We present to you our new range of miniature scooters; handcrafted with passion!
Please share this on your time line so that we can involve as many people possible from across the world.
I have a new design project where I wish to collect newspapers from across the world with the date Wednesday, 5th of June 2013 and use it to make recycled products in our Scriptum range.
Why Wednesday, 5th of June: It is world environment day, so pledge your support by helping us.
I request you to send me newspapers in your local language or actually in as many languages dated 5th of June 2013 to the address below.
For your help I promise a beautiful surprise gift and you will be a part of a design project where we will give credit to everybody involved. Come be a part of this project.
Date is Wednesday 5th of June
Address to send the newspapers:
32, First Floor, Shahpur Jat
Near Asian Games Village
New Delhi – 110049
Please mention your name, address and email on the package so that we can include you in the directory and also for the surprise gift.
Please let me know if you would like to help.
An exquisitely hand-stitched journal inspired by the city of Jaipur using paper and printed cotton sourced from its by lanes.
It has forty blank pages recycled from natural jute fibre with no added color. Each journal comes with an intricately-cut bookmark in the shape of a Jharokha (an overhanging enclosed balcony used in Rajputana architecture)
This piece is an inspiration from a picture sent to me by Shubha ji. I challenged myself to do it as it was a very functional product. Some designs work out to be so difficult that mid-way you feel like abandoning them but then I am not one of those who gives-up easily. I kept re-doing it till I succeeded, and it was a tremendous boost to my confidence! Six months, 4 people, 12 sheets of steel and 8 dies led to a beautiful pen holder.
Many of us carry journals and notebooks and find it a problem to keep a pen around. This may come handy!
Whenever I travel, I keep my eyes open to observe and absorb everything that’s around. From the architecture to the walls, clothes to local flavours, in our subconscious we keep these impressions and for me these turnout to be inspirations for future ranges of products. On one of my trips I met a person who was into old documents, stamps and papers and an Idea was born. I sat with him and picked-up everything that he had. I often pick-up more than I need but when the ranges are ready; I end-up running short of these materials. I did the same with old maps and now I have exhausted all of them. Ideas can strike you anytime therefore are we ready? This happens very often with me and fate brings me to these very people who have helped me take out ranges like Travel Journals with old maps, Journals with old Indian stamp papers, vintage newsprint, etc.
While working on this range, I came across some really interesting documents, stamps and papers; these I have kept for my collection. Going through all of them was like re-visiting history.
This is a range of exquisitely bound and hand-stitched journals. The spine is in raw-silk and the covers are made from old and authentic papers, documents, postage and revenue stamps from pre-independence British India, dating across 1870-1946. All the documents were hand-written in Urdu, Hindi and other Indian languages.
This piece is very well written. It sums-up my tryst with design.
I have talked about my past, my motivations and inspirations, my studio, the materials that I work with, my relationships with suppliers and craftsmen, how I started, difficulties that I faced, challenges, strategies, etc. I hope you enjoy reading. (Click the picture to enlarge)
Another addition to our Scriptum range. The yellow papers with the script are actually ledger sheets from account books maintained in the 1980′s. Each Journal has a silk spine with ruled pages in mill made paper.
We would like to apologise to all our valued customers and well wishers in Mumbai on not being able to participate at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival this year. Thank you for your support across the last four years. You have helped us grow tremendously and we promise to come to your city very soon.
We have released a few new designs in our metal bookmarks range. The India map was a result of a feedback/suggestion that I received from a customer. The hearts for the coming Valentines day. The rest were to increase our existing range. Many more are coming soon.
This is a picture of the wrapping papers that I used to do once upon a time in Delhi. It was tie ‘n’ dye on paper, I did it with water and colors. After folding and submerging them in water the joy was in opening it and watching the design take shape through the complex merging of colors and shades. No two pieces were alike and I did not have control on the design or the spread of color within thepaper. I did get my hands dirty and it was like wearing jewellery with all that color on my hands.
Those were the days….when I made a shirt out of this tie ‘n’ dye paper to wear in a program called Style Police on Channel V and that was 10 years back.
