Meet The Maker: Shashank, Murtle, Hyderabad

Today on the blog, we feature Shashank, Founder of  Murtle, a sustainable footwear brand based in Hyderabad.


Tell us a bit about yourself.   

I am Shashank, founder of Murtle Modular Fashion. I am a Mechanical Engineer by education and Innovator by passion. I always wanted to do something at the intersection of design and engineering and hence the founding of Murtle. Murtle is a Modular Fashion outfit whose present set of products is in footwear. Its innovative mechanism lets you change the look and feel of the footwear in under a minute. The patent pending mechanism is one of the most reliable ever in footwear segment to achieve changeability. 

Why did you become a maker and why is making important to me?

A little back story, My friends from college and I started off with printing quirky designs on t-shirts as a side income soon after college, this business later went on to officially merchandise for Baahubali and other Tollywood movies. The success of t-shirt business convinced me to innovate further in fashion industry. While printing t-shirts what I realized is that, we are forcing customers to consume more and more hence contributing to landfills. I started to think on the lines of addressing the consumption needs sustain-ably.   

How did you begin Murtle?

The shift from t-shirts to footwear was natural but the approach changed completely. We wanted to now build a product with certain IP around it and as well address the pressing wants of the user. After 2.5 years of R&D we stabilized the changeable mechanism in Murtle and it was time to innovate on materials and designs. The focus mainly is to bring materials which were not used earlier on footwear due to the fear of durability. With Murtle, due to its Modular nature, fabrics could easily be introduced and hence making it more sustainable.   


What is the story behind your brand name?

Murtle Stands for Modular Turtle, Turtle to signify longevity of the products we build. If you closely look at the logo, the shadow takes form of feet and the ‘turtle’ shell has different colors signifying possibilities.

What is currently on your work table?

Another market we wanted to address sustainably is the wedding footwear. They are worn just for the occasion and then it ends up rotting in the shoe rack till one builds up the courage to dispose it off. Did you know that footwear is the biggest contributor to landfills among all the fashion accessories? We are innovating on that front. It is under wraps as of now but you can get a sneak peek from the image below. We will try and get this out in future editions of By Hand From the Heart.

What is your personal favorite pick from your brand now? And why?

The idea of having wood on footwear enthused me always; I tried to get in touch with various artisans to pull it off for us but failed several times. Finally we found an artisan from Ettikopaka ( a rural place which is famous for making wooden toys) through a mutual connect. He agreed to experiment with us and make it happen. You can now see the output in “Orange Bliss Strap” and “Cutie Birds”. You can check them out in person at the event.          


What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market.    

We plan to bring a varied range of straps from Fabrics to hand painted leathers to hand carved wood- all to go on a single pair of footwear. Murtle Mid sole is made in cork, which is not just naturally renewable but also pain relieving, shock absorbing and at the same time arch supporting.   We are displaying the Ikat collection of straps for Eazys and around 8 designs of hand painted padukoids for Murtles. These are intricately painted designs and are sure to blow your minds.   


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Janhavi Kulkarni, Kale Nele, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature textile revivalist Janhavi Kulkarni, Founder of Kale Nele, based in Bangalore.



The Brand Kale Nele

Kale (meaning art) and Nele (meaning shelter) in Kannada put together, is a venture aiming to shelter, nurture and grow the demand for various fabrics and handicrafts that have been an integral part of the Indian culture and livelihoods for thousands of years which are sadly very rare and exclusive now.

With signature collections of Guledgudda or Khunn from the northern parts of Karnataka as well as a mix of other colorful weaves and hues, Kale Nele aspires to grow to adopt other forms of crafts from India and bring them to you in unique interpretations and contemporary designs to furnish your homes!

The Founder:

Kale Nele was started by Janhavi Kulkarni with a curated collection of her exclusively handcrafted items aiming at contributing to the betterment of the lives and livelihoods of the traditional weavers and artisans. A 1998 Gold medalist from SNDT Mumbai, Janhavi has always had a passion for textiles. Embroidery, patch work, applique, crochet, have all been her forte. Colours play and come alive in her ideas to create a plethora of designs that she brings forth in her unique products and collections.

Janhavi Kulkarni was born in Dharwad, the cultural capital of Northern Karnataka. A town that is famous for its Hindustani music stalwarts, educationists, poets and art forms very local to the households in that region.  Art forms like the delicate yet highly technical embroidery technique Kasuti, vibrant weaves of Guledgudd, intricate bead, mirror, cowrie detailing of the Lambani’s, indigenous quilting of Kaudi that judiciously reuses fabric end bits, the quintessential Jamkhanas of Nurgund and many, many more traditions. It is this culturally rich milieu that shaped her sensibilities. 

Her Journey:

Born to parents who are both passionate physicists. Father an educationist who has been teaching religiously for the last 50 years and continues to inspire and guide students to this day at a college he runs. With both her parents having a science background, the general expectation was for her to go down the path of fundamental science/technology. But her calling was textiles. Delicate Embroideries, intricate patterns, vibrant hues always excited her. It brought out the best in her. Made her happy. This desire to make a career in Textiles took her to SNDT Mumbai, where she graduated with a Gold medal in 1998.

She started her career at an export house in Mumbai that creates high end products using Linen and Silk, the products differentiated by including different weaving techniques and use of intricate surface embellishments.


Products – Kale Nele:

Kale Nele offers a wide range of traditionally handcrafted yet unique cushion covers, table and bed runners, table accessories, bed sets, home accessories like torans and kite hangings, personal accessories like bags, batuas and jewellery, bespoke wedding trousseaus, corporate gifts and more!


The journey of Kale Nele is a true amalgamation of our love and respect for the art and techniques used by our weavers and kaarigars and that of the best wishes of our wonderful clientele. We hope and aim to not only showcase our products and collections here but to also bring the talent and hardwork of our weavers and artisans to the fore.

Birth of “Kale Nele”

The desire to provide an un-contested identity to the arts and crafts of Karnataka, particularly the Dharwad belt had always been a latent life goal. The confidence of a successful career, a happy family with two growing boys, a maturity one attains with what life teaches over the years and the experience of fully running a small-scale-enterprise for the associate finally triggered the decision to make a small beginning of her own. A decision that would define her identity to the world. A decision that would chart what she would do for the years to come.

She started Kale Nele in September 2012.

 Kale Nele a shelter for all forms of arts and crafts is the literal meaning in the language Kannada. This is exactly what it espouses to be. Kale Nele is a  humble effort to adopt a few traditional forms of craft, source indigenous fabrics from our hinterlands, provide a new interpretation to them, design products of lifestyle  so that they can be made a part of our day-to-day lives to add that touch of color, and vibrancy.

Uniqueness of “Kale Nele”

The uniqueness of ‘Kale Nele’ is the ability to design contemporary products whose form and function fully cater to the core needs of the customer using a pallet of techniques very rooted to our traditions. A satisfied customer, collaborative vendor eco-system, a happy purposeful workplace, and a healthy financial prudence are all very important for ‘Kale Nele’.

A fabric that has always excited Janhavi is the Guledgudd Khunn. This is a fabric used to make bright choli of the women of Northern Karnataka. With very few takers for this fabric today, the looms are shutting down, a sad reality. Here at ‘Kale Nele’, this is reinterpreted to create a variety of products including Cushions, Runners, Torans, Hangings, Bags, Totes, iPad Covers, Sarees and Jewelry.

Other than the Khunn, Janhavi at Kale Nele has created a range of home furnishings with the Pasiely Brocades of Benaras, Maheshwaris, Mangalgiris and Chanderies, Lace fabric. Employing a variety of techniques including Appliqueing, Embroideries, soft-embellishments. The ability to dip into the richness of what this country in particular has to offer and yet present them in a manner that is refreshing and palatable for today’s market is a big differentiator.

Just as in a family, a sense of peace and happiness is very important in the work environment too. The work culture at ‘Kale Nele’ is positive, purposeful yet not over-bearing. It is very important to have the continuity of the ‘karigars’ and sourcing partners that we work with, which is only possible if the dealings are fair and transparent.

Guledgudd Khunn

The joy of working with a fabric and form of art that is so resplendent in both its form and color, with its unmistakable grandeur, intricate weaving is truly an art to be treasured. However it is unfortunately slowly fading away. Janhavi at Kale Nele is giving a new interpretation to it, with a hope that this little endeavor will keep those looms alive with the creative spirit with which they once started. Some of the varied design techniques that are applied include:

Basket Weave: Strips of fabric of varying widths are finished. Fabric colors are carefully chosen. The fabric lengths are then woven to reveal a mish-mash of pattern. The lengths are then topstitched to ensure that the weaves remain in place. This technique has been applied to cushions and curtains.

Patch Puzzle: The beauty of patchwork is in its execution.  Geometrical patterns of fabric; rectangles, squares, triangles, hexagons, arches, circles perfectly assembled like a jigsaw to create patterns that are one of the kinds. The color tones of fabric, and the direction of its cut are a studied decision made with the vision of how the complete product will look, feel and last after years of use.

Potlis – Stuffed Trinkets: Janhavi created a range of accents called as ‘Gubbi Play’. Here she gives a new interpretation to ‘Gubbi’s’. Gubbies or little sparrows were made of fabric and grouped together to make charms for babies. These adorned the cribs as dangling. The colorful Gubbies, transported the babies to the world of little birds keeping the baby entertained, and allowing the mother to cook the meal for the day!! Janhavi take these ‘Gubbies’ and plays them on the cushions!!

Kasuti: A very delicate form of embroidery. Motifs created by simple stitches, representing every objects; diyas, elephants, lanterns, chariots, birds. The technique if done properly; one would wonder which is the right side of the fabric.

Kasuti panels with motifs sandwiched into Guledgudd panels create the touch of elegant embellishment to the product.

Applique: Here the Guledgudd fabric is used as the base fabric. Patterns are embroidered on this. The fabric is carefully cut and then appliqued onto the cushion. The contrast of the applique and the base fabric adds to the drama.

End Bits Beauty: Janhavi in this technique repurposes left over Guledgudd fabric. The colorful yarn and end bits used to make the Guledgudd fabric has been spread across the desired pattern, evenly and then secured by the deft hands of the embroiderer.


Doddaballapur Silk

For thousands of years Doddaballapur produced some of the finest silk. It is the count of the yarn they used to twist and make the thread used for weaving that set them apart. Added to this beauty was the imperfections of the slubs characteristics to the Indian Dupion. The slub in a silk dupion produced by using a fine thread in the warp and an uneven thread reeled from two or more entangled cocoons in the weft.

These looms that once made this town a heaven for silks have fallen quite today. Janhavi toured the heartlands of the state, visiting the farmers, reelers and weavers with him. Interacting with the ladies and their families made Janhavi’s resolve even stronger to work for them. Do her little bit to protect their livelihood in the secure moorings of their villages. To not force them out into the cities to only bear the brunt of sand and cement and help build yet another concrete structure. 

Kale Nele is sourcing its fabrics directly from the weavers of this town. Creating exquisite products of a table runner, mats and a mysore-teak-tray. The rich jewel tones of the Indian dupion in the hands of the deft karigars form the patch mosaic. It is these colourful, vibrant, rich, fine silk products that dress your dining table and uplift your ambience and experience to a much greater heights. 

The farmers that hatch the eggs, grow mulberry, feed and rear the cocoons to the fine fingers of the women that eek out fibers from the cocoons dancing in the boiling hot waters, to the reelers that then spin the yarn from these fibers to hand it over to the dyers, who again pass off the dyed yarns to the reelers that roll the yarn into bobbins and hand it off to the weavers who first lays the length of the weft allowing the artisan to weave in the warp and create the mesmerizing patterns to the fabric, this then is envisioned by a designer to make the products that are realized by the deft execution of a tailor. It is this eco-system that comes into play to create a piece of art. Little big contributions of a thousand actors. It is these livelihoods that we must protect. Allow them to do what they were born to do. Yet have a life that is beautiful, enriching and sustaining.



Beyond Home-Furnishing

Beyond Home Furnishing, Janhavi has designed multiple products in the Accessories space. Accessories to add the touch of detail to both your-self and your home.  A range of Personal Accessories and Home Accessories. Personal Accessories that include Handbags, clutches, wallets and Home Accessories such as Torans, Hangings, Tissue Box covers, Bottle Huggers, Coasters and Mats.


Torana – One interpretation to this in Hinduism is, ‘sacred gateway’. Torana also refers to the decorative door hangings. Most festival preparations begin by making hangings of Mango leaves that are folded delicately and strewn through coir. Torans are made using fabric too. Here Janhavi reinterprets them using the ‘Guledudd’ fabric. The vibrant color pallet of this fabric works beautifully for this product. Each leaf of the Toran is adorned with a ‘Rudraksha’ or a ‘Bell’.


Gujari Bells – Bells have been tied around the necks of livestock all around the world. The purpose being very simple, the animals have to be heard if they happen to go helter skelter. Civilizations around the world have improvised to make these bells look prettier by working intricate crochet, colorful coir, fabric, et all. The works getting so adorable that they started moving from the necks of cows and goats to the walls of our drawing rooms!! Here is Janhavi’s take on the ‘Gujari Bells’. 


Chappali: Kolhapuri Chappal, our very own Indian leather footwear, created way back in the 13th century with buffolo hide and vegetable dyes has been a cherished possession for one and all to wear during the hot summers just before the impending monsoon.

Tumminkatti a handloom weaving town in Haveri district, North Karnataka was established in 1959. They have for generations reeled out pure cotton towels, bedsheets, kerchiefs and Devatha Vastra. The products created are 100% cotton, super absorbent, tough and last a lifetime.

The Kolhapuri Chappal and the Tumminkatti fabric are brought together in the product the shoe keeper, a utilitarian product from Kale Nele. A miniature Kolhapuri Chappal created by a National award winning artist from Kolhapur acts as the draw on the zipper fastner. A novel, functional, apt tassel. Tummikatti fabric based shoe/footwear keeper breaths and keeps the precious insides intact for a long time.

