Tag: India

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Aaraa By Avantika / Collectivitea

Hello! You maybe familiar with the India-based jewelry label Aaraa By Avantika. If you aren’t yet, it is my great pleasure to share with you the work of jewelry designer and maker Avantika Kumar. (This post has been months in the making, but I am a firm believer that everything has a way of coming together at the right time.) So without further ado, meet Avantika Kumar! I have followed Avantika’s work for some years now and have always been impressed by its boho maximalism. There is the homage to traditional jewelry lines, but then exuberant creativity takes over and the result is bold, beautiful, and joyous. Flamboyant. Goddess like. Jewelry that you will treasure for a lifetime. Collectivitea is my way of collecting and sharing stories of creatives with you so that they may inspire, and I am sure Avantika’s creative journey will inspire a lot of people! The jewelry featured here are from the designer’s Ista collection (more on that below). Read on for Avantika’s story. – Priya

 


Aaraa By Avantika / CollectiviteaAvantika Kumar: “I was born and brought up in Pune, India which is called the ‘Oxford of the East’. I had a very humble upbringing and drawing, painting and crafts were my favourite pass-time. I had more paints, brushes, crayons, and pencils than I had friends as a kid. Academically, I was a sincere student and performed averagely well which made my parents hope for me to be an engineer. Initially as a teenager, I wanted to be a painter or join a creative field, but the calling towards this at the age of 16 years was not strong enough that I could defy what my parents had thought about my future. While I pursued my engineering course of four years, the creative side in me grew stronger each day. After finishing off my college assignments I would spend hours painting and sketching. Along with my studies, I also started making jewellery out of paper, wood, or any other freely accessible material and began supplying the same to a few local boutiques in and around Pune. For me, academics turned out to be very unsatisfactory at that point of time and by the end of the course I realized that I needed to make a career out of something that I loved doing. Even my parents realized the creative thirst within me and helped me find my calling.”


Aaraa By Avantika / Collectivitea

“I appeared for the entrance test for the Post Graduation course in Lifestyle Accessory Design at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad and to my amazement, without any design prerequisite and knowledge, I got through.  NID is touted to be India’s most premier and finest design school. The transition from being an engineer to a designer was a difficult one but has been a beautiful journey of self discovery for me. As an engineer I had been disciplined to work from a scenario with many variables and reach to a single conclusion, while as a designer I was being trained to think of as many outcomes to a single question. It was difficult for me to understand these conflicting ideas but with strong passion, hard work, determination and good guidance, I was able to logically balance and equate my thinking with creative ideas. While pursuing my course, I was selected to make my debut at IIJW 2010 (India International Jewellery Week). It happens to be the only platform in India at the moment, exclusively showcasing jewellery on the ramp and showcased my collection of unconventional range of handcrafted jewels titled “Aurum”, I received rave reviews and admiration that encouraged me and stirred up my inclination towards being a jewellery designer. I further went on to work with the prestigious jewellery house Amrapali Jewels, Jaipur for a year where I learnt the fine skills of jewellery making.”

 Aaraa By Avantika / Collectivitea
 

On inspiration…. “Design is not only my profession but a reflection of me and my constant state of mind. I have a strong affinity to Indian history, culture, tradition and architecture along with ancient jewellery making techniques and crafts. Cultural symbols and motifs are some of the mediums which influence me to great lengths.When we talk about inspiration, I feel so proud that I belong to this wonderful country, India where everything, right from food, textiles, jewellery to architecture, performing arts etc has very interesting history and legacy attached to it. Thus traveling acts as a stimulus for me; it allows me to discover so many crafts, craftsmen and lesser known facts about our heritage.I have explored quite a bit with varied materials as a student at NID and so different and unique materials do interest and inspire me a lot. Hence I like to work with a fusion of diverse beads and gemstones creating some unusual, contrasting and yet beautiful colour and texture combinations.”

Aaraa By Avantika / Collectivitea 

About ISTA collection: “Ista (इष्ट) is a Sanskrit word for desire or wish. When I start working on a collection, I first work on the concept, the name and colour palette of the jewellery line. But this time I decided to go the other way round. I named the collection Ista after having completed the entire range of neckpieces. Because once I saw all the pieces laid out in front of me I instantly connected with the desire, the desire of owning each one of them, the desire to touch and feel each one of the pieces. This is one collection where I have worked more intuitively than ever.
The collection boasts of some beautiful and bright colour combinations of gemstones that have been sourced from all over the country. Few of the pieces even have these custom made, handcrafted glass beads that have been sourced directly from the bead craftsmen/makers.
You will also find some out of the box and unusual silver pendants, most of them have been sourced from various parts of the country as well as the world, over a long period of tiIme. Quite a few pendants are antique and vintage in nature. Hence each and every piece has a story of it’s own, right from the texture and finish to the hues of the gemstones.” – Avantika Kumar.
 Aaraa By Avantika / Collectivitea
 Aaraa By Avantika / Collectivitea
To see more, visit Aaraa By Avantika on Facebook and on Instagram.
All images are taken by and courtesy of Avantika Kumar. The model in the picture is Pritika Chakraverty.

To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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Jun 18

Kalamkari

Kalamkari / Collectivitea

Kalamkari is enjoying a big comeback in all the stores, fairs, exhibitions that I’ve been to on this trip to India. It’s always been popular but seems to be more so right now. Big, bold graphics, colored with vegetable dyes and available in cotton and khadi silk. Elaborate scenes from mythological stories, depictions of the Buddha, and representations of nature (floral vines, prowling jungle animals) are available on dress materials, saris, and more. Some of the prints are really too big for me to wear, but as inspiration and as art, they are just spectacular!  I will possibly spend all my money on these gorgeous textiles. I am getting a few stitched as clothing (grateful for the luxury of a good tailor!) but the rest are just going into my textile collection. I remember writing some years ago about buying a large, intricately carved wooden armoire to store my textile collection. (I even had a Pinterest board for it.)  Somehow I never gotten round to getting one. Maybe it’s time now. You know when you’ve a crush on someone and you try to catch their eye every time, or sigh deeply every time they pass by? Well, that’s how I would feel about the armoire filled with all these textiles- the temptation to stare at it all day, the rush of joy! Today I am grateful for the textiles tradition in India, and to be able to add more of these lovelies to my collection. I bought a few yards of cloth and also these borders that the printers had cut off because someone hadn’t wanted them in their order. Of course, I had to have them!

This post is part of a gratitude journal that I maintain and update almost daily. To read the gratitude journal entries so far, click here.  Have a wonderful day! – Priya

Image credits/copyright: Studio Collectivitea


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

Hello! I am excited to share with you a home tour from the city of Chennai in southern India. The home belongs to Sunita and Yogesh, and you are going to love it because it’s decorated in a cool, contemporary style that is a perfect sanctuary from the city. A house with good bones and abundant light, like this one, already has a lot going for it. If you then style the interiors with a crisp, neutral foundation, well, then you can build on that over a lifetime. Those are the best kind of homes, don’t you think? Neutrals allow you to add this, edit that, all without creating a crowded feeling. The pops of color to catch your eye come in small doses, from everything, from textiles to the greenery. Change those, and it’s as if it’s made new again!  If I had to pick a favorite room, it would have to be the dining area with it’s warm wood tones contrasting with the lovely light. Read about the home in Sunita’s words and enjoy this lovely tour. – Priya


Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

Name: Sunita and Yogesh(husband)

 Location: Chennai, India

Size: 2000 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, rented

About us:

“So, let me introduce myself. I’m Sunita, a textile designer, extremely passionate about home decor and styling. Yogesh and I got married 3 years ago and this is our first home together and it holds a really special place in our hearts. The space was like a blank canvas when we move in and it was quite intimidating to work on it as we had to start from scratch. But the whole process was so much fun!

Entryway/ Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                  Entryway

Entryway/ Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                EntrywayEntryway/ Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                 Entryway

Design process:

Initially, it was a little difficult for my husband and I to agree on certain design decisions as we liked different things. He was more into bold colours and I like to work with neutral and subtle tones. So we had to bring a balance so that our home reflects both of our personalities. Hence most of our furniture is of a neutral tone, so that I can add pops of colours through accent pieces , cushions and throw blankets.

Entryway/ Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

  Living room

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                    Living room

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                      Living room

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                       Living room

Home style and Inspiration:

I would say, my home has a midcentury – modern vibe with a bit of bohemian touch to it. My home changes with my mood, as I have no set playlist. I like experimenting with a lot of styles and keeping it simple, at the same time. I don’t buy things randomly to fill up my house. I put in a lot of thought before buying something, even if it’s the most tiniest of things. I don’t worry about the mistakes I make either, as I feel there’s always room to improvise and you can turn your mistakes into something really unique.Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

 

Textiles:

As a textile designer, there’s no surprise that I love playing around with cushions, throws and rugs. I find inspiration in all the colours, patterns and textures around me and wanted to fill my home with them. According to me, textiles are the easiest and cost effective way to give your home a makeover.

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

   Dining room

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                    Dining roomHome Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                   Dining room

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

Favorite rooms:

My favorite room has got to be my home-office. It’s the first room I started working on. I wanted a space that will ignite my creativity, and help me design in my own comfort. It’s definitely a dream-come-true kind of a workspace.

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

Then it has to be the living room. It’s a really cozy room with a lot of natural light, where my husband and I spend most of our time, sitting on the couch and binge watching Netflix for hours together on weekends.

Paintings:

I’m also a self-taught artist. Initially I used to work with oil medium on a lot of landscape paintings. Slowly my style evolved and now I make a lot abstract work and my home is filled with paintings which I’ve made over the years.

