By Hand From The Heart is a curated Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 in Coimbatore | 23rd Edition: 16th – 17th – February '18 in Chennai.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi everyone. I am Savita Narasimhan, classical musician-turned-entrepreneur. I grew up in Delhi in an art-loving family. After graduating from Lady Sriram College, I moved to Madras to learn classical music and perform the same, which I have done for the last 18 years. Any time that I was not practicing or performing, was spent in drawing or painting, my second passion. Following suggestions from family and friends, I decided to do an impromptu exhibition of my collection in early 2012, which not only sold out but also sowed the seeds of my company Rangalekha. I launched the company later that year and decided to bring together the rich imagery of Indian folk art motifs and handmade paper products, both closely wedded to nature. I realized that Indian folk art need not always have to be enjoyed on walls or textiles alone, and that it could be brought into simpler articles of day-to day use! It has been an interesting 3 years, full of experiments and a steady learning experience.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
I design folk art motifs on handmade paper products like gift bags, gift envelopes, tags, bookmarks, journals and more. I use only organic paper made from recycled cotton, grain husk and banana fiber. While some of my regular products are available at Chamiers and Cane and Bamboo in Chennai, I design custom-based ones for my clients for specific events or functions too. This is my 3rd year and it has been very creatively satisfying.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
My latest focus has been on gift boxes. I have designed gift boxes that come with tags and beautifully colored twine. You can put your gift in, and tie the box with the twine and tag contained in it and viola, you have an attractive gift-packaging solution, without the bother of having to look for wrapping paper, tags etc! Other than this, I have a new range of gift envelopes, journals, gift bags and bookmarks for the upcoming By Hand From The Heart Show.
Can you describe your work place / space?
I have a studio at home where I create all my designs. I am somewhat of a cleanliness freak and like to have an assigned space for everything; else my studio would be a jumbled mess of paper, cord, paints, paper tools and tons of similar stuff! A large desk next to a large window, lots of light and music and I am set to work.
What is a typical day at Rangalekha like?
If I am in the process of designing a product, it could take anything from 2-6 hrs to do so. I prefer working in the afternoons, in the quiet and privacy of my studio. My mornings are still devoted to music I now have a small 2-member team that helps me with sourcing the paper, making my products and product photography.
What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?
There is endless inspiration in nature! I also love the simplicity and aesthetics of our folk art and craft and the fact that it is central to the day-to day life of the craftsmen – not some inaccessible art that belongs in museums alone. I am amazed by rural, wandering tribal women, who, as they go about their chores, think nothing of creating a beautiful wall mural, or weave a whole sari or baskets or anything else that they use in daily life. I am glad these native crafts are getting the attention and patronage that they so richly deserve.
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
I trust my creative intuition, born of years of exposure to beautiful craft during my years in Delhi. My performing career has also given me the opportunity to travel widely within India and different parts of the world, where I have had more exposure to local art and craft. All of this has given me a deep understanding of shape, color and overall aesthetic. Once I decide the design for a specific product, I do a test run with a sample to ensure the final product meets my requirements, before I go ahead with production.
One of the most satisfying parts of the process is when an idea takes shape! Even more satisfying is when I see Rangalekha products put to use by others.
What’s the best thing about being a crafter/designer?
The endless scope for creativity. There is no room for monotony of any kind in designing, with so much of variety and constant application of ideas. Sky is the limit..
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Trust your skill, your creativity and work from and with all your heart – everything else will be taken care of.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
A recipe box with a collection of ‘make your own recipes’ cards, based on all the Indian spices and herbs. But ssshhh, that’s a surprise that will be unveiled soon..till then 🙂
Savita Narasimhan will present her designer stationery collection at the By Hand, From The Heart Artisan & Farmers Market | 7- 8 August 2015 | 10 a.m – 8 p.m | Hanu Reddy Residences, 41/19, Poes Garden, Teynampet, Chennai.
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/791353340961431/