Sarees, Stoles and Duppatas

Sarees will never go out of vogue for Indians. Sari in so ingrained into our culture that this will continue to awe its patrons for generations to come. Khunn Sarees has been patronized by Janhavi. She relentlessly worked with the weavers of the region to specially create her designs. Designs that are refined, using colors that have a universal appeal and an aesthetic quality that is muted and sophisticated. Khunn and Ilkal sarees have effortlessly moved from the mandi’s and markets to the corporate board rooms.

Duppatta’s and Stoles created with Kasuti and ‘Gubbi’ embellishments is another emerging range.

kaleNele-Fabric neckware.jpg


The inspiration was a ‘Rudraksha Mala’ that a Sadhu would wear to chant and transcend from here to there. The need was that of a lady with a spirit that we would all envy. The setting was Goa. The celebration was her 40th birthday. The desire was to wear a flowing, supple white dress at the breezy beach party with just one striking piece of jewelry by her neck.

It is when such a requirement was presented to Janahvi that resulted in the creation of the range of Khunn Jewelry. The inspiration of ‘Rudraksha Mala’ was married with her muse, the Khunn fabric to create the stunning neckwear.

This range of Jewelry has been a rage with her customers, fueling further innovations.

Janhavi travelled all the ways to the “tandas’ of the Lambanis’ to source the indigenous metal pendants from these artists. These pendants are next embellished with intricate fabric work that is possible by karigars with close to 2 decades of tailoring experience. The result is a very unique offering of Jewelry.



“Punarapi Jananam, Punarapi Maranam’; a fundamental of the Hindu Mythology. Be it at home, or at work the deliberated use of resources, repurposing every end bit of fabric has been an innate value system for Janhavi. The need to repurpose and extract the maximum from every resource investment made has pushed the designer in Janhavi to create several products, embellishments. Be it the Gubbies as embellishments on an accent cushion, dupatta, saree, little Pillow Torans, fabric-flowers, embroidery with fabric-chindi and may more such innovative application.


It is taking this cause further and underscore the importance in today’s world that has been a driver to launch a separate vertical ‘Punarapi’. In this vertical, anything old that has served its purpose is given a new life, rejuvenated for a new purpose. A re-birth if you may.

This could be for an old sewing machine stand that is upcycled into a chic console table, and machine transformed into a corner Khunn light. An old bead-work panel housed in a LED lit teak side table. Jari’ bordered silk sarees that are more than 70 year old, re-in forced and fixed into a frame to adorn the living room walls. 

Socially Responsible

Kale Nele continues to execute on its social responsibilities by making its small contribution in the form of a continuous association with CMCA by supplying finely executed products at cost price, working with several NGOs including an NGO based out of Belgaum that makes wire-bags all out of a workforce of blind men and women. By the start of this summer Janhavi will lend a percentage of her time weekly in the support of NGOs creating hand-finished products, by providing design inputs and market positioning rules.

Such are the initiatives that Janahvi continues to support and over the years their count will only increase.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Anjali Rao, Anjali Couture, Chennai

Today on the blog, we feature Anjali Rao, clothes designer and founder of Anjali Couture, a clothing studio, based in Chennai.


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.   

I am Anjali Rao, and hold a doctorate in Literature and Spirituality. My work experience spans teaching, writing and editing. At the moment, I am pursuing my passion in designing, creating and re-creating western couture, with an Indian touch. I am an ardent believer in slow fashion and would love to see my clothes adorn women of style, who believe in creating joy and responsible living, and breathe a sense of freedom through them. 


2. Why did you become a maker?  

Always a maker, it was but a sure step towards becoming a brand that would fill the gap in the market that only saw volumes, instead of unique pieces of elegance. I believe in one design, one fabric.


3. Why is making so important to you?    

I have realised that the market is large for fast fashion, and there is a mindless urge to possess. My clothes will hopefully help them breathe some fresh air and bring in responsible buying.


4. How did you begin Anjali Couture?

Only six months old, I am fortunate enough to have friends who believe in me and allow me to explore and create. The circle is ever expanding!


5. What is the story behind your brand name ? 

My designs are created keeping people like me in mind! It was necessary therefore to 
state that with my own name!


6. What is currently on your work table?

I would dearly like to work more with Khadi, Bandini and printed linens and create a new story on its own!

7. What is your personal favorite pick from your Anjali Couture right now? And why? 

I buy my own fabric and create the designs with a personal touch. All of them are close to my heart!

8. What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market. 

I will display my western outfits and the sarees that I have curated at my store.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Monica Pandian, Sea & Me, Chennai

Today on the blog, we feature Sea & Me – makers of plant based soaps. The founder, Monica Pandian, shares her brand story.  


As humans we all go through tough times during our existence. Such is life. One such event in my personal life was loss of loved ones. My best friend and my father, both whom I have always admired and sought after for help – passed away due to unfortunate incidents that happened in the same year. I was deeply distressed from the absence of their physical form. They moulded and shaped me in difficult times and now when I was in dire need of their presence, I couldn’t reach them. I fell into this dark space of sorrow and bet myself into depression. I never hoped to overcome it. But after days passed, my mind did something magical. It ignited me to create and change. I wanted to do something using the energies of my friend and my father of what they wanted me to be. My friend was a very beautiful artist, my father was a successful entrepreneur, and I a furious nature lover. I just wanted to combine all three and give back to mother earth and its beings. Boom! I made soap one day. It all started there.


Then, I made more soaps – all organic and natural with fair-traded ingredients, in micro batches. I gave away to families and friends to try out and there was no one who disliked it and so I shared my creations to the world. This whole blissful process slowly started to heal me from inside out. I named my startup as Sea & Me, to denote the relationship between the ocean and soap that we use everyday. It’s very pristine and let’s keep it that way.


Though I haven’t completely recovered from it, I at least don’t hate myself for what has happened. That is when I wanted to pass on this energy to other women who are fighting within themselves to feel worthy of something in their life.

Thus, Sea and Me is powered by strong women and empowering organic farmers who grow and make our cold-pressed plant oils for soaps, all while protecting the ocean and you!


I am really excited to display my soaps and shampoo bars at By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market. I have to mention our signature body bar ‘The Mighty Green’ made with home grown Aloe Vera, Neem and Karpooravalli herbs! Another customer favourite is ‘Lustrous’ hair bar made with flax and home grown hibiscus flowers and leaves! Can this get any better? Loaded with fresh local ingredients and love, we are set to share it with you!


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Ranjini Nair, Ta.Da, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature Ranjini Nair – Founder & Design Director  of ‘Ta.Da’,  a homegrown tableware brand based in Bangalore; specialised in illustrated tableware. A woman of few words, she is not. But Ranjini makes sure that every single word she tells, brings a world of change in how we perceive things — be it a good idea or a simple ‘what’s for lunch?’ conversation. Her MA in Art & Design from Manchester landed her with jobs in Grey, JWT, Mudra Salt and Happy mcgarrybowen She had the experience of working on brands like Myntra, Wipro, Kingfisher, Chennai Super Kings, Boroline, RainTree Hotels, GRT temple bay, Nippon Paints, The Purple Turtles etc. This wannabe Interior Designer has also made her mark at the Abby’s with a Bronze to her credit for Reynold’s Highlighter campaign. But an art aficionado at heart, she soon decided to channel her energy to pursuing her own creative expression. Ranjini’s art stems from her own whimsical views of life. It appreciates the beauty in the ordinary and the humour in the routine. A freelance graphic designer, yoga enthusiast, amateur gardener, Mother-of-two, and a passionate homemaker, she draws inspiration from everything around her as she continues exploring new canvases for her designs.

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As child I have always wanted to be just about everything any child would, from being a doctor, teacher, model, pilot, hairdresser and even being an assistant to A.R. Rehman. And then finally my mother realised that my interest was in art, but I had no formal training back then. As I grew up, I knew I dint want to do the regular courses but ended up getting admission for BBA although I knew I wanted to do a course in art. In just 15 days I was restless and totally freaked out looking at the big fat books. That’s when I decided this is not for me. I was in an evening college for BBA so I would leave during the day and go to the college where they had officially closed admission for Bsc. VISCOM and it was 15 days since the classes had begun. I stood every day in front of the HODs room  till I had to leave for evening college and finally one day they decided to talk and took me to meet the principal , where I sobbed and said this is where my heart is and do give me a chance. I said I want to give an entrance exam and only if I do well, they can take me. Even then they were not convinced, I continued to go stand there until they agreed. The admissions reopened and few other students also got a chance to write and that’s how I took my first step into the design world. My first victory as I call it. After my course completion I worked for a few years and completed my MA Design & Art Direction course from UK. (Manchester Metropolitan University) MMU.


Having worked in advertising for 14 years now, and the last few years of freelance has made me realise that more than adverting my interest was in graphic design. I started doodling more during my freelance days and put them up on social media. I have a doodle page on Fb and Instagram called Jini_ism. Surprisingly the good response turned into many requests, rather new business ideas. I took the plunge and started a t shirt company called urbankart, ran it for a year and then kind of lost interest more because I was a new mom and I didn’t want to do anything that will keep me away from my little cub. Although did continue to freelance. In all that time I knew t-shirts are not my thing, but I also knew I wanted to use my hand drawn doodles in some form. I began exploring options and mediums. Since I am a huge craft junkie, I took summer camps for kids and in one of the classes we had a tiny shot glass and I had asked the kids to paint or draw whatever they like the results were amazing.

That for me was the first sign , and began researching on tableware design and potters, and pottery for me was one of the things I have always wanted to learn , so took this chance and went to Goa last June and met Thomas Louis and spend a few days to understand the nuances and possibilities . one thing I clearly knew was if I had to make it myself and do hand-drawn doodles on them it’s going to take me years to master the art. which is when Thomas and a few other suggested I should do decals , that way I don’t have to worry about making the ware myself , but I will need to concentrate only on the designs and it was all about procuring it from the right person .This definitely was the easy way out

But I still thought it was worth giving a shot and also know some day I will make the wares and do hand drawn design on them and that will definitely be my exclusive collection. When I went to meet Thomas, I had all my sketches and designs ready and knew these are the ones I want to work on first.  Post a lot of discussion with my husband, we finally decided that we had to give this a shot. We found some nice vendors and finally our prototypes were ready. we knew we wanted to stock in one store in Bangalore which is our favorite store for home decor. we both went and presented it to them, and we were pleasantly surprised by the immediate yes from them.

That YES was a definite confidence booster for us. We both knew our brand must look and sound young. Quite a few brain storming sessions on the name of the brand and finally ta. da it was. The sound of it excited us and what was more special was it was the starting of our kids names, (Tasha & Darsh) , as cliched as it sounds , but it works !!

We exactly knew who our target audience was, they are people who like offbeat stuff/ contemporary / quirky stuff , they are people who love change, they are people who can throw in fuchsia colors into one room and still make it aesthetically appeal, they are people who understand and appreciate art and who know how to make anything look great with their space.

The story of ta. da starts with all of us.  We humans are all obsessed with all things perfect. It’s like an OCD cannot see a pile of mess, but what if that mess is an organized mess, it’s still okay.

Why can’t we as humans embrace imperfections. To us there is no such thing as perfect, imperfections are most often beautiful, we fail to see it only because of one’s perceptions of all things perfect and that is obviously subjective. Here we are trying to make all rugged edges, wavy lines, thick and thin strokes, not so perfect circles all come together to aesthetically appeal. Therefore, we decided BEAUTIFUL IMPERFECTIONS will be our tag line.

Our next step on brand expansion is to customize tableware for pubs, hotels, restaurants, wedding and corporate gifting.

tada collection shot.png

The Philosophy – Brand

Jagged mountains. Knobbly stones. Spindly trees with veiny leaves. The ocean is rough, the river winds and gurgles, and even the raindrops fall in an out-of-sync pitter-patter. Nothing in nature is what you’d call perfect. But, nature still is unanimously beautiful.

These sights and sounds of nature make us appreciate similar imperfections in everything around us. The idiosyncrasies of a friend, the minor niggles of a relationship, and even our own flaws.

tada draws inspiration from these imperfections that make our world so special. The designs here seek harmony in chaos and form in the shapeless. Crude blobs, dense hand-drawn lines, and other curious motifs adorn its various collections. But behind the seemingly arbitrary is a grand celebration of Beautiful Imperfections.


Stories Told Under an Incan Moon (An Incan Moon)

If you find plating to be an art, then this set is a perfect choice for your gallery of a cabinet. With dense hand-drawn lines set in a black-and-white palette, it brings equal parts whimsy and elegance to your table.

Sailing a Sea of Blue Croton Leaves (Sea & Blue Leaves)

A tribute to the legendary Cobalt Blue pigment, the colour lends this collection a keyhole view into a different form of nature. A parallel universe where the veins of a leaf meet the swells of an ocean.

Clouds Part Over a Marigold Field (The Marigold Field)

The flower is perhaps the most complex and captivating part of a plant. Its beauty provides a vibrant energy in this set. Here, its intricacy is dissected, not with a scalpel, but with the delicate perspective of an artist.

Sand Dunes Moved by the Westerly Winds (Winds & Dunes)

The endless desert might seem oppressing at first sight. But give it some time and you will witness the wind playing tag with the dunes; manifesting into beautiful patterns of the desert which is the inspiration for this set.

Walking Along an Inky Black Stream (Inky Black Stream)

Words. From private outpourings to bestselling page-turners, they have captivated you, enchanted you, and even moved you to tears. The motif in this collection is an homage to the nib — from which flows a stream of endless magic.

The Marvels of a Prussian Blue Star (Prussian Blue Star)

The subject of everything we see is light. But our perception is limited to only a small spectrum of it. Often, we look around and wonder about the hues that escape us. Even then, some shades seem ethereal — and we are blessed to use one such in this collection — the Prussian Blue.