Home vibe:

I love that the apartment gets a lot of natural light and it fills the home with this warm fuzzy feeling. I always feel positive and happy when I’m home. Even when our friends come home they always say that our home is really warm and welcoming and it instantly puts a smile on my face. This is not a typical indian home, but the desi-ness is subliminal, hidden between the bricks. Though is a rental home, the restriction makes decorating even more exciting.” – Sunita

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                          Master bedroom

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail Home Tour/ Sunita and Yogesh in Chennail

                                                                                      Guest bedroom

 

Visit Sunita at her Instagram account (@houseofpatterns) here.

Image credits/courtesy of Sunita.


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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Ajrakh block printing, a phrase that strikes a thrill in every textile lover’s heart! The word Ajrakh has many meanings and derivations, including derived from the word for ‘blue’ or ‘indigo’ in Arabic, and the phrase ‘aj-rakh’, or ‘keep it today’. This form of block printing is a complex, multistep process that traditionally involves natural, environment-friendly dyes. Josephine Nirmala of Sanskara Designs, and the folks at The Far East Art Studio have organized an exhibition by a National Award-winning Ajrakh artist from Kutch, Abdulrauf Khatri at The Nehru Center, the cultural wing of the High Commission of India in London.

Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea

Ajrakh is an extremely complex and time consuming process of hand block printing using natural indigo and other natural dyes on cotton and silk textiles.  Shri Abdul Rauf Khatri was born in Dhamadka , Kachch and trained in Ajrakh under his father Shri Abdul Razak Mohammad Bhai Siddik Bhai Khatri a renowned National Award winner of 1998. The Bhuj earthquake of 2001 completely destroyed the village of Dhamadka thereby forcing the Khatris to relocate to a place which was then called Ajrakhpur after the craft itself. Today the very traditional Ajrakh hand block printing faces a tough competition from other modern, quicker methods of printing using bright chemical dyes. Showcasing this traditional environment friendly ancient craft of Ajrakh to an international audience would a great encouragement and support to young artists like Shri Abdul Rauf Khatri to continue to practice traditional textile techniques which are India’s pride. He won the National award in 2009.” Here are the details and link to the Facebook page of the event.

Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea

The organizers hope to establish a tradition of showcasing many other artists to their London audience. Do I want to go? You bet!! If you are in London the weekend of March 14th, please stop by, and let yourself be pulled in by this amazing tradition, and see a master artist at work! You will fall in love with this art form, and it needs your support for its continued growth. – Priya

All images are courtesy of Sanskara Designs.


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!


 

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Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea

Today’s home tour takes us to India’s capital city, New Delhi. The home belongs to Jasleen Singh and her family. Jasleen runs The Ketli Design Studio where she offers professional interior design and styling services. How do I describe this gorgeous home?! It’s a fabulous blend of well-edited, contemporary style, with a hint of colonial elegance, and a dash of boho adventure. Jasleen makes it look effortless, but it definitely requires a keen eye and an innate sense of style. Clean lines and no-fuss furniture add to the graciousness of the space. The color palette is mostly neutrals, and the entire mix is enlivened by pops of color in the pillows, the art, and other accessories. In fact, my new favorite color is grey! Read Jasleen’s story below, and enjoy the gorgeous pictures! – Priya


My Delhi Apartment

“I was thrilled when Priya of Collectivitea reached out to me for a feature on my home. That’s one of the blogs I visit for doses of design inspiration from interesting home tours with an Indian touch. She asked me to tell her readers  a little bit about myself. So, here goes…

Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/CollectiviteaI have a background in writing and editing, and worked for over 20 years with a publishing house. However, a couple of years ago, the magazine I edited was shut down because of lack of advertising support. It was then that I turned to interior design.

Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea

My interest in interior design is not new. I have always been interested in living spaces and how those living in these spaces treat them. I have a small apartment in New Delhi which I share with my husband and two teenaged boys, and it is my constant endeavour to keep clutter at bay and create a space my family and I can relate to as well as one that is inviting and beautiful and cohesive – a home one wants to come back to. The words I frequently use when describing my home are earthy, rooted to an Indian essence yet contemporary.Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea

I put my editing skills to good use in my home. Frequently editing the space, removing clutter and keeping things organised is part and parcel of living in a small city apartment. Space is at a premium and so removing things one no longer needs is a frequent exercise. However, that’s not to say that I am a minimalist. Far from it, in fact! I lean towards maximalism. It’s rooted in my very Indian design sense.Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea I always start with a neutral colour palette, mostly grey (my favourite colour), but then shades of red, rust and coral always find their way in. Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/CollectiviteaDelhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea I use stone pottery, plants, posters, and Indian textiles to enhance our home. My husband and boys also frequently contribute with DIY projects. Their interests and favourite objects are also reflected in our home.

Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/CollectiviteaDelhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea

Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea

This love for interiors has now become my profession. I have been styling homes for other people for a while. And I share my love for styling spaces on my Instagram page The Ketli Design Studio.” – Jasleen Singh

Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea

Delhi Apartment Tour/ Ketli Design Studio/Collectivitea

Images are courtesy of The Ketli Design Studio and are taken by Nihal Luthra.


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

 

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Hello Monday! Our Storyteller series is gathering steam, and I am excited to share with you the creative journey of Mumbai, India based architect, Dipa Desai. There are many advantages to the internet such as  ready access to news and information. But the views and information presented is often one-dimensional. For example, we all love pretty pictures, but we would also love to hear the stories behind them – who made it, why, and what was the process? Did they wish they had done something differently? Was it easy? How did they get to where they are?  In a creative professional endeavor such as product styling, an art commission, architecture, or interior design, the artist often has to prioritize the client’s ideas over their own. I have always been curious about how they balance their input with that of the clients to produce work that is harmonious, and does justice to both sides. Today, Dipa Desai (pictured below) tells us of her journey, and it’s fascinating to hear the creative professional’s side of the story. I have added pictures of Dipa’s home here as an example of her beautiful work, and I have the complete home tour in the second part of this post. Stay tuned! – Priya


Dipa Desai/ Storyteller/Collectivitea

“I am Dipa Sheth Desai, and I am 48 years old (not feeling the age yet). Mumbai is my home town. I grew up in a Gujarati home. The creative gene comes from my mother, who taught me to hear birds, recognize the flowers, different smells, understanding nature’s color wheel, and so much more. She is an expert embroiderer. I have collected a lot of her work and I will frame them one day. But I am, and will always remain, my father’s daughter. He was an extremely suave, elegant, sophisticated, well-read man, and a successful businessman. He had the natural ability to draw people to him. He exposed me to the life of luxurious things, places… He lived more than a lifetime in his short lifespan of 49 years. I am what I am, only because of him.

My memories of childhood are all about drawing, painting, and anything creative. I was a good student who would finish school work fast to escape to my world of drawings and paintings. So, when the choice came to choose undergraduate study, it was naturally the Fine Arts. My father, the businessman, thought otherwise. He wanted me to pursue architecture which would combine creativity with the sciences. A choice that I don’t regret at all.

I married when I was 25, and took a sabbatical when my son, Dev, was born. We shifted many cities thanks to my husband Ketan’s jobs with multinational organizations. It was a brilliant phase of discovering new places, cultures, arts, crafts and meeting creative people. It was a time for self-discovery. After 9 years, returning to Mumbai led me back to resume my practice. I am always thankful for the opportunities that have kept coming my way.”

Dipa Desai/ Storyteller/Collectivitea

 

My work:

“My first job when I graduated, had led me to an architecture firm. 4 months of boring working drawings and zero creativity, saw me walking out one evening, and to never going back to that kind of practice. My second job with a lady architect, practicing interior architecture, led me to my calling. A year, and one more job later, hating the 9 to 6 routine, I started my own practice. A crazy friend of mine trusted me (I was only 23 yrs old) to design 3 huge bungalows, for his family, with a large budget. That put me on a path of designing luxury homes, ever since.”Dipa Desai/ Storyteller/Collectivitea

“I have designed numerous homes, some offices, and met wonderful people as clients along the way. I set up a home office which allowed me to prioritize my family and work. As the work grew, I sought out talented women who worked from their homes because of young kids to share my workload. This model of lower fixed costs gave me the luxury of choosing the kind of work that I would love to do, and left me with enough time to explore my creative interests. Consequently, we started investing in art, and continue to enjoy it. With my experience of having designed several homes, we started buying apartments as an investment which I would redesign to a completely new level.”

Dipa Desai/ Storyteller/Collectivitea

My Challenges:

“I am known as an architect who designs contemporary, modern homes. When I get a chance to design a home, most of my clients keep showing me images of interiors on an international website or in an international magazine. “This is what we want”, they say. I ask them if they have a story to tell, memories to share, memorabilia to display that will make their home, a living memory of their lives. Often, I get blank stares. I tell them, yes, we can do this, but can we also incorporate our Indian arts, crafts, culture alongside, that which has been an integral part of their growing up??

I say to them, I promise to give our arts a modern twist so that they can blend well with the contemporary look. Often I get told that we grew up with that look in our homes but now we want a modern, affluent looking home without it seeming like an Indian ethnic house. At the most, Indian art comes into their Pooja ghars and mandirs (altars). This ends up making me feel like “A Reluctant Architect”. Thankfully, a few of my clients are willing to experiment on my suggestions. And that’s when I face my biggest challenges and the excitement of sourcing Indian art in a modern context.