These days I feel that in trying to be an entrepreneur, I have been losing that blatant creative streak!
I have been toying with the idea of Indigo from ages and finally it has come to fruition. The fabric caught my eye at one of the craft melas that I was visiting and this was about two years back. Since then I have been waiting for the right time to launch them. The journals were made about a year back but did not see the light of day because of the lack of inspiration on the packaging, branding and story part. Indigo has such a chequered history that it would not do justice to launch them without the essence or story behind it. I looked for information across a variety of mediums and the best written piece was by Brinda Suri, she has beautifully written the below article. This write-up is also packaged along with the journal in the form of a small booklet so that all of us who love Indigo can also treasure a part of its history. I have stayed natural with jute thread tassels and obviously it comes with my signature peacock bookmark in brass metal. Sometimes the story behind a product/design is much more stronger than the product itself. I have tried my best to do justice to it. I hope you enjoy the limited edition journals.
Origin and role in Indian freedom movement
Indian expertise in preparation of vegetable dyes goes back over a thousand years, with excavations revealing strands of dyed fabric belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization.
According to D. Balasubramanian in his article ‘Indigo nation: Champaran to Chandigarh’ in The Hindu, “Further proof comes from the paintings in the Ajanta Caves, as well as from the writing in Kautilya’s Artha Sastra, which refers to dyes and their uses. Eighth century Central Asia and Egypt knew of Indian textiles. Marco Polo, who travelled through India in the13th century, was the first to report on the preparations of indigo dye in the country. Indigo was known to, and used by, ancient Greeks and Romans, as a pigment in paintings. It is very likely, however, that the name Indigo, attributing its association with India, came after Marco Polo’s report.”
A few centuries ago, the only source of blue was indigo. It was abundantly available in America, which had been colonized by handful European nations, who had monopolized the trade. Post American independence India was found ideal for indigo and Europeans colonizers, particularly British, set up units in indigo-friendly areas in Bengal and Bihar. Its trade was a profitable venture and as British rule spread its tentacles, thousands of farmers were forced to grow indigo in place of food crops.
Indigo was also purchased at a low price from them which lead to extreme poverty. Meanwhile by the end of the 19th century, chemical indigo had been manufactured in Germany and the requirement of Indian indigo fell, worsening the conditions of farmers who began getting even lesser returns but had to continue with the crop. During the 1920s famine spread in Bihar, and to boost economy the British levied taxes on the already debt-ridden indigo belt which lead to rebellions in the state, the most famous being the riots in Champaran district. Mahatma Gandhi was called to witness the conditions of indigo farmers and it was from Champaran between 1918-19 that he held his first satyagraha, a movement that was to finally help India win her freedom.
Indigo is one of the most versatile colours. People usually associate indigo with blue but essentially indigo can run between the spectrum of very light blue to deep green. With alum it gets grayish blue, harad (or Black myroblan, the widely-used digestive herb that’s also interestingly known in Sanskrit as Haritaki, meaning originating in God’s home) makes it go green and copper sulphate turns it deep blue. It is one of the most exciting colours and can bring in unimaginable shades. A different mordant can change the complete look of the indigo. You can experiment a lot with its dyes.
Indigo has always been used with great expertise on fabric in Asia and achieved cult status in the West when Levis Strauss developed the denim jean. In central and western India the ajrakh block printers are considered masters in the art of dealing with indigo. Every handloom variant—be it kalamkari painting, weaving, Jaipuri block printing etc—uses indigo successfully in vastly different ways. Being a hard-sourced natural dye an indigo outfit on the shelf always has a higher mark up as compared to other vegetable colours.
The indigo plant is a biennial, bearing yellow flowers and bluish leaves. Known as Indigofera Tinctoria or Nila in India, it has a higher indigo content as compared to its variants across the world. To extract the colour, the leaves are crushed into a paste and undergo a series of fermentation and oxidation processes before the dye is obtained. The technology in India, says D. Balasubramanian, was handed down from fathers to sons over the centuries. “In a nation full of castes and communities, each specializing in one art, craft or technology, it was the Kurmis of Bihar and UP, the Kumbis of Maratha and Deccan, the Niralis of Central India, and certain groups of Muslim dyers who have been exponents of this form of medieval biotechnology,” he elucidates.
