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.
Somasundaram Padmanabhan, Woodooz is an active DIY advocate, crafter and blogger. He shares in detail about his woodwork craft venture – Woodooz and his first showcase at the makers market in Chennai. Read on to discover more about his works and plans at Woodooz.
A bit about yourself.
I am an Engineer by qualification who took to DIY as a hobby. A wannabe woodworker. I love music and everything Illayaraja about it. I was in the IT profession for close to 16 years which I gave up to pursue my passion, the outcome of which is what I would showcase at The By hand, from the Heart event. Much like more men here, I grew up playing street Cricket. I take to swimming for some relaxation. I live with my wife and 2.5 years old daughter in Chennai.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
I love bright colors and patterns and I try to incorporate that into my lampshades. I am also a big proponent of DIY and so, naturally, most part of my creations are my own handiwork. For now, am also keeping it simple and elegant with squares and circles.
Creating started as a hobby for me only 6 years back when I made a Center Table with no knowledge / experience in carpentry. It got me hooked so much that I started looking at making more things for the home. Ever since, it has been a joy ride for me. From clocks, to small trays, to baby gates, to cabinets, to Golu Padi (traditional steps like showcase), to participating in my first ever exhibition.
Why is making important to you?
There is always a certain kick around building things from scratch. And I love that feeling. It also gives me an opportunity to explore my creativity which otherwise would have been very latent.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed Woodooz showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart
It is only recently that I launched my online shop and the focus has been entirely on Lampshades. I use a mix of metal and wooden frames and work predominantly with bright fabric. I take my time hand picking the fabric for the shades and I mostly go with bold and beautiful patterns with bright colors. I work with block printed designs to more traditional Kalamkari and Ikats (ethnic printing styles in India). I want to work on adding more variants and products to the brand and am taking one step at a time. At the exhibition, I intend to showcase my collection of table lamps and floor lamps.
Describe your work premises & what is a typical working day, like.
I have for now occupied one entire room for doing my work. With a queen sized bed in a corner, I am left with a small 6 ft x 7 ft space (which is always in a mess) where I do I all my work. Sometimes, when I am lazy to clean up, I tend to use the living room and a little bit of the dining space. With Woodooz Lampshades being fairly nascent, I spend most of my day on research on raw materials, identifying potential vendors, and working on pending orders for that day. Keeping my online shop updated with more products also keeps up occupied.
What is your personal favorite pick with Woodooz right now? And why?
My personal favorite from my brand right now is the custom made photo-lampshade. There has been tremendous response for it and people have been liking the fact that they can capture their own memories in a lampshade. The Dasavataram shade which was designed specifically for the Navaratri season is also on top of my favorites list.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
Don’t have an exit clause. That would mean I would have no option but to make Woodooz work at all cost.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?
Am still learning. Given that I am new to this world of crafting business, there is something to learn for me everyday. But on top of my list – Never give up looking for what you want to find. One way or the other you will find it.
I have never been out of this city for more than 30 days in a stretch. Neither do I intend to. My entire life is deeply rooted here in Chennai that I cannot call any other place my home. It is a beautiful city like no other and I take immense pleasure in calling myself a thoroughbred Chennaite.
At the Makers Market exhibition in Chennai this October, meet the maker!
By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – Festival Special – 19th Edition
Date: Friday – Saturday, 7th – 8th October, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Venue: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
Address: 132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India