When I visit handicraft shows, fairs, exhibitions, I feel that our arts and crafts have stayed back in time. We are still mostly, showing imageries of gods and goddesses, and village scenes, and most of our artisans are struggling to survive. Alongside the prevalent styles, we should also have designs relevant to modern times. Our arts and crafts should go beyond being just a painting, a statue, displaying vintage pots and pans and brass items, etc. We need to do more. India has progressed and our arts need to evolve too. I used to hear the phrase ‘ABCD’, which stood for “American Born Confused Desis.” I think, we need a new one. ‘IBCD’, “Indian Born Confused Desis “:). I love our Indian art and crafts but I want it to also evolve and be relevant with the changing times, and fuse with the modern decors, without losing its unique identity. I want a choice for both styles. Indian ethnic style and a Modern Indian style. Why can’t Kalamkari, Bidri, Madhubani, Gondart, etc. have modern interpretations too??” – Dipa Desai

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Storyteller post which features a tour of Dipa’s home. Update: Home tour is here.

All images are courtesy of Dipa Desai


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com.

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Hello! I hope you are enjoying your weekend (and it’s a long weekend for some)! I am here with the latest edition of the Storyteller series on Collectivitea. With every story in this series, my goal is to get to know, and share with you the journey of people who I think of as ‘creative powerhouses’. They are not just creatively inclined in that they are an artist or in a field that we typically think of as creative (art, craft, music, etc.), but the creativity spills over into every aspect of their life. From the way they see beauty in day to day life. In how they are driven to, and persevere in the expression of their creativity. And how they handle life’s blessings and challenges.  Today’s storyteller is Jayashree Rao, a Chicago area-based artist, teacher, all-round creative, and creative entrepreneur. She shares with us her fascinating journey from From Microprocessors to Mannequins to Madhubani.  When I got the interview answers and photographs back from Jayashree, I was reminded of the quote, how you do anything is how you do everything. In Jayashree’s case, it is with joy and exuberance; with style and panache. With dedication, and an exquisite eye for, and attention to detail. Read Jayashree’s story in her own words. -Priya


Jayashree Rao/ Storyteller/Collectivitea       My Journey – From Microprocessors to Mannequins to Madhubani. 

THE PARADIGM SHIFT

“I am Jayashree Rao, teacher and founder at Ethnic India, an art endeavor that focuses on the traditional folk art form of Bihar, India, called MADHUBANI. I hail from Mangalore, a coastal town in Karnataka, India, whose blue skies, sugary beaches and turquoise waters have always fascinated my appreciation for colors and textures. Home decor, fashion and art have been my passion from a very young age. Despite my artistic inclination, I decided to study engineering in Electronics and Telecommunication and after successfully completing my engineering degree, I worked for a couple of years in the engineering field only to realize that I wasn’t too happy with my job and wasn’t enjoying it as much. After much introspection, I decided to take the bold step of following my heart and quitting my engineering job to pursue fashion. Convincing my conservative parents wasn’t easy. But they finally gave in, and in 1994, I packed my bags to travel to Bangalore to study fashion. The paradigm shift happened right there.  A degree in fashion designing and a rigorous training in visual merchandising was followed by marriage, and I moved to Chicago in 1997.  My first job was with AnnTaylor — a women’s specialty apparel retail chain here in the U.S — and I was exposed to several aspects of the Western fashion world. After working for many years for AnnTaylor, I decided to quit my job in the year 2007 to start a family. This was when Madhubani art entered my life, and there has been no looking back ever since. Currently, I reside in the suburbs of Chicago and have been learning and teaching this traditional Indian folk art to both adults and children and have conducted many workshops.”

Madhubani:Pooja Hari:Jayashree Rao

  A sacred force – A creative power – A feminine Shakthi – “Shri Shakthi“, by Jayashree’s student Pooja Hari.

A DECADE OF MADHUBANI

Right after quitting my job in 2007, I had moved into my new house and there was a creative lull in my life during this time. It was around this time that I discovered a new passion for Madhubani. Bright colors, imperfect motifs, paintings of gods and goddesses with mythological stories behind them attracted me to this particular form of art and before I knew, I was in love with it. The big blank walls of my new home became my canvas and the strokes of my brush brought life to the blank walls.  Around the same time, I happened to meet a wonderful lady named Bhagya Nagesh, who is also the founder of “Bollywood Rythyms Dance and Art studio” in Chicago. Impressed by my wall murals and my penchant for art, during one of our dinner get togethers she asked if I would consider teaching Madhubani art at her studio to her young students. My instant reaction was “NO” as I am a self taught artist and I had no prior experience in teaching. She asked me to give it a thought and get back to her. It took me a week or so to decide, and finally I made up my mind to give it a try and go ahead with the idea of teaching this traditional Indian art to young kids.

Year 2017 celebrates the successful completion of 10 years of Madhubani and my journey from microprocessors to mannequins to Madhubani has been quite an incredible one.  Today, I take pride in the fact that many young kids and adults have learnt this art from me. Though I am aware of and appreciate other folk art forms of India, I haven’t deviated from Madhubani just for the reason that I can totally relate to the boldness and the colorful imperfections this art portrays. I cherish the moments when I narrate mythological stories behind this folk art to my little students  with pride and joy. With humility and gratitude, I must say that I am blessed to have a powerful medium like Madhubani in my life through which I can make a difference. Today I have a reason to smile because I have found my calling!

Madhubani:Jayashree Rao & Students:Collectivitea                With students (from left to right) Madhu Prakash, Ria Dhar, Saavi Krishnan and Apsara Attavane.

 

Jayashree Rao:Collectivitea In a vintage Sabyasachi jute saree with a woven Taj Mahal on the border and a Bagru print blouse by the designer.

Jayashree Rao:Collectivitea

The talented and dedicated future stars of Madhubani, diligently understanding, and planning their work

Jayashree Rao:Collectivitea                                                            The wind beneath my wings – my students!

LOVE ACTUALLY

Who would have thought that something that started off as a hobby in 2007, would keep me completely engrossed and change my life in such a positive way. Madhubani has given me love and a tremendous amount of creative balance in the last 10 years. Many of my students who started off with me a decade ago are still learning this art from me and growing along with me artistically. We stand tall absorbing the nuances and the fine details of this intricate art, and today when I look back, I am what I am, solely because of their love, support and their tremendous faith in me. The bonding we share is LOVE – actually!

Megan Kamath/ Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea

Madhubani artwork by student Megan Kamath.

Megan Kamath/ Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaTaking a minute to admire each others personal style, with student Megan Kamath.

(I am wearing a Sabyasachi flecther ( jute and cotton combination) sari, an ombre blouse with potli buttons and a hand embroidered head band from the designer.)

 

Megan Kamath/ Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea“Jala Kanya” – Megan worked on this 9ft x 6ft tall piece for almost an year with utmost passion and dedication.

Megan Kamath/ Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaMegan, who is a fine arts student and currently learning graphic art from Benedictine University, Lisle, has been a part of my decade long journey.

ABOUT MADHUBANI

Madhubani art, also known as Mithila art is a form of Indian folk art. Madhubani comes from a village by the same name, meaning forests of honey. It is believed that Madhubani paintings originated during the time of Lord Rama and his wife Sita. These paintings were traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls. Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The sun, the moon and the religious plants like Tulsi are also widely painted along with birds, flowers and other geometrical designs.

Jayashree Rao:CollectiviteaA collage of Madhubani art work of my students over the years.

TRIUMPHS vs CHALLENGES

“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Would I consider myself a creative entrepreneur? Absolutely! Loving something dearly is one thing, but believing in it and continuing to pursue it, is passion. I have always maintained that I love all things Indian, and I am happy that I stuck to my belief and continued to make and teach this beautiful Indian art.  Madhubani happened to me by accident, but the love for this art has grown stronger everyday to a point where I have completely surrendered myself to this art now. The wall murals painted in my house was my first tryst with Madhubani but once I decided to teach this art form, there was no looking back. I completely stuck to this art form by understanding and learning its fine details . Over the years, as I started gathering more knowledge about this art, though I did try to get a little innovative by adding my own touch, I didn’t deviate from the basic rules and essence of Madhubani.

Well, there are challenges in every walk of life and art is no different. But I consider myself lucky because in my case the triumphs have outnumbered the challenges. There are many students who have learnt from me for a while and have moved on but there are also students who have been with me throughout this artistic journey and are still learning and growing with me.

 

Jayashree Rao:Collectivitea

My Madhubani wall mural at the studio.

Jayashree Rao:CollectiviteaSeen here in a cotton voile Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi sari, and intricately hand embroidered backless blouse by the designer.

 

Jayashree Rao:CollectiviteaMy crazy bunch – their love for me and the art keeps me going! Pictured here with students, from L to R, Tanisha Dogra, Dia Saini, Shweta Subramanian, Bianca Dharamshi and Samhita Subramanian.

 

Jayashree Rao:Collectivitea

A moment of pride and joy as I stand here, teaching this traditional art to my students.

 

NEVER SAY NEVER

People often ask me – how long does it take to learn this art?, to which, my answer is – “the saga between the art and the artist is an ongoing one and one should continue to create art because the best is yet to come”. My advice to everyone who wants to learn something new in their life is – Never say never, go for it with 100% conviction and make it happen!

FASHION AND ART

 

Jayashree Rao:CollectiviteaWith my fashion guru Sabyasachi on his birthday – treating him to his favorite dessert – Tiramisu!

If art washes away from my soul the dust of everyday life, fashion completes me as a person. To me, fashion and art are the two sides of the same coin and I see a deep creative connection between the two.  As a kid, I was fascinated to see my mother, dress up to go to work in her “Garden Vareli” and “Only Vimal” chiffon and georgette crepe saris. The ease with which she draped her saris, her choice of colors and textiles made a huge impact on me. Today, I can attribute my love for saris and colors to her as she was my true fashion inspiration during my growing up years.