There are a number of ways of extracting the dye.
The common method used these days takes the following route. The first stage involves preparing the all-important indigo vat for which the water is warmed to about 20-25C and caustic soda stirred into it. Upon it being mixed well hydros is sprinkled and stirred slowly. Immediately after, indigo grain is added in small quantity and also stirred very gently in order to let no bubbles appear on the surface. Once it dissolves well the container needs to be sealed tight with a lid. Depending upon the quantity of the liquid the mixture is left to stand and get dissolved. When the surface reflects a greenish hue it’s an indication that the process has been successfully completed.
The next step is dyeing for which pre-washed fabric or yarn treated in a mordant (which helps in holding-fast the dyes) is taken and fully submerged in the vat and vigorously moved in it. It is then allowed to remain dipped for a few minutes after which it is removed from the vat and squeezed. At this stage the dyed fabric/yarn looks like an unattractive clump of black but magically on exposure to air as the indigo begins to get oxidized the black turns blue. If the final colour emerges as being too faded the process of dyeing is repeated to ensure the required shade is obtained, upon which the fabric/yarn is rinsed in cold water and then given a quick warm bath in detergent and hung to dry.
Picture of men performing one of the steps of the ancient process of extracting indigo dye from the Indigofera Tinctoria plant. Here they are stirring the indoxyl-rich mixture to mix it with air. This allows the air to oxidize the indigo plants, which settles to the bottom of the tank.
The write-up was contributed by Brinda Suri www.brindasuri.blogspot.com
Picture of Indigo cake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Indian_indigo_dye_lump.jpg
Picture of men: source unknown
An exquisitely hand-stitched journal with fifty blank pages in mill-made paper. The cover is made from handloom cotton printed with vegetable dyes. The cloth is made directly from raw-cotton in the villages close to cotton fields combining traditional Indian principles of cloth making with modern small-scale technology. It avoids baling and un-bailing of cotton by heavy machinery and unnecessary transport. It has a beautiful texture, is soft and keeps its shape for ages. Handloom weaving is today the largest non-farm employer in the country, and mostly rural at that. Each region has its particular weave, and that’s the beauty of handloom. The hand-woven cotton has prints in vegetable dyes.
Long ago on a foggy morning in the year 1984, a young six year old boy from a sleepy nondescript town entered the hallowed gates of the junior school of Wynberg Allen, a boarding school in the hills of Mussoorie. The school was going to be home for the coming twelve years. His father put him here because good educational institutions were non-existent in the hinterland; a sacrifice that also needed courage. He wanted his child to grow-up in a good environment where there would be all-round development.
With time the young lad got into the daily routine of a boarding school. It was Mrs Mishra who spotted his knack for craft and kept him busy with assignments. There was no hurry, they lived life in the very heart of nature with a stream flowing by. Studies, games, activities, exeats, friends, Diwali, Christmas, etc. were all a part of school life. The child absorbed much and moved to senior school where his talent for craft kept him busy with class decorations, art rooms, etc. Even though he was not an art student, Mr. Mishra the art teacher could sense his interest and latent talent, he was offered multiple assignments on the side-lines to hone his skills. The art teacher loved his creative instincts and to the child’s amazement offered him the chairman’s prize for art if he could do a few projects related to art and craft.
The child now all grown-up was appointed school captain, he served his Alma Matter well with all fairness and devotion and while doing this could not find the time to fulfil the terms for the chairman’s prize.
While in Delhi life took a different turn and after failing on all fronts in life he sat down to do what he did best…create objects with his own hands… and the rest is history.
This boy is your very own Anand Prakash, He has lately designed a range of souvenirs for Wynberg Allen School and more are on the anvil. He takes this opportunity to thank WAS and its devoted teachers for making him what he is…Life for him has come a Full Circle!
The above souvenirs are available at the school.
