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.
When Divya Prasanna had her son, she took a break from her full time job as an architect. With no regrets, she became a stay at home mom to nuture her child. This leap turned out to be a wonderful thing for her as she discovered her new calling. Somewhere during their play dough sessions; Divya was inspired to craft unique clay tableware designs. This led her to start up sometime on her own from her home in Bangalore. We talk to Divya to find out more about her works & more…
A bit about yourself and what you do.
Based out of Bengaluru, I am a qualified and was practicing architect with a decade long experience at various Bangalore based architectural firms. And then, a little over a year ago, I gave up the job to be with my son. However once bitten by the design bug, it was hard to sit back. I got to back to sketching and my son’s play dough and coloring prompted me to explore more. Each of his craft sessions inspired me to get a different perspective to the same things. Soon I was back to my drawing boards and it was back to the sketches. But this time it was with a new intent- product design based on handmade traditions.
Why is making important to you?
Handmade traditions have been there since us humans learned to work with our hands. And there is always a joy in making and as well as in using hand made products. Personally ‘making’ is important to me because it helps me translate a design effectively. The process of making is fulfilling, as I discover the extent a material can be put to use. The limitations and possibilities of a material is a world of opportunities during the making process. And most importantly, design and ‘making’ are parts of an equation; a well-made product balances the equation of a good design.
How long does it take to make a product? What’s involved?
Generally each product takes an average of three months. Design and design development is an extensive and drawn out process which is about two months and the actual production takes up at least a month and in some instances a little over a month.
Each of our products is first conceived on our sketch boards. These ideas are then translated to scaled drawings and 3d sketches. These drawings and sketches are then translated into samples. The models/samples help us fine tune and eliminate practical issues if any. Then a final drawing along is done for product which will indicate complete detail of specifications, like color and patterns to be used.
These products are then finished and assembled at our studio. Post production, a through quality test is run on each product. Any extra input, when and if required, we work closely with specific technicians for specifi support at the technician’s workshop.
Where do you look for inspiration? And what is inspiring you now?
The inspiration in general is, local or region specific art forms and materials, a traditional craftsmanship motivates me to explore further. Specifically my inspirations are drawn from history-mythology and from my keenness in geometry.
The intention has been to translate handmade art into a utilitarian product which can be part of our everyday lives and yet retain the flavor of being handmade. Also the aim is to explore and interpret each material with a new perspective and approached with a fresh technique.
Describe your work space and what’s it like?
My work space is divided up as indoor design workspace and an outdoor work area. The design worktable consists of a sketch book and a laptop. It doubles up as a manual drafting table with a cutting mat to make a quick paper model or a clay model. Colors and coloring aids (Brushes-Palettes-markers et al.) are another constant fixture in my workspace. Books- mostly fiction-mythology- history and puzzles are a welcome distraction in the workspace.
A semi covered terrace area is where most of the hands on work happen- it is our work lab. Most of the practical work and all the experiments happen here.
Tell us about your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
We will be showcasing products in three categories at BHFTH,
a) Svarochi (light from within) Inspired by the concept that light is lack of darkness; this collection consists of hand punched pendant lights.
b) Play – Optical illusion is a play on our eyes or a game of basketball, playing is the inspiration for this collection of hand painted table lamps.
2) Clay tableware
Poetry Of earth – The yore of earthenware and the traditions of pot making hasinspired this collection of tableware. In the recent times, pottery skills are generally limited to making planters. The take in this collection is not just reviving the art of pottery earthenware but about personalizing the clayware.
3) Ceramic tile art wall décor & ‘Nammuru’
A series of hand sketch of Bengaluru & most celebrated and historic places laid on normal ceramic tiles and kiln fired.
What is a typical day at handworkstudio, like.
A typical day usually starts with a list of things to do. Most mornings involve design or design development work and sample preparation. Most afternoons are for coordination and research on new technique/material or on fine tuning a particular technique. Late afternoons and evening generally involves categorizing and cataloging of work done and networking. And the day wraps up with a ‘to do’ list to begin the next day.
What’s the best thing about being a design entrepreneur?
Translating sketches to products and the journey of seeing these products made is definitely one of the best things. The other interesting part of being a design entrepreneur is the ability to talk about the design and market the product directly to the customer is hugely satisfying. A lot of times, these talks with the customer give the spark to the next possibility with the product or material.
What advice would you share to those who want to take on their hobby/ passion into a career?
Work hard and work to one’s own strength. It is important to pursue the idea which sparks interest in us rather than try to follow or work on assumed current trends. The end use of a craft is personal satisfaction and contentment, and the end use of a craft based career is to be able to blend in our craft into the end users’ essentials. Personally, I take in advice and criticism as a part of design development and that helps me stay focused on the ender users’ needs.
I believe any place is an amalgamation of the entire people, culture, and heritage which lends it, its character, and the memory it evokes. My brief visits to Chennai have left me with lots of respect for the people and the culture. Art forms are always pursued by most people on a daily basis, as part of life in Chennai and are greatly valued. And not to miss out some absolutely lip smacking food.
Travelling alone or with family, on office or personal work, Chennai was always a comfortable place and I always found a ‘thambi’ or an ‘amma’ to help me. And Chennai is extra special to me, because my first ever order was from a friend in Chennai. So, it is a pleasure now to be back in Chennai through the August 2016 By Hand From The Heart event.
Meet design entrepreneur, Divya Prasanna, Handwork Studio, Bangalore at By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 18th Edition
Friday – Saturday, 5th – 6th August, 2016
10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India