Ripples on a Tranquil Oasis

We crave for peace at the centre of our tumultuous lives. But as life winds on and on, we learn to enjoy the little bumps and knots that invariably appear along the way. As the adage goes, ‘what’s life without a few ups and 


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Nirjari Shah, Kitsch by Nik, Ahmedabad

Today on the blog, we feature Nirjari Shah, jewellery designer and Founder of Kitsch by Nik, based in Ahmedabad.

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Tell us a bit about yourself.   

After finishing my graduation, I started working at corporate sectors and that went on for 8 years. Though it was completely a different field, I gained a lot of experience. During my last job at an online media company, I met many artists and interviewed them which made me realise that I can be an artist as I have always loved art. Thus with the job I started Kitsch by Nik and how successful idea it was to start one of its kind foot jewelry in India.

I am a self taught designer who has always learnt from experiences and grown really well in these 5 years. Today, we are one of the known sustainable jewelry brand and growing really well everyday because of our unique ideas.

Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?   

I was always an artist by heart. I used to sketch and paint really well, I was a dance choreographer and performer and I had always loved designing my own outfits/jewelry.

Developing jewelry is the most important part because it has brought Kitsch to where it is today. I love challenging myself with new techniques and ideas which help me grow as an artist. Imagining one idea and then one piece is made after lot of trials and errors. But the happiness of creating that masterpiece is beyond words. 

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How did you begin Kitsch by Nik?

I was working at an online media company and had interviews a lot of artists and makers which made me realise that now is the time to achieve your dream of an artist. I started kitsch while I was working in that company which was greatly supportive.


What is the story behind your brand name ?

I love the Indian culture and traditions. I make all my jewelry keeping old Indian traditions in mind that gives a nostalgic feeling. Kitsch also is considered for nostalgic art or art with sentiments and hence the name is Kitsch by Nik. Nik is my nick name.


How has your business evolved over the years?   

Business has evolved drastically. From start itself we had great response due to unique product. And then we added lots of jewelry using textile, real wood blocks, ceramic and old metal which made us a very unique label. We achieved a lot of milestones such as BBC radio interview, Lakme fashion Week, New York fashion week etc. And that kept on motivating to develop more and more designs.



Your work space. 

My workspace is a small room consisting loads of textiles, beads, metals, ceramics, tools and not to forget the vintage storage cupboard.


Your favourite work tool.

All the tools that I use are my favourite. Needle and thread, weaving board, metal cutter etc.


What is currently on your work table?

It’s the laptop, few of the rakhis that we are desiging for this season, material for the rakhis such as beads, textile, threads etc.


What is your personal favorite pick from your Kitsch by Nik right now? And why?

Person favourite is our khat work neckpiece as I feel it to be the most unique design we have ever made. And the way it is loved by all our customers make us very happy.


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

Textile, metal, ceramic, wooden neckpieces, textile earrings and rakhis.



Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Priyamvatha Ramani, The Happy Shop, Chennai

Today on the blog, we feature Priyamvatha Ramani – designer and founder of  The Happy Shop, a stationery and design studio based in Chennai



  1. Tell us a bit about yourself. 
    I am a designer by education and a crafter by heart working in the printing industry.  
  2. Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you? 
    Everybody is a maker in their own way, not all things made are tangible. Making tangible objects provide a way to bring out the intangible ‘happy’. When I say that I’ve made something, I’m the maker of something both tangible and intangible.   

  3. How did you begin The Happy Shop? 
    Apparently, we can’t buy happiness. We can however, buy things that make us happy. You can buy a piece of ‘happy’ at the happy shop.

  4. What is the story behind your brand name ? 
    ‘Happy’ is a very heavy word. An emotion to strive for. The Happy Shop is an ambitious venture, a space to shop for the ‘happy’.

  5. Your work space. 
    My work space consists of all the printing and miscellaneous equipments a designer could dream of.  

  6. Your favorite work tool. 
    Paper and pencil.

  7. What is currently on your work table? 
    A lot of samples and prototypes.

  8. What is your personal favorite pick from your The Happy Shop right now? And why? 
    My favourite pick would be as cliche as it sounds, the notebooks. To me, having a notebook apart from the ones we used to do our classwork or homework during school time was a sign of growing up as well as a luxury to be privy to my own thoughts and a way to focus them. And apart from that, a notebook in hand also makes a person look intelligent, what better way to show the world that intelligence, is a style with a designer notebook.

  9. What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart. 
    I will be displaying stationery, wall art, clocks, coasters and boxes.




Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Chinanshu Sharma, California

Today on the blog, we feature Chinanshu Sharma, an independent jewelry artist based in California.


Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I am a jewelry designer, artist and entrepreneur who loves to travel and explore culture and nature. Everything in nature inspires me. 


Your design label.

Chinanshu Sharma – artist and Paarisha By Chinanshu- jewelry label
What helps you work with a multi location set up.
Loyal customers and my family help me run the India operations and in US I work as an artist and manage things on my own. 
What’s your present studio like.
I have a small home based studio In my house in California. One or two days in week I work in jewelry lab of local silver artists and rest of the days I work on finishing the pieces from my home studio. 
What will be showcasing at BHFTH?

I am showcasing my recycled saree silk yarn jewelry in bright colours and textures along with pine needles and silver jewelry that I have worked upon in California. I will also be bringing some old statement pieces that our clients in Chennai love.



Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Aalie Tandon, 17th Art Street by Aalie Tandon, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature Bangalore based, fluid-artist & Resin-crafter, Aalie Tandon; she is also the Founder of 17th Art Street by Aalie Tandon which she runs with her unofficial integral Co-Founder, Devanshu Dugar.


Tell us a bit about yourself

I hail from the quaint town of Lucknow and I have a Textile & Fashion background with a Degree in Textile Design from NIFT and a Masters in Apparel Design from NID.

I am extremely fascinated by stories both real and imaginary. Often, I get so engrossed while reading or watching them that it is almost as if I am living that story for real. I am quite a nerd when it comes to a skill or a process based anything in general that spikes my interest and until I find my answers, or just get that curvature right to my liking, I cannot be rested. Sophisticated rawness in the nature is what inspires me. I feel the brilliantly executed authenticity and richness in the raw nature around us, is something that is replete with endless possibilities. It is quite likely, that because of this very reason; though it might sound unheard of; I almost never run out of inspirations. In fact, very often; practically all the time; I find my mind overflowing with so many inspirations that I literally have to lucky-draw one, to get started ‘unbiasedly’, since all of those are so so creatively compelling, and for me, this is the real challenge. Eclectic interpretations whilst combining natural bits with man-made ones, coalesced through extensive amounts of detailing, colour, texture and material mixing, is something that marks my signature style. 

My unofficial integral partner, Devanshu, who also happens to be my much better half, and the vital support system for 17th Art Street; is the one who essentially takes care of everything else that is quite crucial to enable me be the Maker. Managing a full time job that majorly supports us, to helping me in all the paper and technical stuff, be it our website, taxes or even regular chores, he is the engine that keeps 17th Art Street running. He also happens to be a very finicky critic and even though this might make me cringe at times, but it surely has contributed significantly towards constant improvisation in my art practice.


Why did you become a maker? 

I have always been a maker, right from my formative years, when I was literally crafting all kinds of makings, aka modern day DIY, right from simple water colour paintings to sand crafting, clay modelling, jewellery making, flower making, embroidery, etc etc all the way  through my professional education, where I acquired a more sophisticated, industry-standard crafting & making know-how. So making and crafting with my hands is something that comes quite naturally to me. In fact making something by myself, on most occasions, happens to be the first and the most dependable options that I rely on, rather prefer. For something as simple as wrapping a present, even if there is enough time for me to get it wrapped from the store, I still prefer doing it by myself, adding a few personal touches here & there.


Why is making so important to you? 

Sometime back, when life happened, it happened like an unpredictable thunder strike, catching me and people close to me, completely off-guard. It was as if my entire philosophy of life, up until then, professional as well as personal, was thrown off the window. I was in a state of seemingly endless rut for quite a while and it took every ounce of my will-power to try and rebound and more importantly, to re-invent myself. That was a time when, if it wouldn’t even be the last thing to go wrong, it still and surely would. In such a trying time, the only one I could rely on to pull me out was my-own-self and, the only things that I could think of doing to get myself back on my feet, were those, that I could majorly do all by myself with as minimal reliance on anyone else as possible. That is when my childhood passion for ‘making art’ re-surfaced and it wouldn’t be even the slightest exaggeration, to say that it was then indeed, that I truly re-discovered myself by way of self-teaching and “Making” Fluid-art. That truly was my ‘renaissance’ moment, the one that reinstated my self confidence, that I have always had ever since I was a kid, but, that had gone missing in that span of, as I like to call it, ‘The Dark Times’, with no pun intended.

“Making” by way of self teaching; since I am not an artist with a professional training in art per-say; is what has given my life a new meaning, more aptly, a new beginning. Since, within me, all that while, was a literal cacophony of emotions and expressions, making Fluid-art, better known as paint-pouring; as the name suggests, literally gave a vent to let those pour over and spill through, which was a much needed respite. Perhaps because I know how it felt, when at a personal front nothing seemed to be going as per ‘my’ plan, there is a rather magnified abstract sense of ‘vibe manifestation’, I have come to consciously believe in, and that perhaps is why I also like to incorporate healing crystals in most of my artworks to resonate therapeutic energies. 

How did you begin &  how has your business evolved over the years ?

In conjunction to what I talked about why making is so important to me; even though, the very idea behind starting ‘making’ by myself was to regain my lost footing and to re-invent myself; it did take a little while for the manifestation to seep in, that I was headed towards having a Brand baby of my own, because, having one, was never a part of ‘my’ plan. Looking back and mapping out, how it all happened and what all led us; I and my husband; up till here, it seems it might haven’t been in my plan, but it surely was a part of the nature’s plan. 

Ever since it started, which is about almost 15 months back, “17th Art Street” has been a conscious effort to be as fulfilling and as expressive to its maker as to its audience. Offering one of a kind eclectic abstract art creations comprising wall-arts, accessories & decor; creations from the atelier, 17th Art Street, have John Keats’ philosophy “A Thing of Beauty, is Joy Forever” as their underlying essence. The creations aim to embark on happiness and an enchanted sense of fulfillment whenever gazed upon by their collector. 

As a very young brand, still in the making, though we are yet quite afar from hitting that ‘successful professional artist’ mark; from where and how we started, to the few baby steps that we have taken till today, the road is way ahead, but, fingers crossed, faith in our hearts and a driving passion for creating unique expressive art; we hope to accomplish our endeavor of running a fulfilling small art business, spreading happiness and fulfillment around us, staying true to our art philosophy.

Story behind your Brand Name – 17th Art Street

Well, in “17th Art Street”, ‘ART STREET’ component was given by my ‘strictly unofficial’ integral partner, my husband, and ‘17th’ was prefixed by me. 

January 17th is the date we tied the knot, and ever since ’17th Art Street’s’ inception, it was a given, that this would be an endeavor very close to both of us and would call for several sacrifices on both our parts to nurture it, as we were a young couple still striving to find our footing. That was the reason for adding in this date that has a special significance for both of us. As for ‘Art Street’, ‘Art’ was very obvious to be added in because that is what I was making and ‘Street’ essentially is something to signify our future trail for diversification in terms of extending the abstract fluid essence of this art form to regional Indian crafts that traditionally were sold on Indian streets before they found shelves in curated art and handicraft shops, both here in India as well as abroad. 


Your Workspace.

I operate out of my home studio at the moment. It is essentially a spare room that has my work tables, one of which is a small coffee table and the other is a slightly bigger one, built in cupboards, a steel rack with several of my supplies, a window with a few potted greens and the floor, that is forever strewn with supplies etc. that are being used for the ongoing project. When I started, it seemed the room would be enough as a studio, space wise, but a little over a year into this, and I have already outgrown of the space. Since fluid-art and especially resin based fluid art is quite space thirsty and can get real messy owing to its fluid and sticky nature, coupled with the fact that the essential post processes like sanding, drilling, drip cleanups and polishing/doming using power tools; particularly while making accessories; also gets done in the same space, my studio is almost constantly in a state of needing tidying up. 

The real challenge with performing all these processes in the same place; since that much is all that I have for now; is shielding the projects from dust and debris that can settle on the top layer and compromise the finish whilst they are in curing stages. For accomplishing this, the wet projects have to be carefully covered very securely till they cure enough and this has to be repeated for each and every layer. Since there has to be a minimum gap of 10-14 hours in between subsequent layers depending on the climate, it is an intensive process, that at an average spans over about 12-19 days for my wall-arts. Resin is quite sensitive to ambient temperature, especially while curing and doesn’t respond very well to temperature fluctuations during those 14-16 hours. In Bangalore weather since it is almost impossible to control it completely, the most satisfactory results that I have been able to achieve so far, have been by switching off the fan, shutting off the windows and room door when leaving the works covered for curing to try and maintain as much homeostasis as possible.

For this reason, though it is quite an aspiration for me, I hope to be able to afford a dedicated studio with designated spaces for each of these processes one day.

Favourite work tool.

This is almost an impossible one, because all the tools and equipment right from the extremely simple ones like paint mixing cups, popsicle sticks, gloves, mask, paper towel, tapes, plastic drop sheets etc to more complex ones like weighing balance, heat-gun, flame-torch and power-drill, all are absolute essentials for my craft and even in the absence of any one of these, I would not be able to function. So there isn’t much room for me to pick a favourite amongst these necessities 🙂

Currently on the work table.

On my smaller table, is a line up of pieces right from accessories to decor that need a final sealer resin coat for BHFTH exhibit, and my bigger table has a peacock inspired, geode-style ornate jigsaw art piece with about 750 gms of real semi precious crystals, which is yet to be completed, that alternates between my Holiday ornament casting trays at the moment.

Personal favourite from your creations.