I feel that one cannot buy style, as it’s very innate. Having studied fashion and having a fairly good understanding of the fabrics, cut and color – my personal style is very edgy and unconventional. Again, I don’t follow the rules, instead I follow my heart. I like earthy handwovens in natural fabrics (sans any bling or glitter) and I love wearing clothes by many Indian designers, who share similar aesthetics like mine.

I am a huge Sabyasachi fan and proud to own his stuff from the time when he had just started, to the recent years. He is one Indian designer who was largely responsible in bringing back the sari to modern India in a major way. He drew inspiration from India and gave it back to Indians in a beautiful package.  Apart from him, I love the works of many other Indian designers like Anamika Khanna, Payal Khandwala, Pero, Rimzim Dadu and Kallol Dutta, to name a few. With Western designers I admire the works of Jason Wu, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana.” – Jayashree Rao

Coming soon, a tour of Jayashree Rao’s Chicago area home. Stay tuned!

All images are courtesy of Jayashree Rao/Sage & Slingback.


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Pooja Kaul/ Border & Fall/ Collectivitea

It’s another edition of Textile Tuesday and today’s post is about Border and Fall, an independent website chronicling the happenings in India’s craft and fashion community. Among other things, they feature interviews with style mavens and thought leaders, as well as providing a platform for an ongoing conversation on Indian style and culture. They are a site for fascinating stories, as well as an excellent reference resource. Recently, they launched a crowdfunding venture to create short films featuring 84 how-to’s on draping a sari in different styles. This fantastic project collaborates with three prominent filmmakers – Bon Duke (NY based), Pooja Kaul and Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee) – each of whom will create a film on the sari’s cultural and other importance.  

The Sari/ Border & Fall/ Collectivitea

Apart from the obvious cultural and historical significance of this project for us as a population,  from a personal standpoint, it is of immense value to me. The only Indian attire I wear is the sari. It’s a timeless classic and I wear it often. I’ve made it part of my signature style statement.  Sure, most people know that there is more than 1 way to drape it, but did you know there were so many? And that no anthology exists on film nor is there a comprehensive how-to on draping different styles? From what I understand, it will trace an evolution of sorts, and document both traditional and contemporary styles, the different iterations of one garment and it’s relevance to current and future generations. There is no bigger privilege and responsibility than to be both the custodians, and creators of history. The sari is both a regional and global icon, let’s give it the support it deserves! You can read more about their Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make these films and provide an invaluable resource for all of us, here.

malika-verma-kashyap

The Sari team includes Border and Fall founder Malika V. Kashyap (pictured above), Rta Kapur Chisti (seen below), a leading authority on the sari and a textile scholar, writer and director, Pooja Kaul and filmmakers Bon Duke and Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee).

Rta Kapur Chisti/Border & Fall

You can visit Border and Fall here and show your support to their Kickstarter campaign here. Pledge ( I just did!) , spread the word and let’s make this happen! Plus, the Kickstarter rewards are an incentive by themselves!- Priya

q-still-the-sari/ Border&Fall

Images courtesy of Border & Fall. Credits: 1) Pooja Kaul, a still from her film Rasikan Re; 2) The Sari campaign image by Manuja Singh Waldia; 3) and 4) Courtesy of Border&Fall and 5) A Still from The Sari by Q.

 


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One of the foremost pleasures of running Collectivitea is the chance to meet one creative individual after another. It’s fascinating to hear their story and I feel privileged to, in turn, share it with all of you. This latest post is about a painting called The Song of Kalindi. Kalindi is a river in northern India; its more popularly known as the Yamuna. The Song Of Kalindi is a painting by Seattle artist Deepti Agrawal Mittal, that is based on a poem by Raji Ram. The poem goes like this…

the-song-of-kalindi-raji-ramcollectivitea

Deepti visually interpreted the poem as a painting on a 16×40″ canvas and she takes you on a picture-walk of different sections of the artwork.

The Song Of Kalindi/Deepti Designs/Collectivitea

“The Song of Kalindi” is an intricate and multi-layered rendition of a beautiful poem by a dear friend, Raji Ram. The poem is about Kalindi’s (aka Yamuna) yearning for her God to return to Vraj – translated into a painting. It’s been over a month since the unveiling of the completed work and as I understand now, the painting is visually appealing but not easily comprehensible. Hence, I present a quad-sectional ‘Picture Walk’ to decrypt the thoughts that helped create this poetry on canvas.

Section 1

In the painting, Kalindi is personified as a woman looking for her long lost love. From her anchal, flows the bright blue river, vibrant with floral life. The text of the poem has been subtly put down in the folds of the river, to symbolize the extent of Kalindi’s pining that spreads across the universe unchecked. The vibrant green background is indicative of the vivid moors and landscapes that she flows through. Green swirls show the dreams and anxiety that Kalindi carries along in her journey to find Krishna.

The Song Of Kalindi/Deepti Designs/Collectivitea

The orange and green tributaries bubble with musical notes, as they flow across the dimensions of time and place, relentlessly looking for their Lord.

Section 2

The Song Of Kalindi/Deepti Designs/Collectivitea

The second section of the canvas focuses on the poem’s second stanza: Gopikas dancing under the moonlight. The blue/purple background depicts the night sequence, flanked by the dotilism mandala on top, alluding to the moon in full bloom. The chandani of the moon splashes itself into a silver carpet for the gopis to dance on. The gopis are shown in three different classical and folk dance styles – Kathak, Raas/dandiya, Bharatnatyam.

Section 3

The Song Of Kalindi/Deepti Designs/Collectivitea

 

The next section showcases Meerabai and Janabai, two pious devotees of Krishna from modern times. In the yellow-orange segment, the checks on the left most corner represent the flooring on which these devotees seated themselves while singing. This is different from the silver light carpet on which the gopis danced in the previous section, because of the opposite patterning.

The checked floor appears only in the background because the songs are said to have often transported the devotees into a floating trance, uplifting the spirit towards heaven. The bright shades of orange and yellow along with flowers in full bloom, present this ecstatic devotional state.

Section 4

The Song Of Kalindi/Deepti Designs/Collectivitea

The final section showcases the ultimate God in all his glory. Neel-Madhav (Krishna) in peetambar (yellow clothes), a vibrant cape on his back with moar-pankh (peacock-feather) in his mukut (crown), is surrounded by his favorite cowherd. Little birds perch on his flute, engrossed in the enchanting music he plays. The musical notes coming out of his flute, are depicted as bubbles, similar to the ones, that run through the tributaries. This poetic depiction alludes to the fact that the divine music is omnipresent and is carried through the waters of Yamuna across the land.” – Deepti Agrawal Mittal

 

The Song Of Kalindi/Deepti Designs/Collectivitea

What an enchanting painting! One that celebrates creativity-  the poet’s written words, the visual artist, music and dance. It celebrates the myriad ways we express ourselves, and the beauty of the process. Aside from the beautiful story on which the painting is based, I also feel like the river and the surrounding scenes captures the feeling of being immersed, lost and in absolute thrall of creativity. Thank you, Raji and Deepti, for sharing your collaborative process! You can visit Deepti’s page here. – Priya

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Good morning from a sunny California! I know you are waiting eagerly for part 2 of Seethu’s colonial chic apartment and here it is (part 1 is here). Note the neutral palette and minimalist elegance, but also the personal touches that turn a house into a home! One of my favorite things about this home is how there is a sense of continuity throughout and one room effortlessly flows into the other! Enjoy!


Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time

Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time

Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time

Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time

Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time

(Fond memories of drinking from these marble, soda bottles!)

Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time
Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea TimeHome Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time
Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time
Home Tour/ Seethu's Colonial Chic Apartment/Once Upon A Tea Time

 

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One of the best things about running Collectivitea is getting to know creatives doing wonderful work, and today, I want to share the story behind Soda + Stitch, a block printing organization that is based out of Australia and India. Block printing is one of those processes that captures the imagination, and once you get to know it, it’s very hard to not fall in love. Soda + Stitch is the result of Jemma Bell’s love for block printing but that’s not the only love story!

Jemma Bell/ Soda And Stitch

Collectivitea: I would love to hear about Soda + Stitch- what prompted you to start it and how long have you been running it? Why textiles? And why block prints? I am obsessed with block printing but each one comes to love it for different reasons.

JB: “It’s a bit of an unusual story, which starts with a hot air balloon flight that really changed everything! Every year, my sister and I would travel to India, mainly Jaipur, for our annual buying trip for her homewares brand, Sage x Clare – at the time, I was living in London and Europe, so it was also a great way for us to catch up. On our last trip together, about two and half years ago, I managed to convince her that we should take a hot air balloon flight, and through that I met the man who runs the company, a fellow Aussie called Paul. Paul and I instantly got along well and we decided to keep in touch after I left India. It wasn’t long until he was in London for a quick visit, and during that visit, he asked me to move to Jaipur… So I said yes!”

Jemma Bell/ Soda And Stitch

“My background was in textiles and I’d been working as a graphic and textile designer for quite a while, so it seemed like a natural progression that I should start my own textile brand once I landed and settled in Jaipur. Soda + Stitch was born about 6 months after I first arrived and it has now been up and running for just under 18 months. Soda + Stitch has a few different facets to the business – it has textiles that sell by the meter through the website and through agents in Australia and the US, all hand block printed of course. There is also a range of textiles for children such as bedding, cot sheets and cushions. And lastly, Soda + Stitch can be “hired” for textile and graphic design, as well as sampling and production – acting as an agent, Soda + Stitch help other small brands and businesses create their own textile dreams.

