me to the handwoven Linen Saris by Anavila Mishra (NIFT) as she wills us to spend our days in them. Her decision to not embellish or add details that were not of the material seems to enhance the saris even more. The patterns are subtle and the use of colours is gentle. A sense of easy flow prevails.

Anavila also experiments with botanical inspired applique work – she loves nature, wild flowers, twigs, fruits, leaves and trees – and brings all that she sees into her work. The fabric used to create the botanical applique work is dyed and gives the work a sense of shadow and light, of different shades in the same form. It was a delight to see them. Sharing what she does.

DSC_0217

Continue reading ‘Fashion Feature > Anavila’


a million gardens

Luis Barragan once said, “a perfect garden – no matter what its size – should enclose nothing less than the entire universe.” Gardens and Landscapes create opportunities to poetically connect with the world, regardless of their size or location. Many of us might have either seen or experienced such spaces – this study invites you to help catalogue them to discover a new universe right where we are.

LEAF invites contributors for a collaborative investigation. These are their requirements.

“We are looking to document gardens and landscapes that:

1. Are stunning examples of external place making. This implies that there is a deliberate, human intervention and not a place that has evolved ‘naturally’ over time.

2. These places have to have a very strong spatial character formed and/or communicated by landscape definition and not that of the built. The built could of course be the preliminary marking of space.

3. Cultural landscapes that are of great value with a living human interface and/or a
narrative that includes, history, myth, folklore, animals, birds etc.

4. Landscape systems which might not be dramatic as immediate discernible space but will be valuable to understand as a structuring mechanism of sorts.

5. Are new narratives – agriculture, trade – new rituals and narratives for new spaces.

6. Seem quirky and unconventional; but may be of immense value to understand specific conditions or practices.

For this study, we are emphatically looking at places that are inhabited by living practices. While not discounting the value of landscapes of monuments like that of the Taj Mahal, Mandu, Sarkhej etc; the depth and range of study required to incisively look at them may not be possible as a part of this study. If, within these places there are rituals that continue today from time immemorial; we will definitely investigate them further.

Inviting all of you to participate in this investigation over the next six months. We will be collating all the data and analysis as a document at the end of the process and will share our findings with all the participants. We anticipate this to be an unprecedented collection of living gardens and landscapes of the subcontinent put together in a comprehensive manner.”

For enquiries please contact landscapeindia@usa.net

This document will be published under the auspices of ‘LEAF’; the research arm of M/s. Prabhakar B. Bhagwat. For the past four years now, ‘LEAF’ has been engaged in primary research by engaging and encouraging students through a twelve week research internship.


Manou, from the wonderful Wearabout, just shared this site - We Make Love. Found some lovely products in it that would work well for Diwali.

Crackers in a bag

First up are fabric crackers. Perfect for those who enjoy the design but not the sound. Find it here.

Continue reading ‘Spotted > We Make Love’


PUNARNAWA CRAFTS is committed to Odisha Crafts. Loved the simple details and the vibrant colours. Find them here.

Mohni Basketry/Applique Pouches

Continue reading ‘Caught My Eye > Punarnawa Crafts, Boho Gypsy, Playclan, 61c’


This mention was waiting for a full-fledged post, and while that’s coming up, there’s no reason why everyone can’t enjoy this product till then. Launched in September 2011 by Preethi Sukumaran and Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Krya is a natural and sustainable detergent that works with your hands as well as with your washing machine and of course the environment.

>> Get your pack here, read their informative blog, follow them on facebook. Picture courtesy Krya.


While preserving existing traditions of craft is vital, it’s equally important to foster new ways of seeing. I first saw work by Swati Kalsi (NIFT Delhi 2002) at an exhibition by Jiyo! at Southbank, London. I spent a considerable amount of time following the myriad embroidered patterns. It was evocative even though it wasn’t a familiar grammar of objects and figures that we enjoy seeing in a lot of embroidery from India. There was an order in the seeming randomness – it brought to mind images of terrain mapping and cartography. The garments the embroidery forms part of enhance the work – they seem roomy, comfortable and the embroidery follows the silhouette in a fluid manner – as if in movement itself. Here are a few images from her work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Continue reading ‘Fashion Feature > Swati Kalsi’


This is a 2008 documentary by Hinterland Films on The Musalman.

The Last Calligraphers from Hinterland Films on Vimeo.