This never fails to sound like a cliche, but this indeed is like picking a favourite amongst your own children, all of whom you created 🙂 The very first beach inspired art that I poured, has been the one that has been a classic favourite of ours and the audience alike, which also recently made for a wedding present by the bride for her husband and had an interesting story behind it. 

That is the one that we picked for our business card as well, when we were printing those for the very first time for our very first showcase outside the virtual world. So, even though I feel each new work that I create becomes my favourite until the subsequent one takes its place, we can still consider “By The Shore..” as one of my classic favourites.

What are you displaying at the By Hand from the Heart Makers Market?

I am exhibiting a few handpicked selections from my signature mixed-media wall-art archives and the popular small beach and ocean inspired original art works that make for choicest picks for gifting and my accessory collections, few of which have been especially made for the BHFTH exhibit. I am also showcasing my limited edition ‘Flower & Spice’ necklace collection, and additionally, a few ‘season specials’ from my Holiday and festive exclusives. This being our very first time ever in Chennai, we are really excited for the showcase.



Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Shirali Patel,  Small IDEA, Ahemdabad

Today on the blog, we feature Shirali Patel, miniature artist and founder of Small IDEA, Ahemdabad. 

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself.   

Hi I’m Shirali, a Bio-Chemist by qualification and  a Fashion Designer and buyer by profession. I am from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

2. Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?   

After working for over a decade in Retail Industry, I felt saturated and left my corporate job to  pursue my passion for miniature. I am a self-taught artist and I have mastered this art after more than 11 years  of making mistakes and learning from those mistakes and experiments.


3.How did you begin smallIDEA

I was on a forced sabbatical living overseas and bored out of my wits, that when I decided to put my creativity at good use and started exploring the world of miniatures. I made and listed my products on few online international market place and saw a good response. And business started.

4. What is the story behind your brand name ?

It all started with an idea when I was in my corporate job. Back in 2008 when I was working in retail sector, to make my Pendrive easily identifiable, I  covered it with clay sculpted in form of a miniature shoe. That piece became a conversation starter, everyone loved it and wanted one! That was my small (miniature) idea that gave me a bigger idea  to make miniatures in form of day to day utility products

It’s been 10 years now that I’m sculpting miniatures and my quirky little utility and collectable products brings smile on many faces.

5. How has your business evolved over the years?    

After moving back to India my art has evolved in terms of quality and range and with that my business has also evolved. Today I not only sell online and customized but  I also participate in events and pop up shows across the country. I love to teach serious enthusiasts and newbies who are ready for couple of months of intensive internship.


6. Your work space. 

It’s cozy, and has everything from tv to tea booth. My  studio can comfortably sit 4 miniaturist, including me. It’s a fully equipped polymer clay studio. It has taken me more than 15 years of collecting tools, resources and raw material to build this studio. 

7. Your favorite work tool.

Toothbrush , needles and toothpicks, aluminum foils.

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8. What is currently on your work table?

Currently on my mind is Chennai and on my table is various food articles related to Chennai 🙂

9. What is your personal favorite pick from your small IDEA right now? And why?

My favourite is Vadapav and it’s because of the love thought and energy I had poured into designing making of this piece. You have to see it to understand why..

10. What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market.

You will find a mix of magnets, bookmarks, pendrives, bag charms , accessories and more…


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Srividhya Prasad, Yours Fragrantly, Chennai

Today on the blog, we feature Srividhya Prasad, Candle maker and founder of Yours Fragrantly, a candle design studio based in Chennai.


Tell us a bit about yourself.   

I am Srividhya, mother of a college going teen, maker of candles, aspiring entrepreneur and a reasonably well travelled individual.


Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?  

They say we associate places with sights and sounds. But I think the element of smell or aroma is an equally important association. I am not that widely travelled but the places I visited drove home the point that places such as Bali, Bangkok and Colombo are able to showcase candles as a must-buy in the markets. Even though they may not be made up of environmentally friendly waxes. This insight made me ask what if I could make candles that do not tax our environment? While the market is huge being handmade, using the best ingredients such as Beeswax and essential oils does not make for a cheap product. That is how Yours Fragrantly was born.

How has your business evolved over the years?    

With sheer hard work, dedication and with my family support, I have developed my offering from 4 to over a dozen. My daughter makes all the labels and my husband helps in with the product names.


Your work space.

My creation corner is in our home in Chennai. I retire to it to ideate and create.

Your favorite work tool.

My Pouring Pot

What is currently on your work table?

Making some chunk candles and layer candles.


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

My chunk jasmine and rose chunk candle, it was very interesting to work on it.

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

I will display a wide variety of Soy wax and Beeswax candles. Also planning to introduce new variants. May make some Tea lights and wax melts if time permits.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Arushi Gupta – Padma Kumar, My Grandmom’s Kitchen, Chennai

Today on the blog, we feature food entrepreneurs Arushi Gupta and Padma Kumar from My Grandmom’s Kitchen, a condiments start up, based in Chennai.


My Grandmom’s Kitchen is an entrepreneurial venture to passionately spread homemade, healthy food from the hearts of grandmothers. Arushi Gupta and Padma Kumar decided to convert their long-standing friendship into a business venture over a dinner conversation, when Padma had brought over the products made by her mother and her mother-in-law, Mrs. Lakshmi and Mrs. Ashwini to taste.

Our grand mom Aswini was born in the port city of Vizag. She has lived mostly in Jamshedpur and brings the distinct touch of North India in her preparations. She is 79 years old and the twinkle in her eyes is intact. Our grandmom Lakshmi was born in Bhimavaram near Vijayawada. She has lived most of her life in Rachuru village which is where her love for chutneys blossomed and she mastered the art of traditional cooking. All of 81 years now, Lakshmi keeps herself busy stitching blankets and bags from recyclable materials in her free time. She thinks of God while preparing lip smacking pickles, chutneys and podis. Like they say, God is in the details!


Since then, their prime focus is to ensure that people around the world get to taste these podis and chutneys that are not only tasty, but also filled with multiple health benefits. They believe in carrying forward traditional methods of cooking without diluting the ingredients or adding any preservatives. Starting out with three chutneys and three podis, they wish to eventually work with more grandmothers around India to get a share of their heritage and indulge in mouth-watering recipes.


The products are made with Himalayan pink salt, cold-pressed oil and other ingredients filled with high nutrient value. For example – The Gongura Chutney is full of iron and vitamins that one requires regularly to stay healthy. They are all conceptualized and created using 100 year old recipes that has been passed on from generation to generation and finally to our beloved grandmothers.


Our products include – Ginger Chutney, Gongura Chutney, Curry Leaves Chutney, Garlic Podi, Curry masala Podi and Idli Podi. Our chutneys are priced at Rs. 250 each and podis are priced at Rs. 150 each

We are currently taking orders through our social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram @mygrandmomskitchen


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Dipika Udhani, Adheera, Ahmedabad

Today on the blog, we feature Dipika Udhani, textile designer & founder of Adheera,  a sustainable clothing label based in Ahmedabad.


“It began with an insouciant interest in learning tie and dye techniques of imprinting. A casual endeavor born out of curiosity, soon grew strong when I explored varied patterns by tying left over scraps and dyeing them. The accidental outcomes  were surprisingly encouraging and owing to the fact that the exercise didn’t limit my creativity, every piece seemed like a canvas, waiting to be painted.

Not long after, I learnt a certain folding technique of Japanese origin, 
to be used in dyeing, called ‘itajime’. ‘Itajime,’ in turn, is part of a 400 year old method of tie and dye called ‘Shibori’.

Another technique I came across was pole wrapping and dyeing, named ‘Arashi’, which gives rise to beautiful diagonal stripes.

An exploration in depth of these techniques and more, eventually furthered my interest and inspired me to conceive a product rooted in this art: something away from the usual, that people would love to indulge into, something that would tell a story in patterns and colours, yet will be equally novel and unbound from tradition.

From that moment on I made patterns, started draping, and got them stitched. Along with my tailor and dyer from Uttar Pradesh, we are a team of three. All handcrafted drapes that we produce is a result of us doing what we love.



Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Radhika Ravindran, MaLola- Nature Nurtures, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature Radhika Ravindran, Plant Lover, Holistic Health Practitioner, Herb Crafter and Founder of MaLola- Nature Nurtures, based in Bangalore.


Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?   

As a family we have been practicing Holistic Living for almost three decades. The quest for a Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability( LOHAS) led us to growing plants and finding ways and means to avoid processed products. An Army wife, I was lucky to travel across the country and discover firsthand the incredible plant wealth that we have in India.
Sustainability by definition needs that we are live within the means of our natural resources. My interest is in making high quality products using maximum local ingredients. This reduces Carbon footprint, maintains quality and accountability.

In today’s scenario, “Natural” is a buzzword having no “real” definition in the world of food and personal care. Having knowledge and control over what we eat and use as bodycare is key to a healthy existence. That is why I keep doing what I am passionate about. It’s more a living, “green” ecological initiative.

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How did you begin MaLola?

Having two beautiful daughters, their requirement for interesting looking and smelling skincare led us to experiment with advanced techniques of creating skincare. 
Thus started the journey of MaLola.   

What is the story behind your brand name ?

Years ago I came across a beautiful rock carving thousands of years old. It was Varāha an avatar of Vishnu in the form of a boar rescuing Goddess Earth. She was depicted as a beautiful lady with long hair, wet due to almost drowning.  This inspired the need to find a name denoting a soft path to preserve nature.

A few years ago, on almost completing a pilgrimage of the 108 Temples of Vishnu as praised by the Alwars, we went to Ahobilam in Andhra Pradesh. Lord Narasimha ,in the form of Malolan, was resting with Mother on his lap. MaLola – Beloved of the Mother was the name that struck a chord in me.

Whats in a Name?? MaLola
Ma- Maa, Màna, Mat’, Madre ,Mamá, Ahm, Mzaa. Mother in any language refers to the one who created us.

The beautiful Atharva Veda (considered the oldest literary monument of Indian medicine) hymn “Prithvi Sukta” praises Mother Earth.

A small translated excerpt:
‘XII, 1. 17. Upon the firm, broad earth, the all-begetting mother of the plants, that is supported by (divine) law, upon her, propitious and kind, may we ever pass-our lives!’

Lola- Beloved. Here referring to the treasures of planet earth. Tread gently on dearly loved nature.

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How has your business evolved over the years?    

I would say that I have evolved, rather than my business! Seeking to understand Nature is a never ending quest. As a race our view that humans are the only, or primary, holders of any standing is what has led to the blatant exploitation of Nature.

The more I learn, the less I use.

So, in my business of skincare, passing years has made me design minimalistic products.

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Your work space. 

I need a space with kitchen-like facilities. Running water, sometimes a light point, a few vessels. My garden provides a lot of raw materials which need jars and bottles to store. On my husband’s retirement, I started serious retailing and have an independent room.

Your favorite work tool.

I like tiny steel whisks. 

What is currently on your work table?

Fresh apricot seed oil soon to be converted into a luscious skincare product. 


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

I’m going to say that a pressed serum with CO2 (Carbondioxide) extracts of Sandalwood and Turmeric is my current favourite.  That’s because Sandalwood has a fragrance that transports us to a different world. Of course, the product is amazing too.

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

I will be displaying a range of skincare products suitable for all skin types.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Sayalee Marathe, Aadyaa, Pune

Today on the blog, we feature Sayalee Marathe, silver jewellery designer and Founder of Aadyaa,  a silver jewellery design label based in Pune.


1.       Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Sayalee Marathe from Pune and I design silver jewellery for my brand “Aadyaa”. I’m a computer engineer from Pune University and have no family background in business as such. Neither before marriage nor after marriage. After graduation, I worked as SAP consultant for 10 years in reputed companies such as IBM, Deloitte, CSC, Atos and Capgemini and worked on numerous IT projects.

During one of my work stints abroad, I got hooked onto jewellery designing in my free time and my designs got appreciated by friends & family as well as other audiences. After coming back to India, I decided to take a break from SAP consulting and try out a jewellery venture full time. That’s when Aadyaa came into existence in 2013. I have a studio based in Pune now as well as our portal,, is enabled for e-commerce. I am supported by 7 team members as well as my husband, Jaydeep Hingne, who has also joined in the venture in 2017. Nature & history inspired handmade designs in Pure Silver is Aadyaa’s USP since beginning. My aim is to promote handmade jewellery creations to as many people as possible and also at affordable rates. I believe in a balanced ecosystem wherein the artisans get their worthy dues and also the customers feel delighted for the value in the handmade creations purchased.

2. Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?   

Honestly speaking, I am not a great draftsman, but I have good ability to conceptualize the creations. I like the process of sitting in natural surroundings and pick up elements which can go well in jewellery creations. I do sketches on papers than any using computerised designing tools as such. I believe that we owe a lot to our mother nature and my attempt of designing jewellery based on its elements is one tiny effort of expressing the gratitude towards it. It’s also immensely satisfying to see the artisans put in their hearts and souls to make the jewellery creations with their hands.


3. How did you begin Aadyaa?

It was one of those SAP consulting projects, during which, I had travelled to the United Kingdom where I found an interest in jewellery making with beaded kits. I started making beaded jewellery in my free time and soon I found a lot of admirers for my designs. After coming back to India, I continued my interest in beaded kits and started a Facebook page to showcase my designs. I did almost 120 exhibitions, while working full time as SAP consultant, to validate whether my designs were really liked by people whom I had never met before as friends and family did always tend their unconditional support for Aadyaa.  

It gave me tremendous confidence and I decided to call off my career in SAP consulting and focus entirely on jewellery making at Aadyaa. Soon, I started experimenting with numerous material options. The turning point in the journey of this venture was the launch of our first ever Pure Silver Collection called “Itihaas”. The collection was one of a kind wherein old traditional motifs were considered and unique silver creations were produced.

4. What is the story behind your brand name?

The name, Aadyaa, means the first one or the original one. My belief in choosing this name was whatever I or anyone creates under this venture, will be original creations and we won’t support any sort of plagiarism.

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5. How has your business evolved over the years?    