Jemma Bell/ Soda And Stitch

Block printing has always fascinated me – I studied screen printing at university in Australia and loved that process – but there’s something about block printing that is so beautiful. The nuances of printing in this way are the perfect celebration of the handmade and I’m always so amazed, and maybe a little envious, of the skills of everyone involved – carvers, colour mixers and printers. There is something very magical about seeing a block print evolve!”

Jemma Bell/ Soda And Stitch

Collectivitea: Would you consider yourself a creative entrepreneur? 

JB: “I’m not sure if I’m an entrepreneur, but I do love exploring new creative outlets and ways of designing and making! I also love to try things and part of living in India is having the opportunity to do that. Soda + Stitch would be an entirely different business if I was still living in Australia or the UK! India gives me the freedom and possibilities to discover printing techniques and all sorts of different hand work. Whilst Soda + Stitch wasn’t really started in the hopes of making millions, it was started with the thought of exploring India’s amazing hand skills. I really wanted to bring those handmade industries to a marketplace, such as Australia, where the traditional and artisanal skills just don’t exist.”

Jemma Bell/ Soda And StitchCollectivitea: Tell us about some of the challenges and triumphs that you have faced in your journey.

JB: “The biggest challenge is getting your name out there and making it known and accessible to customers. The product development and design is so much fun, but at the end of the day, it’s only worth it if you can break into a marketplace and find people who also love your products! The greatest triumph is actually finding those people! Or having those customers find you! There’s nothing nicer than getting a great review from a happy customer!”

Jemma Bell/ Soda And Stitch

Collectivitea: What is your favorite part of it? What’s the one thing you would change?

JB: “My favorite part is definitely the development of the brand – from creating or designing the branding, logo and website through to developing new prints and products. This side of it definitely addictive! I also love coming up with new print and pattern ideas and seeing them develop into block printed fabric – the process is also super addictive! And very rewarding. The one thing I would change is the fact that I work alone the majority of the time. Being a small business, I’m the creative director right through to the courier, and sometimes I miss working in a team of people. Being your own boss has a lot of positives, but it does mean all the decision making is on you! It would be nice to occasionally get the opinion of someone else – I’m pretty sure Paul, my partner, gets sick of me asking which yellow looks best or what fabric would suit better!!

Jemma Bell/ Soda And Stitch

Collectivitea:  The one advice you would give someone who is starting on this path?

JB: “Be in love with what you’re making/producing/designing/selling! If you don’t have the passion, it will be hard for other people to get excited about it too. Think about your strengths and play to them – and get help in the areas that you’re not super strong in. But most importantly, have fun!”

Thank you for sharing your story, Jemma! Visit Soda+Stitch at their website here and I promise, you are going to love the whimsical prints and patterns!

Image credits: All images courtesy of Jemma Bell/ Soda+Stitch

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Limon Design/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Aradhana Anand runs new Delhi, India-based limón design studio dedicated to handcrafted furniture that is upholstered with traditional and contemporary textiles. It’s great to see the stately wingback upholstered in classic paisleys or a slipper chair in a striking ikat. It’s a match made in textile heaven and you wonder why we don’t see more of the pairing of classical furniture outlines with equally classical Eastern textiles. Think of it as the chair and the textile reimagined for modern times but retaining the romance of the tradition. I chatted with Aradhana for ouatt magazine (link to our audio over-a-cup-of-tea chat) late last year and have been waiting to see the physical studio space that Limon is going to be based at. It was bound to be gorgeous and welcoming, and serve as the perfect backdrop for their signature chairs.

Limon Design/ Once Upon A Tea Time

 

Limon Design/ Once Upon A Tea Time

 

Limon Design/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Limon Design/ Once Upon A Tea Time

The East-meets-West vibe is streamlined and elegant and reflects Aradhana’s well-traveled, citizen-of-the-world aesthetic. I have more pictures and they are in the upcoming issue of the ouatt magazine (don’t forget, there is complimentary access to all new issues for our newsletter subscribers and the latest issue comes out end of the week). You can visit limón online here and be sure to bookmark them – especially so, if you love textiles, elegant, modern interiors, East-meets-West fusion, or all of the above!

Limon Design/ Once Upon A Tea Time

The beautiful photography is by The Open Art Project and photographers Saumya Gupta and Shiva. All images are courtesy of and copyright Aradhana Anand of limón.

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Maggam Collective/ Once Upon A Tea Time

After we launched Collectivitea, social media algorithms started showing me lots of accounts/ventures that had the word ‘collective’ in them and this is one algorithm change that I am grateful for because it has led me to discover organizations doing awesome work. One of them is Maggam Collective and founder Jyothi Sista shares the story of this small Indian organization that is doing its part towards the preservation of hand-loom textiles. I just have one thing to add- I am from India, and have always felt that it’s easy to take textile-related traditions, talents and practices for granted because of the overwhelming variety and ability that one sees from a very early age. From the woman who sews and embroiders and runs a small business from her house, to the corner tailor, the cooperative handloom and weaving communities, to automated mills- there is so much abundance that one is spoilt for choice and sometimes, we become inured to how special these traditions and practices are. It’s wonderful to see the resurgence of interest, appreciation and support for them within the larger society.

Maggam Collective/ Once Upon A Tea Time

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” So am I – greater than the total of what went into making me, done to me. I am not an archaic, outdated relic of the past, but am an adaptable, weaving technology of the future with a low-carbon footprint. Ikats, Dakai, Mangalgiri, Tussar, Kosa, Chanderi, Maheshwari, Sambalpuri, Chettinads are some of my forms. I am durable, breathable and pretty too! I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t wear me. “

Maggam Collective/ Once Upon A Tea Time

“I am Jyothi, a retired teacher with an undying passion for hand looms (and handmade goods in general)- not only are they ethically made, sustainable and versatile, but also are a great way to support artisans anywhere since it requires a bit of awareness and empathy towards the makers.I have been wearing hand looms for decades now, and my daughters, unsurprisingly, followed suit.  It is probably the most agreed idea at home! Instagram and social media are new to me. But when I started browsing Instagram first a few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the steadily growing love for hand looms (and saris!). Decades of donning hand looms have given me the opportunity to meet scores of weavers and women’s cooperatives. While it is a pleasure to watch them weave and work, I have always felt that their work deserved a wider audience. It is no secret that most artisans are debt-ridden. While that situation is improving, I didn’t see a reason for them to be excluded from the fast-saturating, online shopping space, through transparent pricing. After all, one of the ideas of commerce is economic development, isn’t it? While my humble venture is currently about niche hand looms that are timeless, the Social Studies teacher in me looks at it as a teeny contribution to the weaving society.”

Maggam Collective/ Once Upon A Tea Time

You can find Maggam Collective on Instagram and shop their collection of saris and other textiles. And yes, they ship worldwide!

Maggam Collective/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Maggam Collective/ Once Upon A Tea Time

All images are courtesy of Maggam Collective and are taken by Ankitha Sista.

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IDAM/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Happy Holi ! To celebrate the colorful festival that marks spring, the creatives  at IDAM, a print and surface design studio that specializes in contemporary lifestyle products, are giving away 2 gorgeous pillows from their latest collection: Summer Haze.  IDAM (which means ‘in the present’) offers a variety of textile designs such as tie and dye techniques, florals and hand illustrated prints and patterns. The Summer Haze collection is inspired by the splashes of color that mark Holi celebrations. Those color splashes that you see on the pillows are hand-embroidered, abstract forms and I find that so cool! This is what the team has to say about this latest collection, “Ever had the urge to just hold the paint filled brushes and splatter all across your wall? No? Well, we did. Feeling the Holi craze and wanting to colour burst the world, we decided to celebrate the festival of Holi in our own unique way. We may have restrained ourselves from wrecking our freshly painted walls, but we took to some huge white chart papers and had the best time ever. Here, have a look at how we celebrated Holi and brought Summer Haze to life in the form of embroidered art.”- Team IDAM

IDAM/ Once Upon A Tea Time

They are giving away a pair of pillows today to one lucky winner and all you need to do is visit their website and come back and tell us your favorite pattern. Bookmark IDAM because their style is über-chic and defies conventional labeling. The giveaway runs until the end of the week and is open to shipping addresses within India. Have a wonderful day!

Image credits/ copyright: IDAM

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HippieSole/ The Sole Sisters/ Once Upon A Tea Time

You may be familiar with The Sole Sisters, a community that celebrates women’s love for their shoes as well as an eponymous company that creates gorgeous footwear. Chondamma Cariappa started The Sole Sisters blog in 2011 and shared the pictures she received from women all over the world- pictures of the different footwear they were wearing. The blog led to a shoe company in 2014 and now, The Sole Sisters products are stocked in stores around the world, from New York to South Korea. They combine traditional Indian textiles (such as ikats or the khadi) and footwear styles with a contemporary vibe that looks good no matter where you are in the world. 
WickerKolaps/ The Sole Sisters/ Once Upon A Tea Time

 The Sole Sisters/ Once Upon A Tea Time

I wanted to share a picture of their studio because it looks so cool and comfortable and just the kind of place to lay back and let the creative ideas come to you! Watch out for The Sole Sisters website due to be up soon.TheSoleSisters/Once Upon A Tea Time

Image courtesy of The Sole Sisters.