Via 100 Hands.

Global Voices says :”The earliest forms of newspaper were handwritten and now ‘The Musalman‘ probably is the last handwritten newspaper in the world. This Urdu language newspaper was established in 1927 by Chenab Syed Asmadullah Sahi and has been published daily in the Chennai city of India ever since.”

This was a more recent report on The Musalman.

Via Global Voices


The Origomu site states that “Over 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of ocean today, killing 2 million sea birds and 100,000 marine animals every year, with many getting entangled in plastic six-pack rings.” To create awareness and re-use of plastic waste, Origomu invites and inspires people to make jewellery from these objects and shares the work on their site.

These are Sham Patwardhan-Joshi’s creations using six pack plastic rings, shells and thread. I loved the way it connects to the cause of saving marine life by using elements left over from settlements in the sea alongside elements left over from settlements on the Earth. Makes one think of what we contribute to the planet. The photography makes the creations look like undersea creatures and the names are evocative. Would love to see them for real.

Whirling Water Open by Sham Patwardhan-Joshi ( 1 six-packs used ),
Six Pack Rings, Sweet water shells, Thread

Continue reading ‘Caught My Eye > Sham Patwardhan-Joshi’


Some refreshing products for children that I enjoyed seeing.

Litttle Prachee

Prachi Walia (NIFT) grew up travelling across India, discovering Indian textiles and now brings it all into her collection. Vintage ‘mom-crafted’ frocks, and the joy of dressing up inspired her in creating Litttle Prachee. Love the use of embroidery, Indian fabrics and the sense of play – would love to see some for boys. You can find more of her work here.

Sotomoto

The prints are playful, the colours are happy and many are gender neutral which is wonderful. Sotomoto is at 24/2 Hauz Khas Village on the ground and 1stfloor, Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm. And online here and here.

Gnaana – Multi-linguaal alphabet blocks

The Gnaana alphabet blocks are truly practical and meaningful. And a wonderful way to introduce your child to a new language. You can pick yours here.

Pero, for children

Aneeth Arora’s Pero is a delightful brand. It tucks in lots of lovely details and brings together varied Indian fabrics like ikats, natural dyed khadi, woven chanderis, gamocha from Assam, telia rumals from Andhra Pradesh. Get some here.


Materials are given second lives in India everyday. Newspapers into peanut cones, old saris into quilts, jeans into storage bags, vegetable peels into compost. Sahil Bagga (College of Art, 2002, Politecnico di Milano) and Sarthak Sengupta (NIFT 2001, Politecnico di Milano) researched on farmers spinning left-over fabric strips (Katran in Hindi) from cloth mills into ropes for making Khatias (string beds). They developed the idea as part of their ‘Zero Kilometre Design Concept™’ to later create a collection of products named Katran.

Sarthak Sahil Design Co was founded in 2009. A multi-disciplinary practice, it works on furniture, products, graphics, brand consultancy, trend development and research, interiors and spatial design. Their portfolio has a mix of identities – the interiors seem to dwell on symbolism, the lamps are slightly kitsch and objects like the metal platter and jewellery have a different aesthetic altogether. But on the whole, the effort seems to do something that is grounded, crafted, local and Indian. Their collection, Katran, seems a coming together of thoughts towards that direction.

Continue reading ‘Design Feature > Katran’


British Council Arts did series of interviews with those within the design sector on what the design industry in India is all about and where is it headed. I found Laila Tyabji’s thoughts especially enlightening.

Design Industry in India by Laila Tyabji from British Council Arts on Vimeo.

More interviews here.


This one made me laugh out loud. Time indeed is a flexible commodity for many of us in India. There is an unsaid rule of sorts, a subtext that once understood adds clarity to interactions. This watch makes it explicit.

Continue reading ‘Caught my eye > Indian Stretchable Time’


I discovered her three years ago and it’s taken this long to convince her to share her work. Kuhelee has a delightful mind. And an intimate way of crafting things. A stray bead, left over wire, pins, scrap fabric – she sees possibilities in everything around her. And has the ability to make it look aesthetic. We are family now, so I have even more opportunities to see her work up close. Sharing her creations and her thoughts.