I was invited to hold a workshop on recycling at “Bookaroo” – Festival of Children’s Literature. Papercraft is not only my profession but also my passion therefore I readily agreed. It was for a group of 40-45 children. The theme was “There are no rules when it comes to recycling”. I decided that we would not use any scissors but only tear, tear and tear. “One Day Waste Project” that was what I called the raw material that I took for the participants. i.e. I collected waste from my manufacturing unit and prepared 45 sets to use at the workshop. It was good fun working with paper again because lately I have become more of an entrepreneur and any excuse to get my hands on any kind of paper is welcome.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning at Sanskriti Kendra, Anandgram. This place has a beautiful museum on Terracota with well-manicured lawns, amphitheatre and lots of greenery. It was a perfect setting for the festival. My workshop was on schedule with more participants than we had space for. We accommodated all of them along with some younger participants who sat with their parents. It was an hour of fun with paper and at the end all we could say was….recycle, recycle and recycle.
This is an amazing festival that is four years old now. Authors of children’s books, speakers and illustrators from across the globe were invited to mesmerise the children. There were sessions on writing, story telling, composing songs, book reading, creating comic strips, etc. (Read more here)
All in all it was a good day.
Some more pictures of the festival:
Dictionary meaning of Thank you: used to tell someone that you are grateful because they have given you something or done something for you.
While thinking of a positive note to start this post on our new range of note cards, I realised that in todays world we often forget to say thank you for little things that matter, our fast paced lives are fraught with such situations where we brush past them without a backward glance. I am no saint and I too have my thank you’s to say.
So lets say the magical words to people who have really helped us, been with us, inspired us, loved us un-conditionally, helped us through difficult times, etc. etc. You don’t need our thank you cards to say them
The inspiration to design this range of boxed notecards was my love for stationery, I thought to myself, “Why not say it with style.” The joy of eliciting a smile is the greatest. Before I design most of my products I try and imagine if I would love to use them.
The papers that I have used are all Italian (Sorry! for the deviation from handmade). I think designers need to explore all mediums and not limit themselves to just a few. People do not have the wherewithal to do it hence it is our duty to design for everyone. Actually a lot of my clients have been asking for stationery with clean lines, embossing, etc. I have also experimented with bright colours instead of the white, ivory, gold and beige. Notes should be lively and cheerful. I have been doing a lot of personalised stationery for some very special people encompassing the above techniques and materials.(more on personalised stationery later)
Every person that purchases a product from our online store receives a thank you and feedback note. Just like my work, I also want my customers online experience to be impeccable.
After the success of our auto rickshaw themed steel coasters, we are launching some new designs. These are basically targeting tourists & travellers who are buying gifts and souvenirs to take back home from India. The images are heat tempered and they do not come off.
This is my ode to thee!
While traveling I came across an organisation that was discarding old newspapers that were bound in volumes. These vintage newspapers are dated 1971 and have yellowed and aged with time. I aptly thought of creating a new range of handmade journals, boxes and pencils with them. I have some left which I may use on some of my walls.
Meaning of Scriptum (Latin) : something drawn, a space enclosed by lines. Continuing my work with Hindi(Devnagari), Scriptum is a range of fine stationery inspired from Hindi letters & language. I find Hindi very stylish, fashionable and something that’s close to my roots. The range consists of handmade cards, journals, metal bookmarks, wrapping papers, etc. The papers as usual are handmade, wood-free and recycled.
Greeting card printed by vignette silk-screen. Five colours are placed on the silk-screen and pulled together by hand thus mixing and merging to form the print on handmade paper. Every two impressions the colours need to be wiped and re-applied. Very few printers can manage this feat. What I love most is the variation in the colour and the surprising part is that it’s done by hand!
I find Hindi very stylish, fashionable and something that’s close to my roots. I have launched a range of products that primarily focus on the Hindi letters and language, starting with bookmarks, clocks and journals…I will be releasing more designs and products shortly.
The English dictionary meaning for observation- an act or instance of noticing or perceiving.