Aadyaa was launched in 2013 with a Facebook page; a website was started in October 2015. In the beginning, I had hardly 50 designs with beads, but now I’m proud to have over 3000+ designs made in different materials such as Pure Silver, Brass, Copper, Pearls, Natural stones, semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystals. I also undertake custom orders in Gold, Precious stones (Garnets, Ruby’s, Topaz, Aquamarine, Rose Quartz etc.). Our social presence has evolved now, and we are a family of over 70,000 people on Instagram  and over 400,000 on our Facebook page. We have a 1000 sqft studio in Bhandarkar Road area. Aadyaa has shipped over 25,000 orders in last 6 years not only within India but also to countries like USA, UK, Australia, Japan, Sweden, UAE, Poland, Switzerland, Columbia, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Famous celebrities across film industries such as Vidya Balan, Shraddha Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit, Kiara Advani (Hindi); Anumol (Malayalam); Sruthi Hariharan, Pooja Hegde (Tamil); Sonali Kulkarni, Mithila Palkar, Parna Pethe, Priyanka Barve (Marathi) have adorned our creations.

While my husband looks at sales and operations, vendor management, IT, finance and compliances, I focus on designing new creations & social media strategy. Our team of 7 members assists us in these departments.

In October 2018, Aadyaa appointed it’s first international reseller based in Singapore which caters to Singapore and Malaysia markets at the moment. We are actively working to expand our reseller network across the globe to deliver the Aadyaa creations to our customers. 

6. Your work space. 

Although I spend a lot of time at the studio to deliberate on the new designs and ideas, my favourite space to get design inspirations is any location close to nature. Be it a café or a resort or just a bench under a tree.

7. Your favorite work tool.
Pencil and Paper. I can draw designs on any paper with any possible mode of writing / drawing computer aided designing tools are not my cup of tea.


8. What is currently on your work table?

Some photos that I clicked when I visited Jordan earlier this year; 4 books from history with photos wherein tribal women are seen wearing some heavy & intricate jewellery pieces. The intent is to take inspirations and make wearable jewellery for today’s woman – be it in India, or abroad. 

9. What is your personal favorite pick from your brand right now? And why?

For now, I think, my personal favourite is the Mogara Gajra made in Pure Silver. It weighs hardly 70 grams but has taken Aadyaa to a new level altogether. It took a lot of time in designing & conceptualization. It still takes about 3 weeks to make an artisan to make all the flower petals by hand and then tie them together, but the happiness on a woman’s face after wearing it, is just beyond the words. 

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

I’m getting all my pure silver collections including Itihaas, Indian Summer, Chaandbalis, necklaces & sets with temple & ghungoroo series, Gajra, Jhumkis, 100+ designs in nosepins, hammered earrings and rings, numerous options in Mangalsutras and also some of the samples for items in the making.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker:  Navdeep Kaur, Aagghhoo, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature Navdeep Kaur – Founder & Design Director  of ‘Aagghhoo’,  a homegrown clothing brand based in Bangalore; specialising in childrens wear and accessories. 


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Navdeep Kaur, Founder and Design Director at Aagghhoo, a pure and conscious brand for newborn babies and their progressive parents. I also run a Colour Research and design consultancy studio – The Colour Workshop based in Bangalore. I have been practicing Colour Research & Strategy for almost a decade now. Since 2008 I have devoted my time working on colour trend research, consumer colour research, experimental textile art and now also focussing on Aagghhoo.


2. Why did you become a maker? Why is making so important to you?

When I had my first born, I realized that there was no brand exclusively designing around a newborn baby’s ergonomic and emotive needs. Everything was around excess and no one spoke about simplified parenting experience. That’s when I started researching on how do babies evolve soon after they are born. As a maker and also a mother, I desire to give a perfect product experience and knowledge to another parent about what their baby is feeling. Primary objective of starting Aagghhoo was not to make and sell products but to fine tune parenting systems when it comes to buying baby products. We strive to work towards building a thoughtful buying systems and connect with conscious parents.



3. How did you begin Aagghhoo?

Aagghhoo is born out of personal observations and multiple research interactions with real parents. From capturing emotional needs to ergonomic needs of parents and newborn babies, It took me 3 years to realize the output you are seeing now. Multiple levels of analysis, emotive translations, right textile materials, natural colour palette, ergonomic pattern designs has come out of an empathetic design process. Being from a colour research background, we thought of a colour route that is self explanatory of a baby’s state of mind and educating parents at the same time. We like to call ourselves ‘interpreters’ of every newborn’s emotional and ergonomic needs. and strive to design around instinct of touch, sound and perception. New age millennial parents read a lot about babies, babycare, what to buy what not to but the moment they hold their baby, they are still nervous. We want to design for such parents who are knowledgeable yet need support through well designed baby products. Who care more about purity of materials and baby’s wellness.

4. What is the story behind your brand name ?

Inspired by happy gurgling sound made by babies, the word ‘aagghhoo’ is a joyful expression of babyhood.

5. How has your business evolved over the years?

Aagghhoo is a recently launched brand and we want to evolve as a brand that supports sustainable and natural parenting practices.


6. Your work space.

Our workspace is an interesting blend of design research, artistic explorations and hands-on workshop. We prefer keeping it flexible and our studio becomes what we are thinking and imagining.

7. Your favorite work tool.

Colour system atlas book by NCS. It helps us decode emotions of a baby to colour nuances and design a perfect colour palette.

8. What is currently on your work table?

Lots of textile samples.


9. What is your personal favorite pick from your Aagghhoo right now?

And why? Our Newborn Baby Romper in our signature print ‘Humming Dots’. The newborn range is designed around flat open pattern and perfect in terms of ease of wear for a newborn baby and the new anxious parents.

10. What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market in Chennai.

We will be bringing Baby Essentials, Wearables, Zero waste Tactile Toys, Gift Bundles and Baby Capsules. Baby capsules is a concept we are initiated to support new parents and guide them on how much a baby really needs as per the weather conditions.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Uma Narayan, Umang Beads, Chennai

Today on the blog, we feature Uma Narayan, Founder and Curator at Umang Beads, a jewellery label founded in Chennai.


  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.   

Although a botanist by education, I have been a homemaker for the most part of my life. However, I have always had the entrepreneurial itch and have dabbled with various forms of enterprise over the years. Starting with a corporate food delivery service in the 80s to textile retail in the 90s, I have had the inclination to productively use my time and resources. After a long period of hiatus where family and kids grew in order of priority, I have been able to start Umang with the able support of my daughter.

  1. Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?  

As I grew over the years, I was clear about one thing – I wanted to create. Selling an already existing product was plain business. I wanted to innovate and make something that was uniquely my thoughts in application. The encouragement and appreciation for my personal accessories and clothing from friends and family, reassured me about my creativity.

Besides, I have always been a champion of the not-so-fortunate ladies in an around my residence. As the number of them looking up to me for employment grew, I was certain that I would have immense support in making both their and my dreams come true. Why beaded jewellery specifically, though?  Like it always does, opportunity coincided with circumstance.

  1. How did you begin Umang Beads?

On a vacation to Nairobi, Kenya we visited the Kazuri beads factory where my daughter picked up beaded neck pieces for her to wear. When we returned, she was devastated when she found the strings had come undone. I took up the task of experimenting with the various colours, materials and embellishments of all the pieces she had bought to create unique, contemporary neck pieces that were infused with a touch of tradition. Not only did I love the experience of stringing these creations by hand, I had also made her friends and colleagues ask me for more! This quickly catapulted into an interesting way of channelling my creativity and feeding into my desire to create and innovate.

Since then, there has been no looking back.

  1. What is the story behind your brand name?

Initially, we began searching for a word that would mean jewellery – the most common solution for brands doing what we do. But as we thought hard, we realized, that women would buy our neck wear hoping to look good; hoping to feel confident and hoping to take on the day with a smile in their hearts. We knew we were giving women the space to hope – Umang (Hope). That it has my name at the beginning; is just a coincidence. 


  1. How has your business evolved over the years?    

I was stringing most of the neck wear myself when we started off, back in 2016. As the quantum of orders grew, it was just a matter of months before we started including women from disadvantaged backgrounds under our wing to help us string the beads. This helped and continues to help, empower them with income and independence. Interestingly, like most of the big guys in software today, we started in my garage. Facebook was our primary method of marketing and sales, handled on the weekends by my daughter.

In a year, we had over 6 women working under us, my daughter grew our Instagram following to over 10k organically and we were at a bigger space with proper work stations.

Today, we have a registered business, a workshop, a showroom and a soon to be launched website. My daughter has quit her full-time job to partner with me in growing Umang Beads, globally.


  1. Your work space.

A 160 sq.ft well-lit room where all of us women hum along to the tunes of Kishore Kumar and Illayaraja as we innovate. An occasional squeal of glee at Raji’s new design or a word of encouragement for Usha’s despair at one small mistake bang in the middle of a string. Fits of laughter, hot-bed of creativity and a dizzying array of colour – the ideal description of my workspace.

  1. What is currently on your work table?

A bunch of beads with the traditional dancer chalangais ready to be strung into our most famous pattern. A flattened stone lines my table border to smoothen rough edges of a bead or embellishment. A presser to lock the beads into the string sits solitarily in a corner –  my prized work tool.

  1. What is your personal favorite pick from your brand right now? And why?

About a month ago, I created a pattern where a series of beads are interspersed with a series of long gaps where only the string is visible. I started this off as a three-layer pattern, which was gorgeous but painstaking to make and hence, expensive for the end customer. Now I have found a middle ground. Shaahkaar comes in a layer of spaced uncut beads with a full layer of pure agates attached. My personal favourite for fusion wear.

  1. What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market in Chennai?

At BHFTH, Umang will be displaying a new range of semi-precious beaded neck wear in patterns inspired from Indian traditional wear and African tribal jewellery.  We will also be carrying exclusive beaded jewellery for indo- western and bohemian styles. We also plan to make anklets and bracelets to be included in our offering for the first time.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Sunita Suhas, Indian Yards, Ooty

Today on the blog, we feature Sunita Suhas, quilt designer and founder of Indian Yards; Ooty. She shares with us, her brand story …  



1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a mother and a maker! Having been an average student all my academic life and then a not soo ambitious worker all my corporate years, here I am running a for-profit social enterprise nestled in the mountains of The Nilgiris. I am curious, sensitive and all ears and eyes when I come across something new as I truly believe that learning never ends and as long as I learn, I will grow. And, growth is natural to us Humans.
2. Why did you become a maker?
I used to live a typical corporate urban lifestyle chasing materialistic dreams until my Son happened. Having held different offices in my stint with the corporate world it was difficult at first to adapt to the ‘stay at home mom’ role. I believe everyone has a ‘maker’ inside us. We just need the willingness to discover it. For me, this happened during the time I had my Son. The ‘maker’ in me kept nudging from within to make use of this break from the rat race. So I used this opportunity to dabble with sewing which was right at the top in terms of my interests. Sewing led to discovering the world of quilting and learning that this art is amongst the dying arts in India, I picked this up as an attempt to make a difference. Within quilting, patchwork intrigued me more, given the creative freedom,  so I pursued patchwork quilting as my forte and since then, there has been no looking back. Today, every piece that I create tells a story and the joy that this brings to me is irreplaceable. Not to forget, every Indian Yards quilt sold takes the art of quilting that much closer on the revival spectrum and takes a bunch of families, that work with Indian Yards, that much closer towards economic freedom.
3. Why is design so important to you?
For me, every quilt or product I create has an inspiration from things around me so the fact that I am able to recreate something from scratch and express it and the love it generates from people makes it all worth the effort. So the power of creation and expression is something that pulls me towards design.
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4. How did you begin Indian Yards?
While reviving the art of quilting was important to me, creating employment or providing economic freedom to women around me was equally important so as a test of my ability to impart this skill to other women, I started with my domestic help. I started training her on quilting and within no time, there were other women from the area who came knocking. This made me think, why not start a unit where I can teach more women how to quilt and at the same time, create a market for the quilts that are made. Thus began Indian Yards.

5. What is the story behind your brand name ?
Indian Yards essentially was meant to incapsulate the textile ability of incredible India. The vision of Indian Yards is to be a House of Home Decor which incorporates every textile art available across the length and breadth of India into it’s designs.
6. How has your business evolved over the years?
Indian Yards started with more simple designs in patchwork quilting and continued to do that for the first few years. Then came more detailing in patchwork like geometric designs using solid colour shades, creating ombre effects, etc. Still maintaining patchwork as our forte, we have now started looking beyond quilts. We are now looking to cover more segments in the home decor landscape like patchwork curtains, patchwork lamp shades, patchwork table Lenin, etc. We also have started incorporating few natural living elements into our offering like forest honey, pure and natural essential oils, etc. I am an advocate of natural living and have access to some natural goodness here in The Nilgiris, hence an attempt to be the bridge between what is available here and the world.
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7. Your work space & artisans.
Indian Yards is set up in the pristine mountains of The Nilgiris, also known as the Blue Mountains. We are only 6 kms from the Ooty (Ootcamund) town centre yet away from the hustle bustle of a touristy hill station. Ooty is a popular tourist destination in Southern India often referenced for its colonial charm and/or European chill. The Indian Yards workshop is set amidst forest and farmland, tucked away from the main town hence, the noise. The women who work at Indian Yards come from the nearby settlements and are natives to this beautiful place.
8. What is currently on your work table?
While I have never appreciated mathematics, geometry has always fascinated me and I am currently working on expressing geometrical wonders through my quilts using solid colour shades.
9. What is your personal favourite pick from Indian Yards right now? And why?
My personal favourite quilt is what I call ‘blossom’ and this one never went on my selling board because I couldn’t part with it. It’s my favourite because this was made right at the start of my patchwork quilting journey and was made with leftover scrap fabric. This, to me, is a perfect example of the fact that if the ‘maker’ in you is awakened then even scrap can be turned into a wonder!
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10.What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart. 
I am bringing with me a range of my patchwork quilts which are a combination of patchwork designs using 100% cotton block printed fabric and solid colour shades. I am also bringing along essential oils and forest natural honey straight from The Nilgiris. We work with the native tribes to develop these products. Among essential oils, I am bringing along Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Citronella, Clove and Peppermint Oils. 


