Named after the late Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, a force behind the handicrafts movement that began in the 1950s-60s, to the service of the artisan communities, offering a permanent window for high-quality crafts, in some of India’s most important markets — Kamala, the store by Crafts Council of India in Chennai is all set to host Bengaluru’s prominent design studio and art store, KaleNele, for a three-day pop-up. In a candid conversation, co-founder Janhavi Kulkarni reveals what we can expect from the new collection that will be unveiled in Chennai, but will also be available in Bengaluru.
The pop-up will begin with a talk show titled Kasuti Khate, where the audience will be educated about the products crafted using a traditional form of folk embroidery, kasuti. Post that, the label will showcase its new Kasuti Home Furnishing range handcrafted from pure mulberry silk. “In the olden days, kasuti was primarily used for saris, kunchagis (caps for babies) or some small fabric that would be used as a cover for a pooja thali. So, we have taken this art form and have introduced it to contemporary products,” she reveals.
Offering an array of kasuti embroidery products including cotton silk dupattas, stoles, potli bags, ilkal saris and fabric jewellery, the Kasuti collection will feature motifs and stories of Karnataka like the ambaari going into a procession, ane hejje (elephant’s footprints), kamala (lotus), akash kandil (lanterns) and more. “Historically, the motifs of kasuti embroidery represent everything the artist observed around them, which was then reinterpreted into geometrical forms and fashioned on garments. We have detailed such embroideries onto pure dupion silk we source from Doddaballapur and transformed them into cushion covers and table runners,” she shares.
The range will also showcase gubbi chatt (birds), another dying craft that was used to craft hangings that were hung over cradles for infants to play with. This quirky element has been used in numerous products such as the potli bag to give an edge to the product. “Besides Kasuti, one can also expect collections like Ganesha, which is associated with the Hindu god’s famous aarti line that uses colours dear to the Lord — chandanachi uthi kumkuma keshara. Incorporating them into our colour palette, we have woven a range of khunn fabrics to create products like kite hangings, wooden trays, tissue box covers and torans,” says Janhavi.
KaleNele will also exhibit a vivid variety of lightweight mulberry silk saris, cotton silk saris and pieces from a fabric jewellery collection called Abharan, which is further segregated into edits like Swarna, Rani, Neeli, Ratri and Hasiru that feature earrings and necklaces. “The new Kasuti range will be available at the Bengaluru store once we are back from the pop-up at Kamala,” she signs off.
₹850 onwards. At HAL Stage 3.