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These have just been added and if you (like me????) are a huge fan of vintage tapestries, then you should totally head on over to new store Kari By Kriti. Kriti has vintage, Banjara yokes listed in her store and they are on sale and  will not last long. What will you do with them? Let me count the ways…

Banjara yokes/ Kari By Kriti/ Once Upon A Tea Time

You can frame them in a large black frame which is what I would do. I’ve blogged so many times about my fascination for these – the intricate embroidery, the occasional twinkling mirror or coin, the colors, the COLORS, the amazing fingers that can do this work- I can go on. They always remind me of landscapes that we see from a plane, colors and patterns stitched together. The hours I would spend photographing this would be my relaxation for the weekend.  If that resonates with you, you probably want to buy one. They are priced at $20-25 as an introductory sale price and with shipping added are still $35-40.  If you are adept at sewing, you can make it into the front of a pillow or quilt- the possibilities are many. There are very few of these available, so head on over to Kari By Kriti here.

Banjara yokes/ Kari By Kriti/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Banjara yokes/ Kari By Kriti/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Image credits: Kari By Kriti

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The Textile Lovers Instagram/CollectiviteaI love receiving gifts that are books, and apart from fiction, books about fabrics and textiles are firm favorites! So if you know someone who loves fabrics/textiles or wants to know more about a certain type of fabric or will just enjoy looking at all the pictures of the vibrant weaves, prints and patterns that are a part of our collective history, you may want to bookmark this guide. Most of these are recent books and you may feel free to get me a copy as well!

1.) The Fabric Of India by Rosemary Crill and 2.) Textiles The Whole Story. To this, I would add Chintz, also by Rosemary Crill. Any, or all of these together, would make such a lovely gift, and not just for the holiday season. 3.) Liberty: British Colour Pattern showcases the iconic prints from the archives of the London department store. 4.) African Textiles: The Karun Thakar Collection 5.) Kalamkari Temple Hangings by Anna L. Dallapiccola: This books comes out in January 2016, otherwise it would be at the top of my list. Kalamkari paintings and prints are known for their intricacy and attention to detail and the book looks like a sumptuous feast for the eyes!


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!


 

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Diwali Decor/ Karieshma Sarnaa/Collectivitea

We have some gorgeous Diwali decor and party ideas today courtesy of New Delhi-based designer Kareishma Sarnaa who recently hosted a Diwali party for her friends. Kareishma designs clothing and accessories for women and her products retail at many high-end stores in India and abroad. Her team has participated in the Lakme Fashion Week as well and with those credentials, you know that everything at the party is going to be beautiful. “This was all done keeping the festive Diwali feel in mind. I hosted a Diwali party/ brunch for 14  friends at my place this Sunday. A few things were prepared in my workshop- like the party favour potlis (little bags), name tags with jute detailing and napkin ties.” The rest is all Karieshma’s magic! We love the layering and the mix and match of materials, prints and patterns!
Diwali Decor/ Karieshma Sarnaa/Collectivitea

Diwali Decor/ Karieshma Sarnaa/Collectivitea

Diwali Decor/ Karieshma Sarnaa/Collectivitea

Diwali Decor/ Karieshma Sarnaa/CollectiviteaYou can visit Karieshma Sarnaa at her clothing label here.


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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I know you are looking forward to the marketplace. We are working on it, and testing it and it will be here soon. It’s an online market where independent sellers can open stores and sell their products to our audience. I know so many of you are waiting, to shop as well as open your own store, and you should be able to do so soon. Stay tuned for further updates! In all that excitement, plus that of the festive season, I couldn’t post as often as I usually do. For all those of you looking for pictures from the Navaratri 2015 season, here are some…

Navaratri 2015/Collectivitea

Navaratri 2015/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Navaratri 2015/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Navaratri 2015/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Navaratri 2015/ Once Upon A Tea Time

I have been regular on Instagram and if you’d like to follow all things Studio Collectivitea, we are here on Instagram. Wondering what Navaratri is all about? Older posts can be found here.


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!


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Divya Thomas/ Karmasuthra Jewelry/ Collectivitea

Karmasuthra Jewelry is for the bold and beautiful woman who resides in all of us. Unique, unconventional and arresting. You know, the one that whispers that you can do anything you want. Yes, you can. Just believe in yourself.  It may be hard to believe, but Divya Thomas, the designer and creator behind the popular jewelry brand didn’t always know that she was an artist. “I was never really artistically clever. And I do remember that, growing up, I never wore jewelry. If I did, it was to please my Mum. What I do know is that I have always loved colors and textures. Stepping into jewelry design was just a way for me to put together these elements in a way that is beautiful, intriguing and appealing. I find my inspiration from just about anywhere. The earth, the trees, the stones. Animals. Music.” Divya grew up in the Indian city of Bangalore with a college background in science. She moved to Raleigh, North Carolina 16 years ago as a bride and worked at Duke Hospital as a clinical analyst. “It’s the closest I have come to feeling like a doctor, something I always wanted to be. It was a dream job. I had a white coat, my own office and was thrilled when people mistook me for a doctor. But once I got into jewelry design, I had found my passion and I bid goodbye to clinical research.”  The journey into jewelry design had a serendipitous start. “One day, I was out with my daughter and I saw a store that sold beads. It looked interesting and we stepped in to take a look. I was  mesmerized. It was a sort of wonderland for me. The variety of beads in different colors, sizes, shapes and forms were  so enticing. Running my hands through the beads was when an epiphany struck.” The store was offering a class that very day and Divya signed up.  “It was a basic jewelry class where they taught simple stringing, putting beads together and crimping. But it opened up a whole new world for me and it was as if, suddenly, I had discovered something that really excited me. I would dream of designs and literally, run to my studio in the middle of the night to put it together.  Clichéd as it seems, there was simply no looking back.”

Divya Thomas/ Karmasuthra Jewelry/ Collectivitea

Karmasuthra Jewelry currently has patrons from around the world and a new design shared on social media sites may be snapped up in a matter of minutes by an enthusiastic audience. The crowning point was when the famous Indian actor, director and social activist, Nandita Das wore Karmasuthra Jewelry. “There is so much that goes into the fact that she wore my jewelry. When I started Karmasuthra, I had one face in my mind. Nandita Das. Every piece of jewelry I made, I could picture her wearing it. I find her inspiring. Earthy, beautiful, confident, passionate, fierce and with such a sense of social commitment. A strong woman. She is what Karmasuthra is all about. That’s when I say that I believe in magic. It had seemed such a lofty dream. And now it is an achievement I am truly proud of.”

Divya Thomas/ Karmasuthra Jewelry/CollectiviteaKarmasuthra Jewelry grabbed our attention because of the boldness of its designs and the unique combinations that Divya creates. “There is something that everyone who buys the jewelry tells me. That I pay the greatest attention to the smallest detail of the jewelry I make. The clasp is something always forgotten at the back of your neck. It is the part that gets the least attention. But in Karmasuthra, even that clasp is unique. It is something you would want to show off. Nothing is slighted or ignored.  I don’t necessarily go for the prettiest beads. I work with the most unlikely objects and materials and make them an object of desire, if I may say so. That is what sets Karmasuthra apart. And when a woman picks it up for her own and wears it, her strength and beauty adds to its charm.  I find beauty in imperfection and disorder. That is what drives me and that is what I try to infuse into my jewelry – the beauty in chaos. I would like to believe that when a person truly wants to own a piece of Karmasuthra, it will find its way to them.”

Divya Thomas/ Karmasuthra Jewelry/Collectivitea

Seek out your own Karmasuthra design by visiting Divya’s page on Facebook.

Divya Thomas/ Karmasuthra Jewelry/Collectivitea

Image credits: Divya Thomas’ photographs by Mithun Oorath and KSJ photography by Studio Collectivitea.


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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Sep 30

Aarohi Singh

Aarohi Singh/ Art By Aarohi/ CollectiviteaAarohi Singh is a Bengaluru, India-based artist and creative powerhouse whose work has gained a devoted following of admirers and art collectors. It’s hard to choose a single reason for the acclaim that her art draws. She is exceedingly talented. She is bold in her creations, whether it’s the choice of subjects, colors, size or complexity. She is versatile, using a variety of materials (oils, watercolors, acrylic paints and pastels) and mediums that range from the flat of the canvas, to the contours of a kettle or chair. Her art is at once pure and accessible- anyone can see the beauty and feel the power of the paintings but that does not in any way make them ordinary. Apart from large canvas artworks and a collection that involves art on everyday objects such as boxes and kettles, she is also currently launching a line of hand-painted furniture and volunteering her art skills to raise awareness on the plight of stray dogs in India. So add prolific and a willingness to experiment to her many talents! Aarohi Singh spoke to us about her introduction to art and the journey so far.

Aarohi Singh/ Art By Aarohi/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Have you always wanted to paint? Was it your first choice as an occupation or was it serendipity? 

