By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Today we feature, designer principal Chanchal Badsiwal of Chanchal , Bangalore in our ongoing Meet The Maker Series featuring the participants at our July 2017 Makers Market. Chanchal talks about her venture and her passion for design and Indian textiles and art. Chanchal shares with us her experience, current projects and work space. Her story…
A bit about yourself.
I grew up in Delhi and had always dreamed of starting my own business.I am a nature lover and a believer in Karma. To see life from different perspectives, I travel and read. I love Art in its various forms ~ music, dance, paintings, poetry and theater.
I have worked in various corporates in the business research field for almost a decade. In 2014, I moved to Bangalore with my husband with the aim of continuing my corporate journey. But this change of location gave me some time to ponder over life and the desire of doing something meaningful overtook.I started Chanchal ~ Bringing Art to Life in 2015, a social enterprise to revive and sustain traditional Art, Craft & Textiles of India. We work directly with weavers and artisans across the country and make contemporary products using traditional textiles and art forms.
Why is making important to you? And what is inspiring you now?
The process of creation is complete in its own way. Every time I make a new design or work with my artisan team on various concepts/themes, I feel rejuvenated. And when our customers identify with the cause we believe in and show their love for our products, the satisfaction grows manifolds.
I have always been inspired by our country’s wealth of tradition, culture and its Art/textiles. My roots are from Rajasthan –the land of colors and grandeur. So I guess I always had the affinity towards Art.
My love for travel gave me the opportunity to experience India’s local cultures and their Art. Some of my visits to interior villages shook me when I saw the plight of artisans and weavers. This pain mixed with my love for Art gave birth to Chanchal.
What was the first thing you remember making?
As a working woman, I always understood the need of an aesthetically appealing, functional bag for the everyday women. My idea was to fuse the modern designs with traditional textile and create a range of hand-bags which can be taken to work-place, colleges and other everyday occasions. I wanted to break the image of Fabric Bags which were till then only seen as Jholas.
We designed our first line of Pochampally clutches in 2014. I remember going back and forth on designs, finding the right fabric for each design, getting the raw material, and finally shaping the whole thing up with the help of my Karigar. Those first few samples taught me a lot.We got a great response and I realised that there is a demand of these designs which were so far in my mind only.
Making a bag; what’s involved?
The needs of a user and occasion/time of the day ~ those are the most important things for me and that is where the visualisation process begins. Slowly I build on the essentials and design. I also keep a close eye on what women are buying and why a specific size. Hand-bag is one of those things which a woman keeps really close, hence it must feel like a part of her personality.
And then there is a technical part involved – right raw material, draft of design, cutting, stitching and finishing. We always start with making a sample which goes through a thorough check in terms of quality and a lot of focus on usability and design.
What’s a typical day at Chanchal’s?
The day typically starts with processing everyday orders, followed by customer interactions through our social media channels and website queries.
Chanchal is a bridge between modern designs sensibilities and traditional Art. So a good part of my day revolves around interacting with my team of artists, weavers who work in interior villages of India.
I spend some part of my day designing bags and working with my team of karigar on production. And then coordinating with my sister – Jasmine Badsiwal – who works on our Apparel line and operates from Delhi.
What’s your most challenging work so far.
The most challenging part has been to create trust among artists and weaving societies. Working with these communities living in interior villages with no access to internet, teaches you a lot about communication and trust building.
As a piece of work, we did a Pattachitra Painting for a client based in the USA. The whole painting right from theme finalising to finishing took more than 4 months. The result was absolutely amazing!
Tell us about your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers market event in Chennai.
We will be showcasing our textile based hand-bags.Breaking away from traditional Jholas, you will find refreshingly unique styles which are spacious, comfortable and modern. Our range includes Totes, Duffles, Sling Bags, Laptop Bags &Clutches – made in Kalamkari, Ikat, Indigo, Ajrakh combined with Raw silk, Jute, Suede and Faux-leather.
All the handbags are made in hand-woven, hand-dyed, block-printed textiles sourced from weavers and artisans across the country.
What’s the best thing about being a craft entrepreneur?
The best thing is that you do what you love!
Working with artisans and weavers gives me the opportunity to revive some of the dying art forms/textiles and create employment in the hinterlands. The satisfaction is immense!
What advice would you share to those who want to take on their hobby/ passion into a career?
If you believe in it and enjoy doing it then definitely go for it. Use your imagination and creativity to do things differently.
I have been to Chennai couple of times. I have always enjoyed being there. This is the first time we will be showcasing in the city. It is a culturally rich city – traditional yet modern. So I think Chennai would like our designs which are earthy and contemporary.
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