Traditional art forms get a contemporary update with Zwende.com
From the fine brush strokes of Madhubani art to the vivid patterns of Tholu Bommalata, the craft heritage of India is truly unmatched. However, dated designs and garish colour stories that are no longer considered tasteful, are among two of the many factors that have seen these crafts slowly fall into obscurity. While there are many ongoing efforts to make traditional craft more relevant and contemporary, the husband and wife duo, Sujay S and Innu Nevatia have dreamed up a novel way to infuse new life into these art forms with a gifting website called Zwende.
The e-store-cum-customisation studio allows customers to pick a product, choose patterns, colours, raw materials and more to create articles that range from home decor essentials to accessories. “Entre-preneurship is something I’m quite passionate about and my wife, Innu’s interest lies in Indian handicrafts. Zwende.com is our way of bringing both our interests together,” says Sujay, who like Innu, is a former IT professional.
Tholu Bommalata, artwork used on a particular kind of shadow puppet theatre form from Andhra Pradesh, Madhubani paintings, Ajrakh prints and Kalamkari work, apart from the French art of decoupage, are a few techniques that the website boasts. While one can transfer the Indian forms onto clutches, wallets, bags, lamps and stationery, decoupaging is reserved for furniture. “Currently, we work with five brands, who in turn work with artisans in villages around India,” explains Innu. In addition to the online store launched in April this year, the duo has also turned a part of their office in Indira Nagar to an experience centre / shop. The small space (about 450 square feet) houses a few of their products and LED screens through which they can customise their orders. “We realised that for a start-up like ours, a ‘click and brick’ model is what works best,” shares Sujay.
The duo will extend their inventory by introducing new independent local labels working with cork fabric, other blocking printing techniques, ceramic ware, shibori and kilim over the next few months.
Rs.500 upwards on zwende.com