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Madhu Reka, Hashtag Azhagi, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature Madhu Reka, textile designer maker and founder of Hashtag Azhagi; Bangalore. She shares with us, her brand story …    

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I  initially worked as a software engineer in a start-up based in Hyderabad. It took me a year and a half to figure that engineering was not my thing. I always fancied the idea of starting a fashion boutique but it wasn’t something I planned or repared for consciously. Once I decided I wanted to pursue a career in fashion, I went for it. I finished my post-graduation in Fashion Management from NIFT, and joined Decathlon Anubhava to understand the essence of retail.


2. How did you begin?

Founded in 2017, over a coffee table that was piled up with my wedding wardrobe. As an ode to multi-faceted women of contemporary India, #azhagi was born, to unveil the colors, patterns and textures that is so rich in Indian handloom.  

The idea began as a lifestyle requirement for intelligent, ambitious and driven women for their muse and exquisite experience of draping a saree. And the design direction originates from the most simple form and in everyday things. 

3. What is the story behind your brand name ?  

Azhagi translated from tamil means beautiful girl, #azhagi as a brand represents a traditional and yet contemporary style created out of passion with passionate people  to make handloom collection accessible for all!  

4. Why is design so important to you?   

To me, design is not about like or dislike. It’s about Passion, Emotion, Attachment. If there was no design there would be nothing to do, and nothing would progress or get better. The world would fall apart. A designer thinks about how everything fits together in harmony and that’s exactly what i personally focus on.


5. Your work space & artisans.  

My home is my workspace. All i need is a melody playlist, a laptop and an empty room to make it my workstation. I mostly work with artisans from rural areas. Although it’s not a conscious decision, they are all women karigars. 


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

We’re currently working two saree collections – cotton candy and an ethnic collection. These two themes will be very close to our heart and are my current favourite. Cotton candy is an impromptu collection. It was born out of a very sudden thought. Whereas the ethnic collection has so much thought process put into it and we’re very very excited to be launching these at the By Hand, From The Heart.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Meet The Maker: Arun Viswanathan, Chitra’m Craft Chocolates, Coimbatore

Today on the blog, we feature Arun Viswanathan, chocolatier and founder of Chitra’m Craft Chocolates, Coimbatore. He shares with us, his brand story …  



  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.   

    I am a chocolate maker by profession and a food technologist by education. After having completed my Master’s degree from Cornell University, I moved to Belgium to learn the art of chocolate making from the biggest legends in the industry to finally come back and start my own chocolate store.

    2. Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you? 

    I started my career making bon bons by procuring them from companies that were making chocolate bars on a commercial scale. There was only so much that I could do to make my product taste good because my end result depended on the quality of chocolate bars supplied to me. I wanted to push my products to the next level and hence I got into manufacturing chocolates from scratch, bean to bar. This not only allowed me to control my end result but gave me immense satisfaction in giving my client a product which has my touch from the beginning to the end. From personally choosing the beans to the stage of tempering, I take special interest in making sure my bars are of the highest quality.


3. How did you begin ? 

Having learnt the art of fine chocolate making from around the world, I put my skills to use by starting my own chocolate store under the name Ganache in 2014. Ganache was my first venture that I started in the attic at my house in Coimbatore. Initially, our reach was through word of mouth but after our first Diwali we were a roaring success and there has been no looking back since then.

4. What is the story behind your brand name?

My journey to where I am today would not have been possible today without my late mother, Chitra. Though she was not formally educated in the art of chocolate making, she found her passion in what I did and in many ways amazed me by her chocolate making skills. She learnt the fundamentals from me and quickly began innovating. Chitra’m is a tribute to my mother who has been a constant source of inspiration.


5. How has your business evolved over the years? 

Ganache was a successful venture. However, with a rapid growing demand for chocolates in an untapped market, there was a need to switch to a larger production unit which led to the opening of Infusions, my second brand. At Infusions, we again created a new concept by introducing the city to Cacao cuisine and within four months we started our most successful venture till date under the name, Chitra’m Craft Chocolates. Today, Chitra’m is an international award winning bean to bar chocolate brand.  


6. Your work space. 

I currently have a state of art chocolate manufacturing facility which I am very proud of. This chocolate processing unit has the capacity to make 100- 150 kg chocolates a day. We have a separate temperature controlled bean to bar chocolate making room which is the highlight of my space. My team is a bunch of fresh and passionate food processing graduates personally hand-picked by me and trained in the art of chocolate making.


7. Your favorite work tool.

Temperature is probably one of the most important factors which determine the end esult in chocolate making. Chocolate makers around the world extensively use laser thermometers to gauge the temperature of the chocolate at every stage. Hands down, a good laser thermometer would be on top of the favourite tool list any day.


8. What is currently on your work table?

A dark chocolate bar waiting to be unmoulded, wrapped and sent to Taiwan for the International Chocolate Awards 2019.

9. What is your personal favorite pick from your line up right now? And why?

My personal favourite would be Ragi and Coconut milk. I have always felt our indigenous ingredients have not had enough spotlight in the world food scene and my attempt was to create a means for this humble ingredient to reach the foreign markets. Most of us Indians as toddlers have been fed this superfood in combination with coconut milk. The ragi and coconut milk bar is an attempt to evoke nostalgia.

10. What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market in Chennai?

I am showcasing Chitra’m bean to bar chocolates and European hot chocolates which are my best sellers at my Café Infusions in Coimbatore.


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Sumithra, SewMe Dolls, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature Sumithra, doll maker and founder of SewMe Dolls; Bangalore. She shares with us, her brand story …  


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.  

Hello! I’m Sumithra. I live in Bangalore, India with my two happy boys and my wonderful, supportive husband. I’ve been making dolls since 2016 and I absolutely love what I do.  I work out of my home-based studio and mostly in my pajamas 😌

I love listening to podcasts and pop music when I work. I enjoy watching movies and  I love the suspense/thriller genre but mostly end up watching super-hero movies with my boys at the cinemas. 

Till about a few years ago I was stuck in a corporate job and many traffic jams, pretty much hating every single work day till I finally decided that my priority was to spend quality time with my young boys.



2. Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?   

I’ve always loved “making” things. I’ve done pottery, terracotta and ceramic jewelry and countless DIY projects around the house. The joy of seeing a project through from beginning to end is unparalleled. 

3. How did you begin SewMe Dolls?

My younger son, who was then 3, loved to take naps with his toy dinos and cars. But these mass produced metal/plastic toys aren’t exactly the best nap time buddies, I spent hours online searching for modern soft animal toys for my son but couldn’t find a single one. It just wasn’t out there. So I decided to make one myself. A cuddly, soft naptime buddy. I then made another for a friend’s daughter. That’s how SewMe was born in late 2016. And like many craft businesses, it started out as a hobby.

4. What is the story behind your brand name ?

SewMe Dolls by Sumi 😄 It took my husband all of five minutes to come up with the name and logo and the ‘S’ in the logo has a sewing needle (I love details 😍)


5. How has your business evolved over the years?  

SewMe is still very young and has a long way to go. On most days it’s a juggling act since I’m the 
-errand girl doing post office runs
-admin and accountant
-social media strategist

Even if I’m not sitting in my studio making dolls, I am always thinking about what to make next, how to improve on the current, fabric combinations… I ❤ what I do!  



6. Your work space 

I work out of my home studio. 

7. Your favorite work tool.

One of my absolutely-can’t-do-without tool is the cotton stuffer (basically a long stick with a pointy end). Helps me neatly stuff all those skinny arms and legs of my dolls.


8. What is currently on your work table?

I’m working on a kangaroo with a baby kangaroo which will be a finger puppet.

9. What is your personal favorite pick from your label right now? And why?

I love making all my dolls but Elly sits right on top of that list. She is one of the first dolls that I made as a gift and I love making her because I can add so many different details to make her festive.

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

I will be displaying a range of 18” and 15” dolls of animals, boys and girls. Animals like a Bunny, Dino, Pig, unicorn and many more. Accessories for the dolls – Outfits, hairbands, pets, handbags/baskets. Magic wands. Buntings for kids room decor.



Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Priyanka, Angia, Mumbai

Today on the blog, we feature Priyanka, Bra designer and Founder of Angia, based in Mumbai.

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Hi, We are from Mumbai and make hand made organic cotton bras inspired by the angiya, a garment that finds a mention in Kalidasa’s Shakuntala & Meghadoot.  Our bras are made in different blends of cotton, like mal etc and also silk and chanderi.  We come in all sizes.


Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you? 

I became a maker because I wasn’t happy with the bras in the market and what they had to offer.  I decided to then start making them myself in the summer of 2015.  And now, here we are 4 years later with 20 different designs in bras and sizing from XXXS to XXXL 

How did you begin Angia?

We had our first exhibition at Vintage Garden in Bandra in April 2017. In July 2017 we were profiled in Vogue India as a brand to watch out for that had made the impossible, possible in women’s lingerie. Since then we have been profiled in various platforms like Fashion Unfiltered, Vice India etc. Since then we have exhibited in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune & Bangalore. We were supplying to Jaypore in 2018, and are also stocked at People Tree, Goa. 

What is the story behind your brand name ?

The name is the actual word for the garment that was the bra in ancient India. I was inspired to design the angi because as a child I had come across one that belonged to my great grandmother.  It was at the bottom of a trunk that hadn’t been opened in a long time, possibly forgotten in a corner in my ancestral home in Haryana.  My work is inspired from the memories of that day when I was 12 years old.

How has your business evolved over the years?  

We have increased our sizing and the designs in the past couple years.  Also we are working with new weaves and different fabrics. 

Your work space.

My work space is in a corner of my house.  One of the rooms has been converted into the machine room, and I work out of my hall which doubles as my office.


Your favorite work tool. 

Mind is the french curve cos that’s what allows me to put what’s in my head into form.

What is currently on your work table?

My work table is an old wooden dining table on which I do all my designing.  It has all my rulers and curves, and design palletes to pencils sharpeners, paper, carbon paper, paper weight.

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

I love the daboo prints that we are displaying here and we have many different prints and styles as well.

What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market in Chennai. 

We are showcasing a variety of prints and designs in sizes ranging from 32 A to 44 C


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Porgai Artisans Association, Sittilingi

Porgai  is a society of 60 Lambadi women artisans . The Lambadis were a nomadic tribe originally from north western India – somewhere in the present Gujarat /Rajastan border. They migrated down with the Mughal army and settled in Maharashtra , Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. ‘Sittilingi’ valley is the 2nd southernmost settlement of Lambadi community in India. Dr. Lalitha Regi and a few member artisans share with us the story of Porgai Artisans Association, based in Tamil Nadu.


About the organisation.

Tribal health initiative was started in 1993 as a unique model for health. It acts as a facilitator for health of the tribals of sittilingi valley of Dharmapuri district of tamil nadu. Discovering the dying, age old tradition of Lambadi embroidery in 2 villages in the valley, gave way to the birth of porgai,which revived the traditional craft along with empowering the Lambadi women.


Porgai artisans association is a society of 60 lambadi women artisans. ‘Porgai’ mean ‘pride’ in lambadi dialect. The word emphasises the true worth of the craft of intricate embroidery, carried through the generations in the tribe.

The Lambadis were a nomadic tribe originally from north western india,.somewhere in the present Gujarat /Rajastan border.They migrated down with the mughal army and settled in Maharashtra , Karnataka, Andra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. ‘Sittilingi’ valley is the 2 nd southernmost settlement of Lambadi community in the country. The ancestors of the artisans settled here and started doing agriculture. Over the years, women stopped wearing the traditional dress with its exquisite embroidery-, with that the craft also died down.In 2006,with the facilitation of tribal health initiative, Neela and gammi, two women who had learnt the craft in their childhood but were not practicing it,trained few other younger women and revived the craft.That was the beginning of Porgai.

The work at Porgai, share with us. 

Dr. Lalitha Regi & team

According to Dr.Lalitha Regi who had been with Porgai since its birth in 2006- ‘By giving you our products we are sharing our pride with you. We take pride in the fact that we are preserving the mesmeric magic of Lambadi embroidery forever on fabric.We take pride in the fact that the artisan is central to Porgai and the most important link in the production process.In Porgai, the artisan is respected greatly and gets fair wages. We make sure that she is not left out and forgotten in the race to survive in the market.

We take pride in the truth that we value human effort over repetitive machine embroidery, which is much faster but lacks soul.We take pride in the fact that we add dignity to many Lambadi households –by providing alternate income source in the village itself and prevent migration.

What have been your challenges?

Neela, who had been instrumental in reviving the languishing craft,says that finding a market which appreciates the craft and the fairness which is our strength is still a challenge. We need to widen our market so that all the artisans have round the year work.


Describe your work place.

Ramani, “We all work from home. When we need to do some samples, or have a training or workshop,then we go to the craft centre .The process before and after embroidery are being done at the centre..


Porgai’s line up at the By Hand From The Heart Makers Market in Chennai.

Sarees, blouses and Indian casuals & Indo Western siluohettes in embrodered in organic cotton and silk . Stoles, Dupattas, and menswear, bed spread, cushion cover and pillow cover. 


Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Srutiza Mohanty, Risham Jewelry, Bangalore

Today on the blog, we feature Srutiza Mohanty, jewellery designer and founder of Risham Jewelry; Bangalore. She shares with us, her brand story …  


Srutiza Mohanty

Tell us a bit about yourself.   

I am an engineer by education and profession, but a creator by instinct. The two facets of my personality had to find a point where they merged and metamorphosed.In mundane terms, after the banal rigor of my software development days, I would find joy learning and making jewelry.


Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?   