Pentee-pies (as named by her equally creative daughter Tara)

Continue reading ‘Discovered! Kuhelee Khandelwal’


Photography has changed the way we look at the world. How photogenic a thing is has gained much importance. Something that makes it difficult for details, subtlety and intricate work to stand out at times. Especially so when the context is a fashion show. Movement, distance, lights, everything affects what we see. And it’s unfortunate because details is where a lot of the magic really is. The team at FDCI shared a few images from the WIFW. In no particular order, here’s a pick of what caught my eye with some details picked out so one can look closer.

Pero

Continue reading ‘Caught my Eye > Wills India Fashion Week AW12 – Part One’


In an increasingly cosmopolitan city with an expanding population and widening city limits, how does one capture a sense of identity that has meaning for all?

Exploring such thoughts, I share the work of Neil Dantas (JJ School of Arts, NID). A designer with talent and good intentions who seems to live close to the ground. I enjoyed his work on Mumbai which is a first hand experience of the city. As an old resident, I identify with his graphics and words, said and unsaid.

I am the BEST. Even without a mention of the city, it is quintessentially Mumbai.

Continue reading ‘Design Feature > Neil Dantas’


Bhagyanath C – Ventriloquism
Kashi Art Gallery Archives, December 12, 2010 – January 7, 2011

The series delves into the theory of Evolution and the awareness of the shared fate of the beings of the world. This interaction between Pig and Man seemed so peaceful and complete – no foreignness in their touch, only familiarity one would show someone they are connected with or deeply understand. Poetic.

Secret dialogue -17 Charcoal on paper and transparent sheet, 17” x 22”, 2010

Continue reading ‘Caught My Eye > Bhagyanath C, T.S. Satyan, NN Rimzon, Priti Vadakkath’


Aarohi Singh is putting her art where her heart has always been. Poonchh is a collection of products created in aid of stray dogs. It will be showcased at 100Ft restaurant, Indiranagar, Bangalore on the 10, 11 and 12 February 2012. A great way for those who feel for the cause to show their support by bringing home products that would create a more humane future for stray dogs.

Poonchh featuring Honey.

Continue reading ‘Shout Out > Poonchh by Aarohi’


Chai Paani money bank. Fitting considering the political climate.

Chai Paani money bank

Available at Store ABD, Whitefield – Banaglore, U store, Delhi and Mumbai and online at Shopo
Continue reading ‘Caught my eye > Chai Paani, Naqqashi Platter, Kaagazi, Junk Mirror, Recycled Paper Jewellery’



As visitors to grand Palaces, Temples, Mosques and Tombs, we are likely to come away more with awe than with a picture of what we have really seen. Often, details merge with a memory of the whole. Until someone points out the complexities and captures them so we can study how the place came to be. Henry Wilson’s Pattern and Ornament in the Arts of India is a book about such details. The ones we might miss in a rush to photograph the entirety or struggle to recall in the midst of colour, light, sound and movement. The introduction sets the real premise of the book. The author-photographer shares pictures of patterns and prints from all over India – henna, truck art, block printing, textiles, floor tiles – and clearly states that this book will not be covering any of them. This is a book on Pattern and Ornament as seen in the Architecture of North-West India. And to that end, the book is faithful to its subject.

Continue reading ‘Book Review > Pattern and Ornament in the Arts of India’


Art Meets Fashion, Hand Painted


Aarti Verma of Art Meets Fashion. Hand-painted by Aarti, bags made by Karigars. I liked these three from her hand-painted work. More of it here – Blog and facebook.

Continue reading ‘Caught My Eye > Aarti Verma, SAS Home, Maati, Raja Gondkar’


Today, our fingers and hands do more of this – typing words onto screens, hailing taxis, raising toasts, holding files, carrying shopping bags – and less of this – folding paper to make planes, digging through mud to sow a seed, sewing a button, threading a needle to darn a tear. The process of making is ebbing from urban lives and with it, perhaps a sense of what our hands are capable of creating.

Padmaja Krishnan (NIFT Delhi) opens her installation and sale of hand-crafted clothes at the Artisan Gallery today. In form, her clothes are contemporary; in content, they bring together skills and traditions from the past. She terms them slow and useless. Slow because the pieces are hand-sewn, cared for and given time to take form. Useless since she revives rags and castaways and houses them in new ways.

Wearing something handmade and knowing what went into the process makes that particular piece of clothing radiate with character. It is then difficult to not feel cherished while wearing it. Padmaja’s decision to take time making what she makes is bound to affect the character of her garment and that in turn is bound to affect the wearer. Perhaps a sense of slow will permeate and the wearer will stop to appreciate the seams and threads and colours and then perhaps it might become a reason to be aware of everything around them. All because someone choose to take time and go slow.

