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

By Hand From The Heart is a curated makers market event in Chennai, South India. UPCOMING EVENT: 24th – 25th, AUGUST, CROWNE PLAZA, CHENNAI

Meet The Maker: M.Kalaivani, Artist / Fabric Designer, 56th Day, Goa

We talk to Kalaivani about her passion for cyanotype printing and her creative venture – 56th Day, based in Goa. Let’s find out more about how it all began, her journey so far, her inspirations and her maiden showcase at By Hand From The Heart Makers Market in Chennai. 


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and describe what you do.

After practising as an Architect for 5 years, I felt, I was not doing justice to the state of mind I happened to be right after the divorce. So I started a new journey.

I have been making cyanotype prints on fabric. As a medium, it provided me great freedom with the process. With my need for expressing, the prints became my frame of reference to react and see response. I started printing everything around me, especially the abundance of monsoon in Goa. With the pressed and preserved inventory of leaves, wings, dragonflies, bird’s nest, honey comb, fish bone, sea weed and flowers, the elements are local.


I had the freedom to draw over it to make layers of meaning. Depending on the exposure time, I could make tonal variation and tone it with hard whole (a nut used for dyeing) or tea for colour variation. It allows me to place objects and imprint them the mild blur that happens because of the sun movement during exposure. This way, it becomes context specific too. I started seeing the content taking shape in the process.

Visuals have a strong place in everyday communication. Being comfortable with cyanotype, I set out to create visuals of my thought.

In the print Sukshmam and Sthulam, two ropes were used to make two different types of interaction on either side of the same wooden plank.

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Here, I believe, art bridges the gap between the real and the unreal, showing how both are just two sides of the same thing. This way, meaning emerges through experiencing art. Using everyday objects to imprint an idea creates a context that everyone could relate to.

56th day is an interesting name; is there a story to share?

I was married for 55 days and sudden change of things led me to Goa and work here. Without this, it would have been a very far flung dream, to give yourself the freedom to find out what you would love to do.

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Why is making so important to you?

Making anything is an effort towards realizing a thought in reality. That way, I will keep making to keep spreading what I believe in, as my pursuit of happiness.

What goes into creating a cyanotype print? 

I make a photosensitive chemical in the dark room and apply it on the required material, I have used paper and fabric so far. Then with the leaves or the negative placed on it, you expose it in the sun and fix it with water. And I use a nut – harde whole for toning.


Any design story you would like to share.Your inspirations. 

A dear friend and an artist, Srijan Jha is one great inspiration to start following my dreams. I used to spend a lot of time hanging around him to know how being an artist is not just a skill on paper but a form of expression through your very being. The latest series I am working on, a range of scarfs titled. ”stories of transition”, other small series of works, ”met when created”, tote bags and ”of fins and wings” backpacks, everything is a reflection of the same inspiration. Being in Goa, I was lucky to meet a lot of inspiring people following their dreams, to keep reminding you to follow yours too.


What are you displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart.

For now, I am bringing fashion, home decor and stationery with a range of consumable form of my art through bookmarks, cards, wall hangings, curtains, furniture, scarfs, sarees and some apparels. The variety happened through collaboration with some friends in design and retail fields.

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About your work space.

I like being in my darkroom, it has fairy lights inside actually with good music, made by a dear friend and artist, Vidhya Gopal fills my work space! With the print inventory to roam around through.

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What is a typical working day, like.

Or rather it starts from night. With the summer heat, I like working in the night since it is dark anyway. So I could have the doors and windows open for the breeze. This way, I could work on larger layouts where i could lay it out and it gets exposed with the sunrise. Then I fix it with water and dry it to catch the setting sun rays. This way, typical work day is to chase the sun. And I cook all my meals in between this process!


What is your personal favorite pick from your collection right now? And why?

My best, I would say, which is going to be in progress for sometime, the compilation, ‘Spirit of pursuit’. This is what I believe in, how spirit of pursuit should find meaningful association with the context realising that every individual has an ultimatum that is free of context.


Handmade in India / Make in India – what does this mean to you?

I think we should look past it to see if it is a ‘conscious creation’, to find its value. Everything else will be taken care of.

By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 20th Edition
Date: Friday – Saturday, 7th – 8th July, 2017
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

LINKS: 20th Edition Makers Market Event Page | Facebook|Instagram|Twitter |Blog


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