Local Designs, Serving Smart – Small studios in South experiment with traditional Kolam & Kalamkari designs

Be it a nayaka kalamkari panel with Kodalikaruppur techniques applied by Aksh ‘Weaves and Crafts’ or ‘The Kumbhkári Project’ applying Kolam designs on tableware by designer Chinmayee, the studios in south India are making unique products after signing up for the traditional workshops.

After enrolling in a design course at ClayStation, Bengaluru, and leaning at Life & Art Academy in Chennai, young designer Chinmayee Sridharan also signed up for some online workshops along the way before  setting up her home studio ‘The Kumbhkári Project’ in Chennai.

The 25-year-old surface designer crafts mugs, cups, bowls, plates and her bestseller, the davara tumbler sets. Besides this she also runs sustainable brand Urvi – The Project, where she designs cotton wallets, cardholders,  passport holders and backpacks.

Her new product line includes Kolam davara tumblers and Tamizh series, which drew inspiration from her mother’ love for and acknowledgment of Indian textiles patterns.

As per Chinmayee, her next collection of drinkware is an extension of Sungudi, “The product range will include tumblers, mugs, pasta plates, trinket dishes and vases/bottles. This collection will be entirely hand painted, and will consist of both handbuilt and wheel thrown pieces. It’s my first ‘colourful’ collection!”

Nayaka kalamkari panel with kodalikaruppur techniques applied, by Aksh Weaves and Crafts

‘Aksh weaves and crafts’ by Sriya Mishra is another such studio in Adyar,Chennai that works with weavers recreating textiles and designs along with museum recreations from the past.

Aksh weaves has also worked extensively on the revival of Kodalikaruppur sarees which were patronised by the Maratha rulers of Tanjore in the 18th Century, under the mentorship of K Dakshinamurthi.

Their upcoming project too is an exciting one, involving a textile that most people haven’t seen or ever worn — Chintz. Projects like these often involve a deep dive into the history of different geographical regions of the country, and its rich legacy of textiles.

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