Spend some time in her slow and useless world and if you choose, bring it back into yours.

Continue reading ‘Fashion Feature> SLOW. useless.’


Dirty Hands

09Nov11

Rajiv Subba (Chandigarh Art College, NID) and Mamta Gautam (SPA, NID) got together to experiment and delve into something that had no set precedents in India. They formed Dirty Hands, a company that now makes hyper-realistic silicon mannequins and prosthetics for films and works at recreating what we experience.

Though trained in art, architecture, ceramic and glass design, their skills as mannequin makers is self-taught. Which is probably why their office is a cheerful collective of talented friends from various fields with no ‘degrees’ in hyper-realistic work. Their work is convincing and brings out the Indian skin tone and character impressively. Dirty Hands, though pioneering in India, still has some way to go if compared to hyper-realistic works around the world. But it does open up possibilities to create new experiences in the country by people who have an affinity to the stories within.

Mark Twain once said, ‘Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t’. Creating a realistic portrayal of something that once was or still is means there is material to adhere to, possibilities unexplored because a finite object has finite rules that bind it. The idea of portraying reality, to me, seems more in the realm of fantasy, to create something that really isn’t. A clone of reality, distinct in its fictional self and boxed in finite possibilities. Thus not real. No matter how alike.

Let’s interact with the fiction of reality, painstakingly created by Dirty Hands.

Continue reading ‘Dirty Hands’


Exhibition Schedule

Launch event, Thursday, September 29, 2011 (By invitation only):
Woven Woolen Strands of the Desert, a lecture by Jasleen Dhamija, an authority on Asian textiles
Ashoke Chatterjee, former Exceutive Director, NID and former President, Crafts Council of India
Opening times: 7 days a week, 11 – 7 pm

Continue reading ‘Exhibition > ARTISANS’, Kala Ghoda.’


Nidhi Dube from the Indian Institute of Craft and Design wrote to me to introduce Tejas Soni and his experiments with the Dhokra craft. Dhokra is an ancient craft practised by nomadic tribes who have since settled into parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and parts of southern India. One of the earliest known pieces found was the Bronze dancing girl at Mohenjadaro. The craft is practised by both men and women and the objects are cast in metal using what is known as the lost wax process. Today it features more as a exotic buy rather than a relevant ingredient in our daily lives as it was in the ancient times when religious figures, jewellery, diyas, animal figurines and vessels were essential in many homes.

The revival, support, reinterpretation of any ancient art is often met with skepticism – will reinterpretation dilute the legacy or turn it into something commercial and ubiquitous and most important of all, will it benefit the ones who started it all. Tejas Soni works with artisans to reinterpret Dhokra in the modern context – the work is clean and the objects are utilitarian thus can merge in our daily life easily. The forms within it make me wonder – a platter with a cowherd and his cows, a jug with a tribal man on the handle, tribal girls in a trivet – the forms used by the metalworkers in ancient times were an interpretation of the times they lived in – for us, these forms, though lovely, are far removed – how will we choose to interact with them – will we be conscious of their presence or will they perhaps be, just another design element. Let’s explore his work and views.

coasters

Continue reading ‘Product Design > Experiments with Dhokra by Tejas Soni’


To copy is to kill one’s own source of creativity. True inspiration is about admiration, respect and progress. About interpreting what you like, to create something altogether new and often unrecognisable from what inspired it. If it looks exactly like what inspired it, it is a copy or a lack of imagination. I hope all among us who seek inspiration will see the difference in the two and opt for the latter.

A new blog initiated by dedicated makers and creators, who recognise the damage that copying can cause to business and morale, especially for small businesses, now makes it possible for people to share their copyright violations and plagiarism issues. If you have faced similar issues, do get in touch with them, along with of course, pursuing all possible action that you need to.

