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.
We chat up with designer Amrita Giriraj of Alankaara; a design studio in Chennai that handicrafts jewellery and lifestyle products. She talks about her new product line, work space and plans for her craft venture. Her story…
A bit about yourself and what you do.
Having received a Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree from Stella Maris College and a PGDP in Art and Design from Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore, it was only fitting that I walked down the designer/artist road. I did try my hand at being a merchandiser, it did not work out. My graduation project was all about preservation and uplifting of the trodden crafts in southern India, which taught me all about business design, design entrepreneurship etc. Once I started, there was no looking back. There were a lot of judgments passed about someone who just graduated starting a company on her own, but with the encouragement of family and friends, I began the journey and now crossed a year. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
My recent range, Tsire, a range of dinnerware is meant to be an ode to the trodden flowers, leaves and ferns we see everyday, but ignore. The collection that will be showcased at the market will have flowers that were disposed by vendors in Koyambedu due to the Cauvery bandh in Chennai. Each piece is unique and holds significant value. I will also be displaying a range of jewellery for the festive season, like jhumkas, temple necklaces and more!
Describe your work space and what’s it like?
A month ago, I moved from my garage to a 900 sqft space, a street away from home. It’s now my haven. I go to my studio/workshop/warehouse at around 11.00 AM and put in around 13 hours of work. I’ve always dreamed of having a space that has an ancient ambiance to it, old furniture, old doors, old flooring, high ceiling etc – which is what my studio looks like. Its a fusion of the old tamizh home with contemporary accents.
What’s your favourite pick at ALANKAARA?
I love the wooden memory boxes.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
“Leave emotions at the doorstep of your office” Its something I’m working on because I always get emotionally involved in any business deal, which is possibly the worst mistake.
You have participated at an earlier edition at BHFTH; share your experience.
By Hand, From The Heart is what I refer to as my kick-starter to anyone who asks me about my journey. There is no validation like knowing people want your products, which is what BHFTH does – it validates. My journey started around the same time as the 16th Edition where everything began.
The Chennai shopper.
Chennai is such a diverse city! You’ll find people donning kanchivaram sarees with kitten heels and veshti with leather shoes! The city is warmly welcoming all kinds of handmade products and the market potential is as good as any “happening” city.
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