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Marigold Diary

Getting nostalgic over India’s everyday design

“In India, to understand objects in terms of design one has to re-imagine design itself. Design here is not entirely determined by the aesthetic appeal of the object, but by its significance in our everyday lives (often influenced by its users)” is an understanding of the author Jahnvi Lakhota Nandan of Pukka Indian-100 Objects that Define India published by Roli Books.

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Born in Lucknow, she now lives as a perfumer in Paris and confesses “Their composition has given me a privileged viewpoint to design with  senses. ………..Design captures space and moods where the invisible becoming visible, which is the core of my book, with notions of home.”

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The Art of Textiles

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I remember visiting quite a while ago a small store in New Delhi’s tony Khan Market, on the first floor. Along with its amazing line of home furnishings which revived old school Indian needlework with global inspirations (i.e. French, Moroccan, Portuguese) were the wooden plank shelves which caught my fancy. On inquiring one came to know of the painstaking efforts taken to procure tracks from Indian Railway auctions for their wood which is ideal for furniture, weathered well and very sturdy.

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Jamdani – a sublime weave does justice to slow fashion

She remembers sketching gowns from class 7th onwards after secretly gaping at the international fashion magazines for hours on end. Had fancied a German – Karl Largarfeld ever since, for successfully creating three distinct labels simultaneously – French fashion house Chanel, an Italian one Fendi, along with his own fashion label.

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Resplendent Benarasi weaves from history and beyond

Jhini jhini bini chadariya.

kah ke tana, kah ke bharni, kaun taar se bini chadariya

ingla pingla taana bharni, sushumna tar se bini chadariya.

ashta kamal dal charkha doley, panch tatva, gun tini chadariya

saiin ko siyat mas dus lagey, thonk-thonk ke bini chadariya.

so chaadar sur nar muni odhi, odhi ke maili kini chadariya

das Kabir jatan kari odhi, jyon ki tyon dhar deeni chadariya.

The Lord Supreme has woven a very fine and delicate tapestry, free of impurities of any kind!

What refined and subtle yarn, what complex interlacing,

He has used to weave it!

Using veins and breath he threads twenty four hours on end,

His spinning wheel turns,

Weaving the tapestry from all five essential elements.

Ten months it takes the Lord to weave his tapestry,

Using the greatest of craftsmanship, care and skill.

That exquisite tapestry is worn by the celestials, by Saints, and by human beings alike.

But they all invariably have defiled it !

Your humble devotee Kabir has worn it scrupulously and meticulously,

And is returning it to you, O’Lord, unblemished and pure !

(cited Blind to Bounds)

Kaaynat - Gold the art of Zari by Swati and Sunaina

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Not just for women

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Tempering is a uniquely Indian cooking technique. I wanted to create jewellery based on the magical act of pouring hot spiced oil into cooked food.-Baanley collection

Had stumbled upon Dvibhumi‘s instagram account a while ago, but one fine day I read on it a cryptic message ‘Utensils of early Indian settlers in Singapore-Ruchi launches this month’ which piqued my interest. To quench my curiosity I wrote and requested Vyshnavi N Doss, its founder and designer, for an e-catalog of her latest creations. The revert read “I design in Singapore and work with craftsmen in India and Indonesia to create modern jewellery with a strong Asian narrative. My signature aesthetic is clean lines and surfaces in combination with textures and motifs. You will notice how the designs go beyond statements and can easily spark a conversation. One should expect more matte finishes and monochrome than bling on geometrical forms with the spotlight on detail.”

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Warangal began with prayer rugs

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Getting festive ready I chanced upon Poludas Nagendra Satish’s Sutra Durrie. This led me to understand how earlier one could differentiate through designs of one village or weaver from the other. The cottage industry of durrie weaving in Warangal, Telengana can be recognized with its geometrical and angular designs in weft interlocking technique (both sides look the same). Here a large population consisted of skilled weavers and dyers. But the unofficial figures stated otherwise, that almost 50% of Padmasali community have left their ancestral vocation as the craft is too laborious, and provides little sustenance or dignity.

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Dining with KIKA while celebrating milestones

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Well, for me this 70th Independence day celebrations has been about analyzing India’s journey of rapid urbanization, growing awareness of western lifestyles, and higher disposable income. Ironically, certain aspects of global living came to fore, one such being cooking; as an increasing number of cosmopolitans are going back to soirees where exotic foods are paired up with fancy dinner and serveware as that has become a part of their conversations. So now, serving food tastefully  is no longer the prerogative of only the rich and famous of a bygone era.

Janaki Kirloskar in 2016, after working for 12 years in her century-old family business, decided to make the most of this crevasse. Having revelled in a beautiful home with luxuries, she had travelled, fine dined and entertained extensively ever since childhood. This industrial engineer who has an eye for patterns and designs decided on making the most of her of her background with KIKA Tableware – an acronym which brings together two most significant forces of her life – her daughters, Devaki and Mihika.  And with the onset of our festive season it seemed most appropriate for me to question her about her fairly new creative venture.

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The radical experimenter

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I had the opportunity to view Rooshad Shroff’s solo debut show – 15,556 Man Hours represented by Pundole Gallery earlier this year during the India Design Fair 2017 at Bikaner House, New Delhi. These were 26 pieces of furniture such as chairs, tables, benches, screens, daybed, and lighting in three distinct techniques – colour sanding, zardozi embroidery using french knots and monolithic marble hollowed and carved out. Being a big fan of handmade and crafts of India it was a sea change from other designed products, driving home his point of ‘authorship’.

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Its bold colours and graphic all the way

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Recently at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Textile India 2017 shed light on ‘Make in India’ initiative. So, without digressing much, I’d like to highlight ‘Made by an Indian’ who chooses to use these very same rich woven fabrics on foreign soil.

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