Bloggers Against Plagiarism


Social networking has created opportunities for creative businesses to get in touch with their audience more intimately and immediately than ever before. It has also created a surfeit of businesses of varying quality. But many do shine through. Ek Karkhana is one such business. It caught my eye largely thanks to their non-dependence on ubiquitous kitsch and their simple, graphic aesthetic. They work from a small workshop, with a team of kaarigars, are passionate about craft and have big plans for the future. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading ‘Design Feature > Ek Karkhana’


The third issue of Spade is here. It deals with architecture and collage and as always promises to throw up questions and thoughts. Contributors include Christopher Benninger, Batul Raj Mehta, Iian Jackson, Gautam Bhatia, Jeenal Sawla, Rohan Shivakumar, Meghal Arya, Sonal Sunderajan, Suhasini Iyer, Aniket Bhagwat and Samira Rathod. You can view a sample of the inside pages via the pdf link below. Orders can be placed via the email id provided. Those interested in research work with SPADE can email for positions at Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

A few sample pages of Spade 3 in this pDf : Spade 3

Contact spadeindia(at)gmail(dot)com


*An Indian By Design Exclusive*

Basic living, in urban and rural areas, has expanded from food, clothing, shelter to include tv, mobile phone, laptop, washing machine, fridge, water heater, ac, car and more. All of which are dependent on fuel/electricity to make them work. The key to living in the future might just depend on how we are able to gain independence from the circle of resources – by building our own homes, growing our own food, even creating our own energy. It is perhaps a way to ensure equitable distribution, responsibly. But for now, these uber basics are vital in our lives, and we must navigate them as best we can. Until an uber cool alternative shows up at our doorstep.

Introducing the MittiCool Fridge.

I’d previously read about ChotuKool, the Godrej fridge that ran on batteries, but this was even better. Purvi Sanghvi, from The Other Side, travelled to Gujarat to take pictures and chat with Shri Mansuk Lal Raghavji Bhai Prajapati from village Wankaner in Gujarat on his invention – a clay fridge that keeps food fresh and cool, without electricity.

MittiCool Refrigerator

Continue reading ‘Design Feature > Mitti Cool’


Vinod Lal Heera Eshwer is a nature evangelist. A nurturer much like Dickon in the book, The Secret Garden. His children’s book, Let’s Plant Trees, is filled with Vinod’s charming sketches to show the true saviours that trees are in our life. The book comes with a gift of seeds that literally helps sow a love for trees in a child.

>> A review of the interesting launch of the book can be read here. The book is published by Tulika and is available at Strand, Mother Earth and Books for Change. Let’s Plant Trees also has a blog. Vinod also promotes Trees for Free.


My first sighting of a tote bag was perhaps the woven plastic ones, the kinds that Madras maamis carry. When we moved to Mumbai, I saw my kaam-waali-bai carry a green printed cloth one and often wondered what she kept inside. Turned out to usually be paan, beedi and some food she gathered from her home visits. In Kolkata, I watched them call it jhola and it was the man-bag before man-bags ever became fashionable (or are they). The Tote is an essential now, easy to carry and inexpensive to collect. They’re also an easy canvas for designers to showcase creativity. And the all-important rallying cry against plastic. Which is why Jitesh Patel’s book is fun and interesting. It takes something that has become such an ubiquitous part of our world today and catalogues it. His interest clearly being in its graphic output and the designers who created them. The form is the same, the designs keep changing. In some cases, it relates to the form of the bag, in some to the use it could be put to. But largely, it’s used much like canvas, with no interaction to its purpose as a bag. The designs could just as well work as a tee, but a bag is perhaps easier to make, one size fits all.

< Photograph courtesy Jitesh Patel. Jitesh Patel is a designer and illustrator. He runs a multi-disciplinary digital design studio, Jai Studio, in Shoreditch, London. He also has a blog dedicated to tote prints. If you’d like to submit your own ‘self-initiated, self-published and commercially available project for potential inclusion in future editions of this book’, do so here. >

If you’d like to make your own Tote bags, check Morsbags for instructions.


Applications for the YCE awards in the sectors of Design, Fashion, Interactive, Screen, Performing arts and Publishing are now open. If you are between 21 – 40 years of age, run your own enterprise in these sectors, apply by filling up a form on the YCE website. If shortlisted, you will be invited to present before a panel of industry experts. The winner will travel to the UK during a relevant trade event along with winners from other countries. Last date of application is 30th May.


“Seventeen year old Khatri Khalid Amin was born in Ajrakhpur, a village whose industry originates in the 4000 year old Ajrakh natural dye printing tradition. Khalid’s unique perspective as a rural designer has materialised in highly individual works, minimal and expressive representations of the landscape around him, whether it be overlaid antique block prints depicting the infinite Gulf of Kutch or the many textures of the Thar Desert.”