AS: I have always been into creativity of some sort. My journey into painting began when I started painting A0 size posters of cartoon characters for my room wall. I think I was about ten years old at the time. It started out  by trying to use squares to enlarge a drawing and then I found I wanted to be able to get flat colors, just like you see in the comics with black outlines. I think my ‘kitsch’ range of work with its black outlines is a remnant of that time. And then a fantastic guide and guru, Mr. Nakul Sinha who was my art teacher for the SUPW (Socially useful, productive work) class in school, made me realize that this is what I was made for. To paint and create. I did painting as a SUPW subject in school from grades 10-12th. And since I was in boarding school at the time, Nakul sir would open the art room for me at all times of the day- holidays or not. He never ‘touched up’ any work of mine though he did so for others. I used to think he did not care. Until he told me at my first exhibition four years later – “I always saw the potential but I wanted you to develop your own voice.”  I took painting as an elective subject in 11 and 12th grade. In my board exams, I topped the country in both painting and history. I have a certificate from CBSE for being a 0.0001% topper. My Mum said you can paint anytime, so do history. Thus started my journey into finding meaning and value and into connections that find their way into my art today. I did my graduation and post graduation in History and got top grades again. I found myself at a fork- History and IAS or something else. I did a short course in Auto CAD for the fun of it and then joined a company as a content writer. From there I went on to do Information architecture and Interaction design. While I was good at my job and did well, my heart was not in it. I continued to paint on the side. And I was lucky that my work sold from home and by word of mouth alone.  After marriage and two kids, I was at a point as a stay at home mum that if I did not do something productive I would have killed myself. I went back to my first love, painting. Full time or as full-time as two young children would allow! That is when the painting on small objects like kettles and boxes started, as a sort of way to give voice to my thoughts without an all-consuming methodology of large format oils or acrylics. But art needs to be shared. No one lives in a vacuum and I wanted to know if what I think, say and feel is also felt by others. A near, sold-out exhibition in 2008 of the ‘Kitsch’ range changed my life. I have been painting ‘full-time’ since then.

Aarohi Singh/ Art By Aarohi/ Once Upon A Tea Time

What fascinates you about painting?  

AS: The tactile feel of the canvas/support and the paint. And yes, the colors too. Colors convey so much more than the obvious. I find the process of trying to control how the paint flows on the support both frustrating and liberating. To me, it is amazing that any artist can position seemingly random lines and splashes on a flat surface and create something that is almost alive. I know what I want to create most times and sometimes magic happens – the feeling I want to express is on the paper without conscious thought. Somehow physically touching the paint lends itself to a kind of ceremony vs.fingers dancing across a screen with a stylus. It would be sterile and lifeless. On the computer screen, the work looks finished even when you know it isn’t. By hand I have the remnants of that work for days.. paint under my finger nails, skin slightly dry from over washing or thinner. I love it. I feel more connected to my art. Everything inspires me. Thoughts, ideas, people, places. To me, what I create is about connections. Connections of ‘Me’ to that ‘something’ or ‘someone’ else. In fact so often I find that I am pushing my own limits to see in how many ways I can express a feeling or thought. And across how many different supports or materials. In a way, it is an effort to nail down a nebulous thought into a more lucid form, one that challenges in terms of  use of material.

Do you have an idea and you draw an outline and then come back to it time and again, each time changing it a little till it looks the way you want it to?

AS: Most times, I have a good idea of what I want to create. But it is usually is only about 75% clear. The rest takes shape as I work. Sometimes I have worked on a canvas for months and not been able to get what I wanted and then something will click and I will paint near nonstop for 24-36 hours and the painting will be done. Some work is about conveying a mood without too much detail as happens with the pen and inks…somehow more fluid. Spontaneous. The large format canvases started in a very detailed, almost graphic format and then slowly I found myself gravitating to an inner desire to just let go. Soon I was painting with my fingers, a rag or my open palm. The brush only came in much later to add some refining points.

 What do you like painting the most?

AS: “Eyes. They are a window into the soul. More often than not, into my soul. Every canvas is more about what I felt at the time, generically, about the subject, than the subject itself. Every man I paint is a reflection of the man I love. Those eyes convey my feelings toward him. I rarely paint women. Somehow I have never really been able to. I am sure technically they would appear to show the same skill level that you see in my other work and yet, I don’t usually fall in love with those canvases. I wrote a lot for two years. Stray thoughts after reading a book, watching a movie or chatting with a friend. Sometimes after a fight with my man. And then once I started painting the big faces on canvas I just stopped writing. It all came out in the eyes…”

Aarohi has held both solo and group art shows since starting as an artist is 1989. She started painting full time in 2008 and is available for custom assignments. “I love them and hate them. They push me out of my comfort zone to try and see if I can connect with someone else artistically- to give voice to their thought/idea… I have a website called www.artbyaarohi.com and you can find me on www.facebook.com/artbyaarohi and on Instagram – www.instagram.com/artbyaarohi.”

Aarohi Singh/ Art By Aarohi/ Once Upon A Tea Time

This article first appeared in the September 2014 issue of the OUATT magazine. All images are courtesy of Aarohi Singh and are taken by Supreet Singh.


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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5 New Must-Visit Links For The Textile Lover/ Collectivitea

1.I have one last post for today’s edition of Textile Tuesday! If you remember, last week I’d shared a list of exhibitions and museums that I’d like to visit. I want to add one more interesting exhibit, the Feminist Fiber Art in Boston. Unlike the others that I had mentioned, this one is a traveling fiber art exhibit presented by the Iris Nectar Studio and part of its premise is to correct the under-representation of women artists in exhibitions and collections at many museums and to empower women. If you are in Massachusetts, go!

2. Last week, many people pointed the Calico Museum in Ahmedabad in India as a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of textiles. I am going to back to Ahmedabad for this alone. If you aren’t planning a visit anytime soon, do head over to the museum’s website  to take a virtual look at the galleries and also, the museum’s online store has some beautiful posters, among other things. If you are a block printing aficionado, there is the Anokhi Museum Of Hand Printing in Jaipur, India– they have a new site and among their current exhibitions is one on the city of Sanganer and its association with block printing as well as American Rebecca Layton’s contemporary take on this traditional art form. I’ve lived outside India for so long now (19 years) that it’s time to make a trip just to get to know its cities again.

3. I want to point to the online repository Textile Artist which showcases the work of artists along with interviews and information about their upcoming exhibits.

4. Yumiko Higuchi’s embroidery work is the stuff of legend and you have probably pinned or bookmarked her work on the internet. They are so beautiful! I can’t sew to save my life but the pictures I could take of this work…

5.Modern reimagining of traditional Guatemalan textiles at Luna*Zorro! Founder Molly Berry’s stories of life in Guatemala and of the weavers always brings on a serious case of the wanderlust. Add the beautiful textiles and you just to want to be there!

Image credits/copyright: Studio Collectivitea


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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Here’s to another edition of Textile Tuesday! And the inspiration behind today’s post is the art of woodblock printing.  It’s an homage to the wonderful tradition of block printing but also to the spirit of the creative entrepreneur.  Enjoy!

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

                Woodblock prints. I must have written hundreds of posts on them. You see them on all kinds of clothing and accessories, from traditional saris to shirts, skirts, scarves, and stoles. They are also on pillows, bedding and other fabrics for the home. Because they are everywhere, they tend to be overlooked and the craftsmanship that goes into creating them is often taken for granted. Enter Auria Bohn,  an American artist living in Florence, Italy.  Indian block-printed fabrics from the 60’s fascinated her so much  that she scanned the entire stock of vintage block printed fabrics from her online store and created digital files so that she would never be parted from the prints. It was  the beginning of an enduring love for these gorgeous fabrics and a creative business. Auria shares some (block-printed, of course) postcards from her life in Florence.

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

 

“My name is Auria Bohn and I am an American artist and jewelry designer living in Florence, Italy. I currently run an Etsy shop called Vintage Fables where I sell handmade cards, jewelry, and vintage clothing. I am also a full-time, stay – at – home mom of two spirited toddlers and a hoarder of 60’s Indian block print fabrics. I was always drawn to Italy. When I was in my mid-20s, I saved up money with my boyfriend at the time and traveled across the country from Florence to Sicily. It was an amazing trip and I remember vividly our last day when were in the Rome train station, boarding the train that would take us to the airport. I looked around and made a promise to myself that I was going to come back and live there one day. And I did. It took me almost five years to get back again, but I kept that promise to myself. I have been living abroad for thirteen years now; my husband is Italian and our two children were born here. Now I live just blocks from where I stayed on that first visit to Florence years ago.”Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

“…My background is a bit all over the place. I have a degree in Anthropology but also studied fashion design and metal-smithing. I have worked as a florist, merchandiser and spearheaded converting part of my family’s wheat fields into a lavender farm in Washington State. I was even known as a “Country Manager” at one point in my life when I lived in Dublin, Ireland for a few years and headed a Swedish based publishing company. That was a bit nuts. Closing deals and sales negotiations were part of my daily vocabulary. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it really well. I’m pretty happy to be back to creating, It keeps me challenged, but I feel more confident in these waters than the others. My artistic path was strongly influenced by two factors; having artists for parents and growing up in a haunted house. It was an old Victorian house where my family had lived for three generations. And for a short period, at the turn of the century, it was also the town’s hospital. I moved in with my parents when I was around eight years old and we were truly an 80’s version of the Addams family. For me, it was like living in a castle with its old creaky floors, hidden passageways, paint chipped covered porches and stained-glass windows. In that house, nestled up on a hill overlooking a small wheat farming community in eastern Washington, my curiosity for old and weathered objects bloomed. I remember one day my mother dug out a rusty table from the basement and proudly placed it near the dining room window; a new spot for some struggling house plants. When she explained to me it was the hospital’s old operating table, I was both terrified and wonderstruck. I didn’t even want to look at it. I wouldn’t eat in the dining room for weeks. I think that is when I started to understand that objects are powerful. That they can make us feel something, even against our will or permission. That objects both new and old can evoke a deep and complicated spectrum of emotion. And I think that is why I love creating art, love vintage clothing and textiles and just making things in general. I want to make objects that take you to another place if only for a second. Pieces that make you or your home feel more beautiful and feminine.”