I believe in the power of observation as I have seen results. This word started to make real sense while I was visiting Milou Ket, a trend forecaster based in Amsterdam. While taking us around the city to various stores, places of interest, design galleries, etc. I noticed how keenly she went through the items/products on display. She would look at each product and explain minute details about them. Observation is key to new development and growth. The mind needs constant churning to produce results.
One of the best examples that I can give you is of the picture on the left. This paper weave is inspired from the old chairs that were there at home while I was very young; a legacy of my grandfather. I was always intrigued with the patterns. The art is in being able to calculate how many strands to leave while you weave. Obviously now these chairs are history along with the artisans who did them. If you try and weave it with your hand, you will not be able to because there is a technique to do it…maybe I divulge it in one of my workshops! or should I keep it a trade secret?
As I have no training in design, the only way for me to learn techniques is to observe from what is already there. Every Sunday I visit some mall in the vicinity looking for the latest trends and styles; with my hectic weekly schedule this seems to be the only time and way to do it.
For example: These days I see a lot of studs/rivets/brass fittings on products at stores like Diesel, The Collective, etc. I see it as a trend but the problem is that I have already been using these since the last 3-4 years, should I do more? I don’t think so because this idea in particular is already done to death. I also notice Zippers being used in a variety of products, from bags to shirts, I don’t like the idea at the moment; lesson: think for yourself and do not always follow trends.
I have been toying with the idea of designing jewelry, I have invested in all the tools and relevant materials but I think the time is not right, so I will let the idea hibernate till I have a sure-shot saleable design in mind. You have to nurture an idea, water it like a plant and wait for it to bear fruit. Patience is the last thing I have, but I see myself changing; I spend an enormous amount of time and money in research and development, for example: while designing a new journal, I decided to test the strength of its binding, I opened and closed the journal more than a thousand times to test it – It did pass; many a times it does not. While speaking about jewelry, I try and observe the different kind of hooks that are being used in earrings, the different kinds of closures in necklaces, I need to get these right because the design can always come later, but the basics are far more important, if I get that wrong then I am starting on the wrong foot.
I wish I could travel more, there is so much to learn and absorb.
While travelling on a cycle rickshaw a few days back in chandni chowk, I noticed the wires overhead, they were unruly and haphazard, an idea struck me – everyone will see this idea take a shape and form very soon. The mind needs to be trained to question the normal, if we don’t let our minds wander and explore, then we will have to be content with the normal and the mundane. One of the reasons why I have reached this far is because I had no formal training in design, therefore I learnt nothing and my mind was not trained to follow the norm. Every idea, material and technique that I see is always worth a try because you never know what may come of it. An example is a new material that I am using for my new range of journals. Nobody had used it therefore all were skeptical if it would work. I too could have let it go but I thought of giving it a try and the picture on the right is what’s coming soon.
A few unusual things that I have designed:
This piece of art epitomizes the experimental part of me. The inspiration for this “timepiece” runs back to the time when I was a young boy and the wooden scale with its rudimentary appeal was a constant source of fascination; it was a multipurpose tool and also a toy. This timepiece is sold by invitation.
A very old design that still outsells newer ones- Spice card.
While watching an english movie I noticed the design and style of a photo frame, the idea struck me and I adapted it to my range of stationery.
While going through a book I keenly look at the cover, binding, stitching, pockets, etc. The structure intrigues me more than the subject. Have you noticed covers of fiction bestsellers? many a times we buy the book for its cover, imagining the picture as the real story. Many books sell well because of the technique used on the cover, like embossing, foil print, de-bossing, etc.
Lots of times when I discuss an observation that I have made about a place, a thing or a person, my friends and family find it rather amusing or even absurd! what would you call that?
While I speak so much about observation; I must also emphasize the power of listening to other people. Sometimes the best ideas come from people who are unrelated to your work – they offer you a fresh perspective and that my friends turns out to be a million-dollar idea. It is dangerous to tell or show me something; because you never know what I would do with it.
Nature has so much to give us, if we only had time to stare! this reminds me of an old poem from school by William Henry Davies:
What is this life if, full of care,We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight, streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, and watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can, enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.
So here’s wishing everyone a year of happy observation!