I am passionate about keeping our traditions alive, to carry forward our age old crafts and  believe that reinventing them suit our modern lifestyles with contemporary designs makes them even more interesting.


How did you begin Risham?

My love for exploring and learning new crafts led me to the art of bead-weaving.Our initial work was simply to create awareness of this old art form and introduce people to this beautiful and intricate jewelry making style.Over the years, we have evolved to creating a brand which designs contemporary jewelry using the age of techniques of bead weaving but with a twist to the classical and traditional patterns.

What is the story behind your brand name ?

The brand name, Risham, was coined by my sister who based it on her daughter’s name. The name was coined to forge a connection wth family and symbolised tradition and culture. Risham is  also a take on the word ‘resham’ which means silk. It symbolises luxury,uniqueness and impecable strength. All these traits are epitomised by the jewelry we have created since inception and by the clientele that have chosen us to express themselves. It has been a perfect match and hence the brand name has stuck.

How has your business evolved over the years?    

What started as a small initiative to revive this old art form, has now evolved to encompass various handcrafted jewelry making techniques. Our signature style is classy, original designs using the best quality raw materials. we have also made significant strides in empowring women by skilling them in this ancient craft and enabling them to be financially independent. Our team is exclusively women.


Your work space. 

My workspace is my home studio where everything happens. Its chaotic and ordererly at the same time. Its where I get all my inspirations, where all the trials and rejects are stashed away for another time and all the final designs make it out to all of you.

Your favorite work tool.
The needle and the beading thread is all I need to make me happy. 

What is currently on your work table?
Working on some new designs combining various mediums.Versatile and fun.

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

My current personal favourites are the Aamra necklace and the Waterfall Necklace.
Two completely different styles and each of them is so versatile and can be worn with anything.

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

Our latest collection of necklaces and earrings inspired by Indian motifs and embroideries which we have tried to weave using beads. Also, a collection with a more western silhoutte of aztec and geometrical patterns and shapes. 



Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Tanuja Ramani, Cloudy Sky Studio, Chennai

Today on the blog, we feature Tanuja Ramani, founder and artist – illustrator at Cloudy Sky Studio; Chennai. She speaks about her creative venture and her brand story …  



1.Tell us a bit about yourself.   

Hello! My name is Tanuja Ramani, and I am an artist and illustrator from Chennai. I created Cloudy Sky Studio in 2018 as an outlet for my illustration work and love for designing patterns, stationery and homewares. My goal for the coming years is to use my skills to give back to the community in a meaningful way—to work on projects and support organisations that work for people, animals, and the environment. 

I constantly take inspiration and ideas from my surroundings in urban India, the history of art and material culture and the interplay between our built environment and the natural world. My interests outside of art include spending time in nature, practising yoga and running, and reading. Simple things make me the happiest—grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend, organising, experimenting with baking vegan desserts, and hanging out with our two cats.

2. Why did you become a maker?  Why is making so important to you?  

Art was a natural form of expression for me from a young age. I started drawing by myself when I was around 3, and pretty much haven’t stopped since then! Although pursuing this field is not always the easiest or most lucrative in the early stages, it’s extremely fulfilling. I wake up every morning and go to bed at night thinking of projects I want to do, and work I want to create, wishing there were more hours in a day to accomplish everything! I can’t imagine doing anything else.

On a deeper note, I also just think pushing through your feelings and just creating work is one of the best ways I know of, to work through a rut in life. If you put in the work, you are almost always guaranteed a brighter outcome.

3. How did you begin Cloudy Sky Studio?

I had been painting and selling original art work for a few years, while also creating editorial illustration for clients, and working as a graphic designer creating logos and brand identities. I realised that I was essentially working in three vastly different fields, and at least two distinct art styles. 

My gallery/fine art work is primarily charcoal and graphite, monochromatic and created in the moment from a photograph I’ve taken, theme or idea. 

On the other hand, my illustration work often incorporates watercolour and other mixed media; I’m inspired by vintage illustration, and I sometimes use many references for a piece, and explore themes that are much more varied. I collaborate with art directors and clients to create art for product packaging, magazines, books and installations.

I couldn’t imagine giving up either of these practices as they are both equally important to me. So it made sense to give each its’ own identity and space to breathe so I could fully explore what’s possible.



4. What is the story behind your brand name ?

I’ve always loved rainy weather, and I think most people who’ve grown up in a hot climate would agree! There’s something about a cloudy sky and rain that imbues life with a cosy and peaceful vibe, and I think it’s a subtle, mixed feeling that I would like my art to embody.

5. How has your business evolved?    

It’s still early stages for me, so I’m open to evolving and can’t wait to see where we are years down the line.


6. Your work space. 

I’m so lucky to have a room that I can work out of in the apartment that I share with my husband. My favourite thing about it is the view outside — we are surrounded by trees and it’s amazing to have such greenery around you right in the middle of the city. I’m thankful everyday for this space, as I know the struggle of not having a dedicated space to work out of. 

My table set up is pretty simple and neat; I’m not one to have a messy workspace. I need things around me to be organised so I can focus. 

7. Your favorite work tool.

It’s a difficult choice to make to pick just one! I love the Fabriano hot press watercolour paper, graphite pencils by Steadtler, and Faber Castell Polychromos are the best coloured pencils I’ve used. I’m not too particular about specific brands though, and it is always possible to create great things with the simplest of tools. I really have quite a minimal set up, and don’t believe in hoarding tons of stationery, so I just use and value what I already own. 

I don’t know if it’s strictly a work tool, but I do love combing through art history books for inspiration.



8. What is currently on your work table?

At least four or five different projects, currently! One that I can talk about is an experimental new print series illustrating everyday street-style subcultures as a take on 18th and 19th century portraiture in India.

9. What is your personal favorite pick from your brand right now? And why?

For now I would pick the Everyday Notebook in blue. I just think it’s a great notebook—I love how the illustrated pattern has come out, and I’ve received tons of positive feedback from customers on the buttery paper that holds up well for both writing and sketching.

10. What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market in Chennai?

I am displaying a range of affordable art for the home, inspired by my surroundings, the natural world, and the beauty of everyday life! There will be art prints and original works; posters, notebooks, planners, stickers, and cards; and a small selection of other illustrated products for the home such as screen printed tote bags, cushion covers and trays.



Meet the Maker @
27th edition:  By Hand From The Heart Makers Market
2 – 3 – August 2019 , Friday – Saturday | 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Hanu Reddy Residences, No. 41/19, Poes Garden, Chennai 600086, India.

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Meet The Maker: Mridula Harihar, Full Fuse, Bangalore


“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher”, said William Wordsworth which echoes the aim of Full Fuse’s exhibit this time whose collection is inspired by the sea and the conservation work being done in the city. Proceeds from the sales of cat sun catchers will go to Cattitude. Lets find out more about her showcase here in Chennai. In conversation with Mridula Harihar…


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Tell us a bit about yourself.

Having studied in The School (KFI) Chennai, nature has always been the lens I’ve used to look at things. I try and see to it that I’m in touch with nature as much as possible. I spend a lot of my free time in the outdoors trekking, and volunteering with various organisations.

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Artist entrepreneur; how has it been so far?

Design has become a way of life. I’m constantly thinking of how I can translate what I see and experience, into functional glass art pieces while also keeping in mind the current market trends and consumer behaviour. I feel that this approach has helped me find a style of my own.



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

There will be some coral diyas, fish sun catchers and dichroic jewellery pieces that emerged from volunteering with Student Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN), over the summer.

There’s also going to be a set of cat and dog inspired bottle art pieces, sun catchers and coasters. Proceeds from that will go to Cattitude- another Chennai based trust that helps rescue and rehabilitate cats.

I hope to be able to initiate a new dialogue about Chennai through my work and get people to experience the city from an environmental perspective.

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Meet The Maker: Tanuja Sethi, Shop with ‘Tanuja’, Bhubaneswar

Tanuja is a textile artist. She works from her quaint studio in Bhubaneswar. Her canvas is a  tote, tea towel or even a stole. Let’s find out more about the artist, read on.


Tell us a bit about yourself

An avid traveller, bird watcher and dreamer. I’m a self-taught artist and I paint over products for you to use and not just hang up on a wall. Leaving my corporate job, I made it possible to tour around India and that has been a major inspiration for me and my work.

I’m based in Bhubaneswar (Odisha), where I create all my hand-crafted products, market and sell them.


How did you begin Shop with ‘Tanuja’ and how has it evolved over the years?

After quitting my stable job, I looked for a creative way of sustaining myself. Here my artistic skills came to my rescue. It’s been three years since I started my venture of hand-painted products and I have had some absolute positive responses. Starting from simple painted bags, it has now evolved into a variety of bags, sarees, soft toys, scarves and lot more. Slowly but steadily it has grown into an established craft endeavour. I encourage the use of eco-friendly cotton bags as a good replacement over non-biodegradable ones.


Why is making so important to you?

Making has always been important to me as a medium to express myself. It’s my personal effort to create something eco-friendly, cost effective and reusable for my own use and others. If there is anything which could be created instead of buying, I have done that.


Your favorite work essentials and tools.

My favourite work tools are acrylic paints and brushes


What is a typical working day, like.

My typical day at work involves working on orders, dealing with clients, painting, sewing, updating on social networking sites as well as experimenting and learning new stuffs. I usually work late nights.


Your inspirations. 

I have been lucky to grow around artistic and crafty people and they have been my motivation all the way through. My nature outings, bird watching and treks are all additional to that.

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

Handmade is India means a lot, for we really need to promote and support our art and crafts based in India, be it traditional or contemporary. It’s significant that we help them get recognised not only in national level but beyond that.


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

I would be displaying a lot of hand-painted products such as earthy cotton bags, scarves and plushies with motifs of birds, butterflies and some graphic designs. They are very versatile and easy to go.

The new products added this time are clay based fridge magnets, paperweights and figurines all painted beautifully by me. It’s overall made for a collectors delight. Most creations are nature themed as that is my major inspiration. You will also find a lot of Owls. Everything is very much usable and pretty.


Your earlier By Hand From The Heart Makers Market experience.

As an artist and entrepreneur, I have had wonderful experience at By Hand From The Heart: Makers Market.  It’s very well curated and the crowd is amazing who value your effort of hand-crafted products. I have made good connection in Chennai and through it I keep coming back to this beautiful city and people.


Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 24th Edition
Friday – Saturday
24th – 25th August, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

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Chennai Event: Meet The Maker: Sarath Selvanathan, Mookuthi, Chennai

Today on the blog we feature founder and curator Sarath Selvanathan, of  Mookuthi; a home grown jewelry brand from Madras. Find out more about his design label and his showcase at the makers market. 



Tell us a bit about yourself. 

With a degree in engineering, I always thought a corporate job was my calling. In 3 years of joining the job, I realised how gratifying it was to work for your family business than working for some humongous corporate company, where you, along with your ideas, are lost somewhere in corporate hierarchy. I started with helping with streamlining operations in the business and then went on to qualify myself in the field of design and business, when I decided to take a plunge into the jewellery industry.


Were you always interested in design?

I was interested in Engineering Design with an inclination towards Automobile design, if that even counts.

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About your design label – Mookuthi. 

Mookuthi was an accident. Or I could even call it a revelation. It was more like a light bulb moment during my “becoming a jeweller” phase. When I began making pieces for my friends, friend’s family, etc, I realised that there was this tiny little ornament, a mookuthi, which spoke much louder than its size. The first mookuthi I made was in December 2015. Since then, I was extremely intrigued about this ornament. I went on to find answers to my questions, and a few years later, here I am, launching a brand called Mookuthi.

How would you describe Mookuthi’s aesthetics 

A Mookuthi is actually a versatile ornament. It could be edgy or a classic. It could be rebellious or subtle. It could be simple or ornamental. But a Mookuthi is minimal at heart.


What do you hope people think when they think of Mookuthi?

Minimal Statement pieces that speak without you having to speak.

A bit about your artisans

We’ve worked with different artisans, with different skill sets, for different collections. We want to explore the different artisans group who specialise in different jewellery making technique and exhibit their skill in a canvas called Mookuthi.

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

We are displaying are debut collections at BHFTH. We have 3 collections of Mookuthis that will be displayed; Antique, Atthangudi and Timeless. We want to display our entire one year’s journey that went into making this brand and the products. We wanted to deliver a Mookuthi Experience. 


Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 23rd Edition
Friday – Saturday
16th & 17th February, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

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Chennai Event: Meet The Maker: Ekta Doctor, WonkyWorks, Vadodara

Today on the blog, we feature fused glass artist Ekta Doctor of WonkyWorks, Vadodara. She shares in detail about her venture, workspace, projects and Wonky Works showcase at our event in Chennai – By Hand From The Heart Makers Market.

Me and my space
Ekta Doctor & her workspace

Tell us a bit about yourself. What inspired you to start your business?

Hello!  I am Ekta. I head WonkyWorks, a small, independent, Glass Art and Upcycling Studio that has an eclectic collection of upcycled glass products.  Each handmade piece is created with the utmost care and artistic discretion tapping into years of Glass Art experience.  All our pieces are made using techniques, colors and materials that are permanently fired, etched or fused into the glass at high temperatures, making them peel-free, fade proof, food-safe, and lasting, using best known techniques from across the globe.


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Be green, not mean!

Hmmm, let’s see how this started.  I had a furnace.  I knew how to melt glass in it.  All I needed was glass.  And then I melted my first used bottle!  And then I melted more, and more, and hundreds more!  Have you ever thought of what happens to the used glass bottle you chucked out – be it one that earlier had sauce, beer, or oil in it?  The answer is nothing.  It will not compost, rot, erode or rust.  It will most probably lie in landfills, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces of glass.  Not breaking down into its main ingredients – silica (sand), one of the hardest minerals on Earth for a long long time.  May be a few millions years.  Maybe forever. Think about that.  


Upcycled window wall
Upcycled window wall at my studio.

