By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Krupa Ge, from Madras. I’ve called this city my home from when I born. I am also a writer and editor. I founded The Madras Mag, to give this city its first and only online literary magazine. It has been a dream run thus far.
Subadra Kalyanaraman, who is bringing her work to this exhibit, loves traditional Indian art forms and a lot of her work is inspired by them. Her love for Indian folk art has taken the shape of a Madhubani-themed adult colouring book.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
We create books, with the help of other writers and artists. We have recently ventured into creating stationary.We now do notepads, calendars, bookmarks, envelopes and cards.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
We recently brought out an anthology featuring the works of 30 writers from around the globe, and artwork by artists from across the world as well.
The Madras Mag Anthology of Contemporary Writing will be showcased at the By Hand, From The Heart market space. Rare vintage book cover calendar, bookmarks, greeting cards with stunning prints and more will find its way to the market.
Subadra Kalyanaraman is coming up with a Madhubani-themed adult colouring book, completely hand-drawn especially to this market. This book is completely hand-drawn by her and comes in high quality paper in a ‘pull out and frame’ format.
Madhubani -Theme Adult Coloring Book
The Madras Mag’s publishing arm, Mulligatawny Books is happy to launch its second title at the at the By Hand From The Heart event. Titled, Kurunthokai – Love. Loss. Landscapes; the book, illustrated and translated by S. Ramachandran.
Can you describe your work place?
You will usually see me sprawled or bent over my laptop, creating new designs, editing or answering emails in my living room, as the sun bounces off our yellow-walled living room. My living room is my studio and my couch my workstation.
What is a typical day at The Madras Mag like?
A typical day involves many davara-tumblers of strong filter coffee, a lot of answering of emails. But most importantly, it involves truck loads of creative satisfaction. From choosing colours of fonts on the dates of our calendar to wondering which preposition will best fit a sentence and enhance its flavour, I enjoy every second of this work.
What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?
The magic of the written word keeps me going. It helps me escape the mundane to magical imagined realms sometimes. And some times it helps me see the magic in the mundane.
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
I start with an idea in my head, particularly while designing stationary. Inspired by a design element in something I’ve recently loved or seen. I work my way then through the colour scheme of what I want to create. I then sit down to decide on the brass tacks. For instance, to create a vintage book cover calendar I searched high and low for rare covers of ancient books. I then worked on a colour scheme. Created the actual calendar, and then tweaked on it over months, arriving at the final design. The most rewarding part is of course chancing upon something brilliant in the midst of this search for something new. Be it on the internet, or within me.
What’s the best thing about being a designer?
The joy of holding something of beauty in your hand, that at some point was just an idea in your head is incomparable. It is in many words like the process of writing. Creating worlds anew from the deep crevices of your brain.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Make sure you have a plan. Think through the entire process – from the idea to delivery and use. And then just do it.
Chennai – your association with this city. Your observations and learning about Chennai. What advice would you give other makers to explore Chennai?
Madras, Chennai, is my hometown. My maternal grandfather moved to this city looking to become a musician and went on to found The Cine Musicians Union in Madras. It has a rich history and it will let you be, if that’s what you want, that is. I would say look beyond the stereotypically easy things to find. Don’t stop with the places romanticised in travel books. Go out there and look. Talk to people. Engage with people. You will be surprised at the layers you peel away as you get familiar with my city. Everything you want is here.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
We are starting our own publishing house with exciting new books – from established and new authors! Based right here in Madras.
How was business for you at the event?
We had an excellent run at the market. We had worked on 2 new books (a Madhubani-themed colouring book for grown ups) and a book of translated sangam poetry, which we were launching at the market. There was a lot of both anxiety as well as excitement in wanting to know what the response is like. Looking back, we cannot be more pleased. Must say it surpassed our expectations.
Describe your By Hand From The Heart market experience.
This was the first time we were participating in an exhibition, and we couldn’t have asked for a better platform. Most importantly, the platform gave us an opportunity to meet and network with people from very diverse backgrounds – a lot of them we would not have been able reach out to otherwise. Also gave us a good perspective on where our product stands/its appeal in a market place.
Big thank you to By Hand From The Heart team for all the time and effort put in promoting every one of the participants. You guys did a great job in getting the word out, and we could see the results in terms of the crowd turn out.
What was the outcome of your experience?
Outcome is that a. we were a lot more confident about our book post the event, b. got a good assessment of our target audience, which has helped us a lot in the following days in our product positioning and promotional activities.