By Hand From The Heart: One Show, Many Stories!

By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Meet The Maker: Rajesh Bajaj, Kairasi 

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A bit about yourself.

‘Kairasi’ has been handcrafting furniture since early 2015.  Our Tamil name ‘Kairasi’ translates in English to ‘hands that are blessed’, inspired by the deft workmanship of our master craftsmen.  Our genres include antique restoration, steam-punk inspired furniture with up-cycled wood and industrial pipes, and custom-made furniture with re-purposed traditional wood such as teak and rosewood.  We are on a constant journey of creative innovation and discovery to handcraft utilitarian and sustainable furniture.

The works on display.

We are showcasing a range of furniture from restored antiques to modern contemporary.

Why is making is important to you? 

Making, for us is an art, science and passion.  Our furniture is a keepsake that you can cherish and value for generations.  Our focus is on creating durable, authentic, utilitarian and customised furniture from traditional wood that deters pest attacks and is long lasting.  We coat and varnish our furniture with natural ingredients that are environmentally friendly . We support the traditional livelihoods of the makers, our master craftsmen, who are also constantly innovating and evolving while upholding their traditional craft practices.

What was the first thing you remember making? What’s your most challenging work so far.

The first furniture ‘Kairasi’ worked on was an antique Burma teak wood cupboard that belonged to an elderly lady.  This was her keepsake given to her by her father who brought it back to Chennai after his service with the then British government in Burma.  The entire process of restoring it was an emotional and satisfactory journey as it came with several challenges.  It had been painted over several times and needed careful restoration to bring it back to its original glory.
Before ‘Kairasi’ was born we started by making individual pieces of furniture for friends and family as a hobby.  It was so addictive and satisfying that we decided to form ‘Kairasi’ and got on board our master craftsmen as permanent employees.

About Chennai What advice would you give other to artists & makers to explore Chennai?

My friend’s grandfather once said, “give your all to whatever you do with a great deal of interest, passion and an eye for detail, honestly and without any expectations or comparisons, and everything else will fall into place.”  This sums up our advice to artists and makers.  Kairasi’s focus is also on building relationships with our customers where we design and custom make furniture, adding to its uniqueness as every piece of furniture we make is handcrafted and different from any other.  Our customers can sell their old furniture to us or exchange it for a handcrafted Kairasi piece. We even offer to exchange previously purchased Kairasi products for new pieces.

What’s next for you?

We are on a constant journey of exploring, discovering and innovating that never ends.  Along with our search and restoration of antiques, we intend to explore and make utilitarian home accessories such as lamps and clocks make from up-cycled wood and other material that straddle diverse genres and styles.

Rajesh Bajaj will showcase KAIRASI – a collection of restored, re-purposed retro vintage furniture at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market event in Chennai
Exhibiting Dates 5th & 6th February, 2016
Timings 11:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m
At, Lalit Kala Akademi, Regional Centre, Ground Floor Gallery, 4, Greams Road, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 006, India.
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1064545906911602/
Artists & Makers Market will also feature a Art Group Show
on 1st – 3rd February 2016 . Same venue & timings.
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