Show of hands: Ahead of By Hand From The Heart, we tell you what to look out for
Known as the city’s makers’ market, By Hand From The Heart is all about bringing across the anti-flea market experience with a focus on originality, exclusivity and finish. With 30 participants roped in this time, the 20th edition of this bi-annual showcase sees entrepreneurs Deepa Sekar and Kshiti Davey curating products from the best slow design studios, designers, artists and food entrepreneurs from across the country. “While this market brings makers closer to their customers, for us, the biggest takeaway is how it nurtures a sense of solidarity among the artisans and allows them to gauge the market,” shares Deepa. Ask her for her favourites, and Deepa’s answer is instantaneous — “Art and Light by Vineeta Nair. She is a visual genius.” Look out for the Mumbai-based decor designer’s crockery sets featuring platters and mugs with script and the moonish chevron mini drawers. Rs 799 onwards.
Running through the itinerary of the two-day market, we put the spotlight on a selection of makers and their products.
The rise in demand for handwoven fabrics in the country is making Shree Bharathi Devarajan one happy entrepreneur. “From a village that had over 100,000 weavers less than a decade ago, to a place that currently has 2,000 weavers — the decline of the handloom industry in the region has been rapid,” says the 26-year-old, on why she chose to work with the Chennimalai cluster. Taking cues from other sustainable ethnic retail brands like Fabindia, Good Earth and Malka, Bharathi tells us that it was in 2015 that she decided to set up her brand Nool, which translates as thread. With 20 jacquard and dobby weavers trained in creating linen, denim and fine cotton apparel, this Salem-based label specialises in ethnic silhouettes and a select range of Western wear like maxi and A-line dresses. Look out for the label’s Spring Summer’17 collection titled Kattam, which means checks in Tamil, and their debut sari range featuring five cotton and linen saris at the market. Rs 1,500 onwards.
Drawing from history, folklore, tribal art and dance forms, Razia Kunj works with art-based jewellery. “What is unique to the brand is that the material does not determine the design treatment of the jewellery. The focus has always been on the art,” shares the 46-year-old entrepreneur of the Mumbai-based eponymous label. The collection, which includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles and rings, carries an earthy palette with a predominant use of red and yellow. We love her theyyam collection which sports colourful masks and costumes based on the ritualistic Northern Kerala art form and the Hawa Mahal inspired necklace with intricate jaali woodwork that comes embellished with Swarovski crystals. Rs 1,800 onwards.
Raising the bar
“‘Soklet’, that’s the way the locals here pronounce chocolate,” shares Karthikeyan Palanisamy, owner of the Pollachi-based artisanal chocolate brand Soklet/Regal chocolate, which is building a reputation for itself as the country’s first tree-to-bar chocolate maker. Looking to woo customers with their range of handcrafted offerings, Karthikeyan tells us that each bar is a two-ingredient chocolate made of cacao beans and cane sugar. “This showcases the flavour of the beans as they are. We also have versions where we swap regular sugar with unrefined sugar and add natural vanilla to enhance the flavour.” Available as dark chocolate, the bars come in variations of 40 per cent, 55 per cent, 57 per cent, 57 per cent, 70 per cent and 82 per cent cocoa. Keep an eye out for their signature packaging, based on design elements from Kancheevaram saris. Rs 220 onwards.
Stick with it
KK Bheemiah is the brains behind the handcrafted walking sticks that are getting youngsters as excited as the elderly about getting their daily dose of exercise. “I wanted to create something that was functional and at the same time was a work of art,” says Bheemiah, the creative inventor of Bengaluru-based Bheem Styx, explaining that he spends around 15 days a month curating sticks from plantations, roadsides and private properties. “I had very little knowledge about hardwood trees before I started out on this venture. Whatever I knew was from growing up on a coffee plantation,” shares the 33-year-old. While some of the paintings on the sticks are satirical, others are comical, he shares. Expect to find lawn light sticks, deep river walking sticks, and gadget sticks (equipped with compass or tracker). Rs 500 onwards.
Architect-turned-designer Kalaivani M is creating blueprint reliefs of leaves, dragonflies, nests,
honeycombs, seaweeds and flowers on textile-based cards, bags, scarves and saris. Making
her designer debut at the market, Kalaivani says, “Cyanotype prints are typically made on paper. My version is a spin on this early 20th-century method of photograph printing.” Bringing her label’s (56th Day) first collection titled ‘Spirit of Pursuit’ to the city, the Sivakasi-born designer will showcase a range of home décor products like wall hangings and curtains, stationery in the form of postcards, and apparel—organic cotton shawls and saris. Don’t miss her limited edition saris, with bougainvillaea and hibiscus floral patterns. Rs 450 onwards.
Talk it out
If you’re a looking to take a break from your shopping, look out for the two food talks — a chocolate and cheese pairing session conducted by Karthikeyan Palanisamy and Harish Manoj Kumar, founders of Soklet and Regal chocolates, on July 7 from 3 pm to 3.30 pm, and a ‘know your breakfast’
session by Umeshwari Machani of Monsoon Harvest, on July 8 from 2.45 pm to 3 pm.