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.
Meet Himani Grover, iS the principal designer and founder of Chicory Chai, Gurgaon a jewellery design studio based in Gurgaon. Let’s find out more about Himani’s label, her workspace, her inspirations and her showcase at By Hand From The Heart Makers Market. Here’s her story.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and describe what you do –
I’m a graduate of NIFT – India with a Master’s degree from Creative Academy, Milan.I worked under the mentorship of Mr. Giampiero Bodino, Creative Director: Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, Geneva. While I’ve been associated with international names like Cartier, Ralph Lauren, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget & Mont Blanc, I’m most happy remaining true to my roots, working for UNDP, FICCI and MMTC, India.
I’m passionate about history, antiques, food & horses. Currently, I’m an entrepreneur – I founded brand Chicory Chai 4 years back.
Why is making so important to you?
It’s making by hand that is MOST important for me. I’ve a big aversion for industrial mass produced objects and believe that they lack a soul. When a piece is handcrafted by a human, a part of his/her being seeps in that object thus giving is a character. As each one of us a trying to leave back a legacy, my effort is only towards preserving what I inherited – from my family, society, country and mother earth.
What goes into creating a piece of jewellery?
Story is a non-dispensable, integral part of every collection, every jewellery piece that gets created. It’s very important for me that every design has a context. Yes, each piece is conceptualised on paper first. Sometimes I make it in clay or paper just so that I’ve communicated my requirements well to the artisan. But I don’t finalise everything on the paper. Like I said, the process determines the outcome and I like to respect that. I also give a lot of freeway to the craftsmen. I value and integrate their inputs in the design. I love the fact that I dream a design, they bring it to life and the final wearer completes it. It’s a beautiful collaboration!
Your inspirations –
Rural India is in my blood. It is a part of my DNA because I was born in one such place. No matter in what part of the world I am, I carry it with me. So that is where my biggest joy and pride and therefore inspiration lies. I’m at home with the raw & the rustic, non-fussy, effortless objects & people that are ‘touched by time’ It’s the countryside that always draws me to it – not necessary India’s. I’m completely a non-urban person in spirit. I’m in exceptionally inspired by anything that comes from a past era and shows signs of age – grey hair, wrinkles, chipped paint, fallen walls, patina, rust, etc. Anything that has a mark of past era – the antique shop and its eclecticism is what seduces me to no end.
What are you displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart –
It will be a mix of our coin collection, which is one of our classics and most popular along with some one-off pieces in colourful raw agates.
About your work space and what is a typical working day, like –
Inspite of a dedicated workshop space where the artisans handcraft jewelry, for me, there are no demarcations for me – no working or non-working days, no weekdays or weekends, no specific hours. I’ve a 4 year old who I’m homeschooling. And then the demands of my studio – workshop. Everything is overlapped. Sometimes lessons happen in the workshop sometimes the drawing room turns into my studio. It’s only now that I’ve another person who’s joined me and takes care of the administrative tasks. Else, earlier I was the designer, content writer, production manager, accountant – all in one as and when the need be.
What is your personal favorite pick at Chicory Chai right now? And why?
My all time favourite will always be the coin collection – it represents best, all that Chicory Chai is – history, touched-by-time, antique, handcrafted, rustic and bold.
What’s the biggest challenge and lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?
Catering to a niche market will always take it’s time. To sustain, it was challenging to not take the popular road. It paid in the long run.
To never ever ignore or under estimate what may come to you as customer complain, feedback, requirement, suggestions, etc. Each one of these have a solution that you are not aware you need!
Handmade in India/ Make in India – what does this mean to you –
To me, HANDMADE IN INDIA is an ideology that seeps down from the Khadi movement. Making ‘local’, going ‘global’. It is taking the rich heritage of the country and putting it in the world context and today’s time. It is about being a responsible exponent of my country’s art & craft, the makers and regional materials all coming together to form a sustainable eco-system with its consumers.
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