By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a textile designer, having done my masters in Fine Arts from Stella Maris College, Chennai. I have been guided by my mother Kala Thamby, an established textile designer herself in Chennai, with thirty years of experience in hand, so its only natural for me to get drawn towards colors, patterns and more from my childhood days. Besides, my years in Kolkata, which is a treasure –house for designers like me, where I had the fantastic opportunity to work with skilled artisans/craftsmen. This working experience has helped me evolve as a designer.
How will you describe what you do and how long have been making and creating?
I have been designing for the past decade. I would like to call myself a contemporary designer trying to blend the old charm of traditional fabrics/techniques with modern day patterns with focus on textures, earthy yet vibrant color palette which, I believe is elegant, classy and can be worn on any occasion with a major emphasis on affordability. My designs are all about real people in real situations.
Tell us about your recent works and showcase at By Hand From The Hand Show?
My showcase at the show is about expressing the magic of our Indian weaves & the intrinsic beauty found in the wooden block prints. The focus is on offering a variety in colors, fabrics, textures and of course the designs, so there is a whole lot to choose from.
Can you describe your workplace?
My design unit/space in Chennai is airy, well lit, spacious and exudes positive energy. There are two design/ printing tables. With a separate space to store the color cans and for color mixing and a wash area to clean out the wooden blocks and a storage area to stock the fabrics to be designed.
What is a typical day at ‘Wood & Yarn’ like?
The day begins for me around nine a.m and goes on till six p.m with a short lunch break in between. I personally supervise all the designs being block- printed by the Karigars. I also make my way to the weaving units, at least in the initial stage to discuss with the weavers, the color concepts and the weaving style /patterns .
What/who inspires you or how do you find inspiration?
I am an Observer. I draw inspiration from everything I see around me from the most mundane to the so called grandeur.
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
My designs are an end to end process. Starting off with working on the basic color concepts/combinations/patterns on paper then putting it through the process of weaving, hand-dye and finally block prints and at times I do surface embellishments in self tones. For me the most rewarding part is when the designs take on a life of its own from nothing and create a style statement.
What is the best thing about being a designer?
When a client makes my design their own, in other words what I envision creatively works beautifully for another person and the excited feedback I get from them about the appreciation they receive each time they wear my designs.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
I would say, believe in what you do. Be true to yourself. Every design reflects the mindset of the designer. There are always buyers for anything new, creative and unique.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
I am exploring the possibility of designing bags and jewellery adhering to the aesthetic sensibilities of Wood & Yarn.
About Chennai, what advice would you give other makers to explore Chennai?
Chennai is a potential market, very receptive to new ideas and trends. This is something I have been witnessing as a maker/seller. I’m always on the lookout, myself, for clothes and accessories at such shows and I am never disappointed . So do not miss out an opportunity to showcase in this amazing city.
How was business for you at the event?
We had a wonderful response at the event . Great Sales. Lots of enquiries. Loads of love & appreciation for our colours and designs , made our day and all the hard work worth it!
Describe your market experience.
This is our first ever showcase and we couldn’t be happier. The venue. The ambience . The discerning crowd and way the whole event was put together was brilliant. We felt good to exhibit along with other creative/talented Entrepreneurs. We were also amused and delighted with the curiosity generated about how the name ‘Wood & Yarn’ came about.
What was the outcome of your participation?
The crowd’s enthusiastic response toward W&Y has been very encouraging and overwhelming. We were able to connect and interact with interesting people . We have been able to broaden our Customer database. We also got to understand people’s specific requirements , which we hope to incorporate in our next collection. A big heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the organisers Deepa Sekar and Kshiti Davey for giving us this opportunity to be a part of this “melting pot” of art , culture and creativity.