His debut collection of stoles is now available at Bombay Electric.
Pictures and text via Bombay Electric.


The toys of my childhood were often assembled with things lying around – newspaper for boats, pebbles for pittoo, chalk for hopscotch, walls for four corners, trees to climb, paper for kites, twigs and rubber bands for slingshots. Toys today are store bought, often hi-tech, tagged according to age group and pre-created.

When Rajiv Majumdar shared these videos of Toys made from Trash, it felt like I’d stumbled upon a treasure. They are the collective effort of Dr. Vidula Mhaiskar, Ashok Rupner, Shivaji Mane and Arvind Gupta who want to make science fun for children by designing low-cost teaching aids. The team works in the Children’s Science Centre, incubated by the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune. Their website features 1100 short films in 13 languages, around 3500 books on Education, Science, Environment and Children’s Books, all available to download for free. Here are a few of the films.

Continue reading ‘Design Feature > Toys from Trash’



My friend Kavita Arvind introduced me to Anuj Sharma’s work in 2008. Purvi Sanghvi re-introduced me to him via this video today. And I am glad she did.

Fashion has increasingly become a business of generating mass trends, the irony of it being that following trends is pretty near unfashionable, not to mention not too great for creativity. So where does that leave us consumers? What is our relationship with fashion? Do we really have a say in what we wear and how we wear it? As a student, I remember buying yards of fabric from khaadi bhandar, going to the tailor, drawing patterns, speaking of fits, hearing the master at the tailor tell me ‘try this, try that’. A lot of my friends made their own clothes too. There was creativity in the entire exercise not to mention immense joy in wearing what one had designed. And I didn’t have to be a design student to do so. Today we trust our wardrobes to designers and our styling to the stylist in a magazine. Anuj Sharma recently spoke at TEDx. He questioned our growing distance from design. And how it got him to create Button Masala. So we can start interacting again, use our creativity and have some fun. Watch the video to hear it in his own words.

Continue reading ‘Fashion Feature > Anuj Sharma – Button Masala’


Guerilla or unsanctioned art invades reality as we see it and interacts with us, the wider audience, in a context that we can relate to and often understand. The subject could be anything commonplace – a street corner we have often walked past, a lamp-post we rarely looked at, storm water pipes that never caught our eye. The act of using the public domain as a gallery, of revisiting everyday spaces and objects and giving them a new meaning could stem from myriad motivations; to make a political statement and challenge the establishment, to be democratic about who gets to view art, to express oneself or sometimes to simply make things better.

Urfun Lab Surat is a clutch of young professionals – Architects, Landscape Architects, Urban designers, Graphic Designers, Event Managers – who have come together to find, create and share their own expression of the urban space around them. By using colourful cellophane sheets, they transformed a mass of storm water pipes into a poetic installation that reflects playful patterns on the otherwise nondescript tar road.

Continue reading ‘Guerilla Feature > Urfun Lab Surat’


These pictures have been pending in the mail archive for a while now. I like the sense of play the pictures have and the dusted Indian yellows and pinks of the tees.

Sheikha and Noe say “A concoction of exotic animals – featuring a cool elephant, NuttyTrunky, a funny cow, CrazyDaisy & a tall camel, HumpyKholy . All wearing the signature Masala Tee jewellery, embossed for added effect. Exclusively packed in silver Masala Tee Pouches.”

Available at the Masala Tee Boutique.


More on her website.



The India HCI-Student design competition. Open to all currently enrolled college students. This is a part of the 3rd International Conference on HCI to be held in Bangalore in April, 2011.

Submission deadline: 15 Jan 2011
Acceptance notification: 10 Feb 2011
Final version deadline: 28 Feb 2011

Details in this pdf – IndiaHCIDesignCompetition

Visit the website for more details.



Sakshi Gallery’s 25th anniversary show. Curated by Swapan Seth. Opens November 12th, 6pm at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. Promises to be interesting.

Details on the Sakshi Gallery website.


Architecture competitions have their fair share of debates on efficacy and final output, but realised projects like the Pompidou Centre and Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial have had a profound impact on the relevance of competitions. The quality of the jury, conviction of the brief and whether the project sees the light of day are crucial in this debate. It is gratifying to see a competition in India that promises this and more.