The thought got me worked up, and I must admit, a bit excited as well.  I looked into glass recycling and upcycling.  I researched glass waste and disposal methods.  I collected all the possible waste glass from my home – broken, discarded, unused – and started experimenting to make things out of melted glass.  The heat needed to melt our upcycled glass pieces is very high.  However, that is still about 40-50 percent less than what would be needed to make fresh glass.  Not to mention the reduction in consumption of more raw material.  Thus, less energy usage, less air pollution and water pollution, less water usage, and even less Greenhouse Gas emissions.  Apart from this, it eliminates an entire tier or two of the recycling process that includes, collecting, sorting, processing and breaking down, converting, and finally, new manufacture.

Apart from that I feel it’s important to work with a material that’s extremely stable and sustainable in the long run as long as there is an organised waste collection system behind it. Glass waste collection especially broken glass is not something being done on a large scale and is something I would be interested to tackle in the future.

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When the scraps come in

One of my earliest challenges was to create products that would have the finesse and design to appeal to mainstream customers, rather than just to people who were aware and conscious of Green Design and thus specifically searched for sustainable products.  The growing awareness in India of the Green Culture helped to a certain degree, as did the  innate sense Indians have to turn waste into something useful.  It also helps that I make many versions of the products and test their user-friendliness on myself and with a closed group before placing the objects on display.  This sometimes takes months and even years, but seeing  knowing that the usability, design and functionality of each product is  appreciated  the satisfaction on a buyer’s face is worth all the time.  Another challenge is pricing.  Most people find it absurd that they are asked to pay Rs 600 for example, for a piece of glass art, when come to think about it, a three rupee, almost worthless bottle was melted to make it.  Also, as most of my pieces are created at an independent studio level, my prices can never compete with factory manufactured products that use labour-intensive, techniques and are known to pay low wages.  The price margins between my product and factory-made are high as a result.

Upcycling of first floor in progress
Upcycling the first floor in progress.

But I am hooked to upcycling glass into well-designed products that please the eye and are different-wonky as some label these.  This has actually led me to lead a greener lifestyle. I am ethically vegan since a year now and have been trying to ben zero-waste as well.

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All women team at Wonky Works

Tell us about your creative venture.

WonkyWorks is an independent Upcycling and Design Studio, one of the first in India, creating Upcycled Glassware, Sustainable Interior Design, Vintage + Upcycled Furniture, Art, Architectural Elements and Speciality Tutoring.

We work mainly with Glass (Kiln-formed, Blown and Etched), Found Objects, Junk and Waste to make an eclectic collection of Awesomely Handmade GlassArt, Functional Art, Tableware, Objet d’art, Holders/Stands, Planters, Lights and inexhaustible quantities of Bric-à-brac…

We also take on Architectural and Interior projects where clients are willing to use 90% waste as raw material.

We strictly follow the principles of sustainability, being green and ethical making. We believe that sustainable living choices can lead to long-term environmental benefits for future generations.

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Upcycled office canteen interiors

Our products not only help keep glass and other reusable materials out of landfills, but are also minimal, well-designed pieces made to last.  In the age of mass produced uniformity, we celebrate the glitzy, the fuddled, the skewed, the piece that is absolutely unique.

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Enterance to my studio

Tell us about your work space.

My studio started of as a few shed-like rooms 8 years ago. Thankfully a leaking roof and lack of space resulted in the current Wonky Studio.

It’s a two floor studio in Vadodara Gujarat, in which apart from the said leaking roof, the entire first floor is upcycled. We had ourselves some good fabricators, engineers and a lot of steel scrap, along old windows and doors and voila we got our very own very upcycled very wonky workspace.

We also only employ women, with flexible working hours and 2 Saturday’s off.

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

Well, I ran into some trouble enroute from Gujarat and had to leave a few thing behind. Though I’ve got the best-seller, the SuperBatli, the Appetizer Plates, the flat Vodkas, the Mini Wonky Vases which are just awesome and some Upcycled Tealight Holders. Also loads of ‘Message in a bottle’s.

I’m also going to be introducing the range of Wonky Lockets, made from Watch Glass, Spectacle Lenses, and Medicine Vials. All discarded or found objects of course.



Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 23rd Edition
Friday – Saturday
16th & 17th February, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

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Chennai Event: Meet The Maker: Karthik Vaidyanathan, VARNAM, Bangalore

Today on our Meet The Maker blog series; we feature Karthik Vaidyanathan, VARNAM, Bangalore. Karthik will showcase VARNAM at By Hand From The Heart Makers Market, event in Chennai this February.


Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from the Chettinad region of South India. Born and brought up in Mumbai I currently reside in Bangalore. An Engineer-MBA by qualification, I have worked for over 20 years in the media industry – music, radio and cable television. This includes companies like Sony Music, Worldspace Satellite Radio & Radio City among others.

Varnam was born in late 2011 during a trip to Mysore enroute Channapatna. The colourful toys of Channapatna left me fascinated and created an urge to know more about the craft. Being in a full-time job, I would travel to Channapatna over weekends and holidays. A few visits later, the first few designs of Varnam saw the light of day. Varnam has, thankfully, not looked back since.



 Were you always interested in design?

I have always had an appreciation for design and aesthetics. Though not at trained designer, I have had the good fortune of being surrounded by some of the best design talent in the country and their approach to design inspires me till today.



 About your venture. 

Varnam Craft Collective is a multi-award winning social enterprise that has been working with artisans in Channapatna for over 6 years. The result is a series of designs interpreting this 200 year old toy-making craft in the home & lifestyle space and now even the women’s accessories space. Varnam’s product line includes lighting, Kitchen, dining & bar accessories , kids room décor/toys and Jewelry. In an industry where more than 90% of the artisans are men, many of Varnam’s creations have been deftly hand-crafted by women artisans.  Varnam has been providing sustainable livelihoods on a consistent basis to artisan groups. Proceeds from sales of varnam are also invested in training women artisans who wish to learn this craft.

How would you describe Varnam’s aesthetics.

VARNAM (colours) Craft Collective is an ode to colourful India. My attempt has been to bring my own aesthetic sensibilities and design philosophy to traditional crafts. The idea is to reorient our crafts to the modern context by ensuring that each design has a utilitarian value and thereby relevant today. There is a constant dialogue with my artisans on current market trends in terms of finish, utilitarian value, attention to detail, etc.  In doing so, I hope to enhance the sense of pride amongst our master crafts-people for their skill and ensure that these crafts continue to thrive.


What do you hope people think when they think of Varnam?

Design and sustainable livelihoods.

Varnam at the By Hand, From The Heart – What are your displaying ?

We will be launching our new range of block printed adult and kids apparel, TIPU’s TOYs inspired from our very own uniquely designed channapatna toys. We will also be bringing our popular toys , home accents and jewelry.


Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 23rd Edition
Friday – Saturday
16th & 17th February, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

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Chennai Event:  Meet The Maker: Ramesh Manickam, Cozart, Chennai

Today on the blog we feature product designer, Ramesh Manickam of Cozart, Chennai. He shares with us in detail about his venture, design process and showcase at the Chennai event.


A bit about yourself and the design company.

Ramesh Manickam an industrial designer, alumnus from IIT Delhi, started his design career as an automotive designer, The Thunderbird motorcycle from Royal Enfield is one of his first creations – product out in the market designed way back in 2000. Started Centroid Design in 2005, in the last 12 years, he has designed over 400 products ranging from Tractors to pens. Has won Good design award Japan, CII Design excellence award, International Young design entrepreneur of the year award from British council. He is also a TED Fellow and a avid speaker on design and entrepreneurship.

Cozart is a decor brand from Centroid – designing day to day use products made simple, beautiful and functional. Cozart is a brand that makes the user emotionally connects with the products through subtle stories. Breathing in life in to products creating meaningful, simple, elegant and contemporary everyday items.

Concrete as your design medium – why?

Concrete as a material blends itself with the environment and is designer friendly in term of expressing emotions through form, texture and is very durable.

In Cozart range of products we have made a building material used in different context acceptable for day to day products. We have tried to push limits in materials and processes to bring in a different set of characteristics that blend with aesthetics  and light weight material to suit the Modern and contemporary indoor scenarios.

Concrete also allows a lot of experimentation and play. It is so easy to get any form in concrete, as any design medium to get it as simple as possible it takes lots of effort and eye for detail.


What is the inspiration behind your current collection? 

The range of products are designed for a target audience who is  a connoisseur of fine things in life, young at heart and connected with the contemporary culture.

A blend of minimalist surfaces with patterns & hues creating an ultramodern touch resulting in a unique aesthetic feel.

Clean surfaces + Defined edges + striking pattern overlay
The designs don’t call for attention and blends itself with its background – Subtle with no shouting.

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Can you run us through the start to finish process of making a concrete accessory?

The design process starts from portraying the customer persona and understanding their requirements from their perspectives. Conceptualising the decor products that they would enjoy using, and each design is crafted. The sketches are converted CAD models – all details fine tuned to the last detail.

Master patterns and moulds are made to make the parts. The products are made with a unique mixture of special concrete that gives it a fine finish and texture. The light weight concrete also needs to set quick to enable to take multiple parts from the mould. The parts are painted, textured and finished to the required details.


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

The product range displayed at the By Hand, From the Heart consists of desk top accessories, that blends with the scenarios. The products are carefully designed that they don’t shout and call for attention. We are showcasing our family of products consisting of tea light holders, desk top organisers, pen stands, planters and flower vases.


Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 23rd Edition
Friday – Saturday
16th & 17th February, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

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Chennai Event: Meet The Maker: Madhuri Mehta, Fabwrap, Chennai

Today on the blog we feature, Madhuri, principal illustrator &  founder of Fabwrap. She shares with us in brief about her venture and showcase at the makers market. 


A bit about yourself and the design venture.
I am a Fine Arts Post Graduate and an art enthusiast. The idea behind Fabwrap started as a small college project and now to that of a design studio.
Fabric as your design medium – why?
Inspired by Furoshiki and Kantha Wraps that allows one to wrap objects of different sizes and shapes in a single piece of fabric. But you might ask why Fabric? Well because, Fabric wraps can be used time and again to gift and transport goods time and again. Which in turn would reduce paper waste.
What is the inspiration behind your current collection? 
The Current Collection is a contemporary take on the Indian art form – Gond.
The mood of the collection is monochrome, subtle, minimal and abstract.
What are your displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart.

I intend to display Fabric wraps, cash envelopes, drawstring bags, wine bottle bags & framed artwork.


Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 23rd Edition
Friday – Saturday
16th & 17th February, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

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Chennai Event: Meet The Maker: Saarus Nirhali, Glasshopper, Bangalore

Meet lawyer turned full time stained glass artist, Saarus Nirhali of Glasshopper, Bangalore, at By Hand From The Heart Makers Market this February. Today on the blog Saarus shares in brief about her venture a bit about herself. Read on…


Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was a practising lawyer before I learned and then eventually started Glasshopper.

I moved from Bombay to Bangalore in 2007 and while on a break, I started hunting for a teacher who will teach me this form of glass art. I always knew that original stained glass in the lead soldering method and that glass painting is no way related to this. Fortunate enough to come across Mr. Vinayak Patel, who taught me at his age of 92 years.


About your creative venture. And how has it evolved over the years.

I learnt in 2008 and started Glasshopper officially in 2010. I started making smaller sun catchers at first, obviously the budget was tight and the glass since it is imported has always been expensive. It ranges from about ₹350 to ₹600 per sq. Feet.

In last 7 years Glasshopper has grown, we are a team of 4 people now and I have my independent studio plus workshop in Indiranagar, Bangalore. I also teach this art and I teach Glass mosaics as well.


What are your displaying at our event in Chennai, By Hand, From The Heart.

At the By Hand, From The Heart, I am displaying the stained glass sun catchers, jewellery, tea light holders, map pendants and a recently finished large lamp to give and idea about the Tiffany style lampshades.


Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 23rd Edition
Friday – Saturday
16th & 17th February, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

Chennai Event: Meet the Maker: Famita Latheef, Cochin

Meet designer Famita Latheef at By Hand From The Heart Makers Market this February. Today on the blog Famita talks about her independent label, inspirations, workspace and a bit about herself. Read on…

maker profile.jpg

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I graduated with a majors in fashion design from Middlesex university, winning the fashion designer award of the year for my final thesis in 2009 and worked my first job as a fashion stylist at Ahlan Masala (one of the leading magazines in Dubai at that time).  Later moved to Kerala and established a label called Fariyadh which catered to customers who require bespoke fashion.  In 2015 I started experimenting with local materials such as Mundu (dhoti) to create contemporary and casual clothes for women, this led to me creating a self named label In 2016.


About your Label:

My name is the Label because the work I do is a reflection of who I am, so it felt right to put my name there. Also I feel it keeps things simple. Its a very young brand and that clearly comes across in the material and cuts we have chosen for our collection

Tell us about your work space and favorite tools:

I think the entire city of Cochin will qualify as my work space, because I am mostly on the move and ideas and inspiration comes from what I see around me.  My favorite tools would be my sketchbook and pen because one half of my life is sketching.


Your inspirations and influences:  

I have been a user of natural / organic fabrics almost all my adult life, and my positive experience with using these materials in my life has definitely influenced my decision in the usage of material for my collection. Also, most of my influences come from my immediate environment, so you will find a lot of Kerala and South India in my collection.

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

I am displaying my latest collection, called Mu(n)du. This collection has a variety of Accessories, Asymmetric shirts, Stoles, Shorts, Skirts, Pant Saree etc  all made using a combination of Kalli Mundu and Khaadi Mundu. These are two of the most comfortable and geographically relevant materials I have come across while living in Kerala plus the colors on the lungis are always so funky and cheerful.  Most of the scrap fabric is used to make accessories, stoles etc.


Meet the Maker @
By Hand From The Heart Makers Market 23rd Edition
Friday – Saturday
16th & 17th February, 2018
10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, (old Adyar Gate Hotel)
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, India.

Follow us on : Facebook Event Page | Facebook | Instagram | Blog