By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
Anju Nair of Wood & Yarn, Chennai designs hand block printed textiles. Let’s find out more about her design venture and we look forward to seeing her stylist yet affordable range of sarees at our upcoming makers market event here in Chennai this October.
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.
Why block printing? Have you always been drawn to it?
Hand block printing is an ancient textile art form dating back to the 12th century . It’s both pride and privilege for me to keep alive our craft tradition . This process can be tedious and time-consuming but the end result gives me great satisfaction as a designer.
The beauty of a delicately carved wooden block, the rhythm of the block being stamped on the fabric and the skilled craftsmanship involved in this process, still fascinates me as it did in my formative years!
I love that I can experiment and create an artistic blend of modern and traditional aesthetics.
Tell us about your new showcase at the By Hand From The Heart.
This is our second showcase at the BHFTH event . It’s all about vibrant jewel color palette, rich weaves/ fabrics highlighted by contemporary block printing in sync with the festival edition. We are also showcasing exclusive un-stitched suits teamed with interesting duppattas.
What’s your favourite pick with Wood& Yarn?
I would say the collection as a whole. Each and every piece is unique with a distinct design concept of its own.
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’s the piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business.
Most definitely to be “hands-on” , to be personally involved in every aspect of the business and attention to minute details goes a long way in building a formidable brand.
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