THE SPIRETEC COMPETITION: An architectural design competition for a 62,750 square metres mixed use area that is part of an IT office complex spread across 85,000 square metres of land; with a built potential of 1,75,000 square metres. The complex is in Greater Noida; part of the Delhi – National Capital Region (NCR). The NCR is spread over an area of 33,578 square kilometres. It is the ninth largest urban agglomeration in the world. The site for the SPIRETEC project lies adjacent to the flood plain of the river Yamuna.

THE INTENTION: To foster an architectural debate that will influence main stream architecture in the country, to examine newer ideas relevant to design and sustainability in the context of India’s new urbanity, and to set extremely high standards of both transparency and quality of assessment in this competition and for such efforts in future. The project already has financial closure and will be built in the next few years.

THE JURY: Ajoy Choudhary, Aniket Bhagwat, Ashish Bhalla, Kai Gutschow, Ken Yeang, Lucien Kroll, Michael Sorkin, Peter Bosselman, Peter Head, Pradeep Sachdeva, Sanjay Prakash, Suparna Bhalla, Tay Kheng Soon.

THE AWARD: Up to five honourable mentions will get an award of US$10,000 each. Three winners will get an award of US$25,000 each. The AOD shall receive a contract of US$250,000.

Click on Competition Poster to view in actual size

Details of the competition are enclosed in this pdf – The SPIRETEC Competition Brief and can also be accessed via the website.


Experimenter, the only gallery from India exhibiting at the Frieze Art Fair in London this October.

FRIEZE ART FAIR, London, 14-17th October 2010
Fair Opening hours: Thursday 14 October: 11am-7pm, Friday 15 October: 11am-7pm, Saturday 16 October: 11am-7pm, Sunday 17 October: 11am-6pm.


Bombay Electric | 1 Reay House I Best Marg I Colaba I Mumbai +91 22 2287 6276 http://www.bombayelectric.in



India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) is an affiliate of the Guggenheim Museum on the YouTube Play project and invites you to submit videos to YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video.

The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2010.

How to Participate: Through July 31, 2010, participants are invited to submit new or existing videos created within the last two years at youtube.com/play. Submissions may include any form of creative video, including animation, motion graphics, narrative, non-narrative, or documentary work, music videos, and entirely new art forms.

Selection Process: After the submission period closes, the Guggenheim Museum will identify up to 200 videos for online viewing at youtube.com/play. From this group, up to 20 videos will be selected by a jury of experts, comprised of distinguished artists, filmmakers, graphic designers, and musicians, to be presented at the Guggenheim Museum in New York during a special event on October 21, 2010, on view to the public October 22–24, with simultaneous presentations at the Guggenheim museums in Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice.


A year ago, in the living room of Jyoti’s apartment, I watched her perform The Doorway for an audience of one – me. It stirred me, in a way that I could not understand or place words to. It is an intense, involved experience and the interpretations are as much ours as hers. The project was funded by India Foundation for the Arts under the Extending Arts Practice programme and is being performed this weekend in Bangalore.


Jyoti says:

“‘The Doorway’ is a collection of stories woven into a physical narrative examining the nature of our physical inhabiting of ‘closed’ and ‘open’ spaces. The spaces considered in the piece vary along a continuum from the literal to the metaphorical; the body’s response to space itself, and the various associations that spaces evoke, connects the diverse material.
Some of this material is loosely autobiographical; the rest has been drawn from images or impressions of life around me, some from fairy tales and folk songs, and some from entirely imaginary experiences.
The narratives are communicated through bodily images, gestures, and sounds [mumblings / chants], with minimal spoken text. They sometimes feature unambiguous beginnings and endings, but, more frequently, begin in the middle and are then abandoned, or conclude abruptly, or begin independently only to subsequently merge with the others.
The piece does not look to convey the specific details of these stories so much as to use them as provocations evoking stories from the lives of the spectators, who are encouraged to begin their individual journeys of personal associations.
The Doorway has been performed in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bhopal, Ujjain, Jabalpur,  Katni, Pondicherry, Trichur, Trinvandrum,  Kochii and at Ninasum in Hegaddu.”
Ranga Shankara, Bangalore, on July 23 at 7:30, July 24 at 3:30 and 7:30, July 25 at 3:30 and 7:30
For online booking please visit www.indianstage.in and www.bookmyshow.com. For tele-booking please call: 9886334291



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