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

Inspiration from Indian block printed fabrics…

“ I think a little-researched disorder known as “hoarding” is what really drew me to them and to amassing such a collection. It’s a genetic illness that both my parents share. I think I have been a closet hoarder for decades actually. But more seriously, my love for vintage Indian block prints could be traced to my mother’s fabric closet and her bohemian tastes in clothing and décor. My parents also ran a small boutique when I was a child called the Hand of Man. It was an amazing shop curated with their love for the ancient and artisanal. They would sell their raku pottery and sculpture alongside ancient bracelets from Afghanistan and India, Chinese cloisonné vases, turquoise rings, and Art Deco necklaces. It was a paradise for me as a child, it was like stepping into another world. More recently, I rediscovered vintage Indian block print fabric when I was looking to start a line of 40’s inspired house robes. I had a very old robe from the 30’s that was the softest, dreamiest seersucker cotton ever and I wanted to find something similar in weight and texture to recreate a more updated loungewear line. I would spend hours searching Ebay and Etsy for old lightweight cotton yardage and that is when I started to come across the old Indian block print fabrics from the 60’s and fell in love. I fell deeply in love, so much so, that I knew I would never have the heart to cut them up, even if it was to turn them into something as cozy as a robe. So my dream of turning the house coat into something vogue ended there. But my passion for the fabrics and for sharing their beauty did not. At the same time, I started collecting vintage 60’s Indian block print dresses and skirts and selling them on Etsy. One day, I sold a particularly beautiful block print dress and was pretty sad to mail it off. Looking over at my scanner I thought, well, I am not keeping the dress…but I can keep the print! That’s when I decided to go for it and just started scanning all my textiles, anything I owned with a vintage block print. My husband thought I had lost my mind. He gets it now, but when you see your wife up at midnight scanning old clothes and bedspreads…well, you can imagine! After fumbling with the images on Photoshop and playing around with ideas, I came up with a yearly calendar, the postcards, stickers and small enclosure cards; and I think they are really special. Every time, I go to fill an order for the cards, the bright colors, and even their dainty size makes me happy. They are each little jewels and I am pretty excited I have found a way to share them with the world and to keep hoarding my precious block prints at the same time.

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

Vintage Fables began as a shop where I would sell vintage clothing and sewing elements and has evolved into the backbone of my creative path. It has been a slow but gratifying process and has given me a platform to play with my instincts as a designer. And living in Florence, a city full of artisans and crafts people has been pretty inspiring as well. It’s amazing how many artists and crafts people are just under my doorstep. I walk my son to school and on the way, I pass the foundry that helps me cast my bronze pendants, the man who prints my cards, the metal smith who makes the copper blanks for my bracelets…they are all there lined up in little shops, one next to the other. Running my little shop and selling my pieces has given me the courage to reach out to these people and ask for their assistance on projects and so the possibilities for what I feel I can do has become endless. When you find you have the confidence to approach people and say “Hey, I’m a designer and I have an idea. Do you think you can help me make it a reality?”, it’s pretty exciting. There is also a woodworker and pastry shop on the street…who knows what I could come up with next. “

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

“..I have so much to share about my experiences here in Florence especially in the area of vintage haunts and hang outs as well as my perspective as an expat and stay – at – home mom. I just have this need to write it all out now and to connect with people. As for my shop, I plan to make larger prints available of the block print images and possibly experiment with printing on canvas. I am also really focused on streamlining the line for wholesale accounts and retailers. I would love to get them out to a wider audience. I also create bronze and sterling pendants based on natural elements found here in Italy: succulents, shells etc. I have plans to expand the line and I am working on some new wax pieces as I write this. And of course, I hope to continue experimenting with hand dyeing the silk tassels I use for my designs and will be playing around with bolder colors and styles for summer and fall. I have my hands all over the place but it is what keeps me going.”

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

Challenges, Triumphs and Words of Wisdom

Without a doubt, my biggest challenge has been trying to run a creative business while raising two toddlers. It’s tough and I had no idea how tough it would be, until my first child was born. And it boils down to having little to no time, in this period of my life, to pursue all the projects and ideas I have swirling around in my head. Projects that would have taken me hours or days to finish before I had kids, now take me weeks and even, months. But it has been also, without a doubt, my biggest blessing. It has made me really appreciate the small gains in making my pieces and I think that is how quality products and good businesses are made in the end. Being present in the process and appreciating it. From designing the piece to listing it, to selling it and shipping it off, those are all important stages in a business and having limited time has helped me to slow down and appreciate every time I make it to the next step. I would like to say from the deepest most hopeful part of my being, hang in there and do not give up! And I am kind of saying that to myself at the same time. Yes, hang in there! I wish I could say something certain like “it gets better” but I cannot, because I have no idea. Just keep moving forward on your project and artistic dreams every day or as much as you can. And if you can’t finish a project, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just start a new one because it is an important part of the one you just gave up on or can’t get to, you just don’t know it yet. Summon that multitasking witch and have her stir the cauldron, you have magic boiling girl, don’t let it sit or it will burn!”

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

For the most beautiful block printed stationery, visit Auria at her Etsy store, Vintage Fables.

Postcards From Florence/ Textile Tuesday/ Collectivitea

All images courtesy of/copyright: Auria Bohn


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!

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Tea Time Stories by Chandan Dubey/ Collectivitea

I have another post for Friday and it’s a beautiful one. Do you know of Chandan Dubey, a Mumbai-based blogger, photographer and creative entrepreneur? She is offering a limited-edition Tea Time Stories collection of products. They are all to do with tea- boxes to store your fragrant tea, and they are also going to be offering trays, tea cozies, coasters and tea towels. Each product is based on a tea time story, some of them dating back many centuries. For so many of us, tea time is more than just a time to drink tea. It’s the time that we set apart to savor and indulge our love of beauty and creativity. A time set apart to appreciate the finer things in life. It’s only appropriate that we surround ourselves with everything beautiful during this time.A picture is worth a thousand words and Chandan’s pictures might be worth more than that…

Tea Time Stories by Chandan Dubey/ Collectivitea

And now for the stories…

Tea Time Stories by Chandan Dubey/ Collectivitea

Tea Time Stories by Chandan Dubey/ Collectivitea

I am a sucker for a love story and then add tea in the mix- really, how can you resist?! Chandan Dubey is a meticulous curator and has an excellent eye for color; her decoupaged boxes and other creations that she takes on as commissions are always in much demand. You can find Tea Time Stories (you are going to want one or all the boxes, I know I do!)  and learn more about Chandan’s work on her Facebook page here.

Image credits/copyright: Chandan Dubey


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5 Textile Museums To Visit / Collectivitea

It’s Textile Tuesday! I have a roundup of 5 textile museums (and some exhibitions that they are hosting) for someone who loves textiles/fabrics and the stories they represent. The inspiration behind the post? Well, you know I love gorgeous fabrics/textiles! If I’d to pick one way to relax and recharge, it would be to spend an afternoon with my camera and a stack of colorful, intricately embroidered fabrics. I marvel at the hours that go into the weaving, the dyeing and the embellishing of the cloth and it makes me happy to capture them through the lens of the camera. But that’s not the only reason for this post. Over the summer, my 16-year-old traveled to Japan for an internship. He visited Tokyo and other places in and around the city and when he came back, he had made up his mind that when he was older, he was going to live in a big, bustling metropolis. We live about 30 miles from San Francisco, but it’s not the same as living in the city- there is an energy, vibrance and diversity (also the events, the museums!) that is part of living in the world’s largest capitals. I thought of the cities that I’d like to be in right now (especially during back to school week when we are all having trouble getting up in the morning and getting out the door on time) and some of the things I’d like to be doing.

1.The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is to host an exhibition October 2015- Jan 2016 called The Fabric of India that showcases the handmade textile traditions of the country, dating from the 3rd century to current times. The exhibition is part of the wider India Festival that the museum is celebrating. If you are in London during this time, don’t miss it! Details here.

2. The Textile Museum at the George Washington University Museum in Washington DC has a large collection of textiles from around the world, and from the native, indigenous populations of the Americas. Also in October (from Oct 2015-May 2016), they are going to have an exhibition titled Old Patterns, New Order- Socialist Realism in Central Asia. “Under Soviet political rule, artists across Central Asia created images that both embraced modernity and idealized the past. This exhibition will examine the socialist realist art movement in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and others areas of Central Asia, pairing twentieth-century paintings with examples of the traditional textiles they depict.” Definitely one I want to visit! Details here.

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has two exhibitions that I would just love to go to. Scratch that, the Met has so many ongoing exhibitions that I want to visit like the Chinese Textiles- Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection, American Quilts and Folk ArtLiturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World. I want to be there right now! All details here.

4. Closer to home is the de Young museum (Golden Gate Park, SF) and I’m headed here on one of the weekends. They have a large collection of Anatolian kilims as well as more contemporary pieces of textile history. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last did a round of local museums.

5. This is by no means a comprehensive list of textile museums, but I do want to point out  that Mumbai’s Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj
Vastu Sangrahalaya recently opened a new gallery to showcase Indian textiles. I love visiting this museum- it’s an oasis of calm in the middle of the busy city and the heritage building is a perfect place to wander. I usually visit Mumbai during the monsoons, and the last time I was there, it was raining heavily outside and the atmosphere was moody and dramatic- a perfect backdrop for all the art. The museum’s new addition celebrates the textile heritage of India. Details here. National Geographic India has some pictures here.

Textiles at the British Museum/ 5 Textile Museums To Visit/ Once Upon A Tea Time

Textiles at the British Museum in London

Image credits:  Studio Collectivitea


To subscribe to the Collectivitea blog, please add  www.collectivitea.com/blog/feed to your feed reader/aggregator. (Feedly, Bloglovin etc.) To visit us and see what’s new at Collectivitea, you can find us at www.collectivitea.com. We are a blog and boutique marketplace; visit us, and you are sure to find something you love!