Creatives+ Creative Entrepreneurs, Jewelry

Aaraa By Avantika | Storyteller

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.

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Over a cup of tea.. (Online Journal), Textiles

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

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Interiors

Home Tour : Sunita and Yogesh in Chennai, India

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.

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Art, Creatives+ Creative Entrepreneurs, Textiles, Travel

Ajrakh Exhibition: From Kutch To London

 

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.


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Interiors

A New Delhi Apartment Tour

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.


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