Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PURPLE TURTLES...a few bright ideas

It’s true! I am in love with anything related to home decor. And good lights and lighting... even more so. After all, the right lighting can add that extra zing to your home. And with a name like ‘purple turtles’ (purple incidentally is my fav colour these days) it’s tough to ignore this store when you walk by it. So the shop-sniffer that I am out, I sniffed out 'Purple-turtles' more than a year ago when I was doing up my place. I was kinda getting bored of the same old bulky/glass lighting stuff that one finds in most stores , not to forget the heavy-duty chandeliers. Naturally, ‘purple turtles’ came as a relief (though the prices at first didn’t ).

The store started by its sweet and unassuming owner, Radeesh Shetty houses interesting lighting options from desi designers across the country and its own produce too. They come in varying budgets right from Rs 1000 upwards. Here are some interesting options from what I saw – 

The highlight of the store was definitely these interesting lighting options from Jenny Pinto, one of the few handmade paper makers in India, based in Bangalore. Jenny designs her own range of lighting and home accessories using her own paper. She makes a unique range of beautiful, translucent and  textured paper from agricultural and craft waste fibres like banana, sisal, mulberry, various rivers grasses, pineapple and more.

One finds a fair variety of options at this store, right from the contemporary steel pieces by Mukul Goyal to screen-printed cloth lamp shades .

Made of raw silk/cloth

For kitsch-lovers, there are the canvas-painted spunky ones and ‘beaded’ ones too.
 canvas-prints. I have this one myself!!

In my experience, I have often found lamp shades with great designs; however the fittings and the lamp-bases in many a case turn out to be very flimsy. And that’s where I found 'purple turtles' delivering some fine quality products. Radeesh claims that the holders and electrical fittings are specially imported and hence the cost. What I liked most about the store are the fine-looking wooden lamp bases which though a bit expensive are totally worth it since they bring so much character and finesse to the lamp shades. 

So next time you are in Indiranagar, drop into ‘Purple Turtles’. Unlike some of its 'posh' counterparts which one would think twice before entering, this store is very welcoming and so are the people inside. And of course, do not forget to mention your source... You heard about them here. 

Address: #128, 1st main, domlur 2nd Stage, near Barbeque Nation, off 100 ft road Bangalore - 560025. Radeesh Shetty – 9741888668 / 08041528039

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SANTHANALAKKSHMI . . . the art of hand-weaving

" Many years ago when i first came to Bangalore, I sold off my few hundred hand-woven antique sarees and traded them in for the cooler jeans. How i repent it now?! " When i heard Chitra Karuppiah (or 'Santhanalakshmi' as she is fondly called by many) lament so, one could clearly sense her sincerity and passion towards her current profession.

I am sure that many of you may have passed by the old Naga theatre (now lemon tree hotel) on St John's road near ulsoor lake. But i wonder how many of you have noticed this cute little store that reads ' Santhanalakshmi - Pure silk & cotton sarees' with some lovely kolam designs in red and a small little 'charka' (clearly showing her passion for the organic and the hand-woven art of weaving) outside.

The store started by Chitra over several years ago (she was earlier located at 'The Sanctuary near safina Plaza) is a treasure house of sarees that showcase the cultural richness of Tamil Nadu. "My father started the very popular Bangalore Biryani Hotel in coimbatore in 1945. He ensured that we inculcated some of the best values around us - we were taught Hindi  by a private tutor as he felt that we must speak the language fluently and I even learnt to play the veena. We would visit temples every week and spend holidays at our grandfather's farm in idyllic fun. We would have some of the best weavers come home to make custom-made sarees for all the women in our household for any festive or special occasion. "

Geeta in one of her own creations

With a childhood drenched in everything that was richly south-indian it is no surprise that Geeta (who trained to study law) ended up reviving some of the most beautiful sari traditions that have long been forgotten. " I work with my weavers in Karaikudi who for many decades have been working for my family. Each of  my sarees has been hand-woven with absolutely no compromise in the quality of cotton or the art of weaving." 

Traditional 'pattu sarees with kalamkari pallu

Tamil Nadu Meets Andhra- the traditional kanjeevaram silk with kalamkari work on the pallu - around Rs 5000/-
The colours and combinations are personally chosen by Chitra and she is no hurry to 'mass-manufacture' sarees. As she removed each saree and proudly explained the nuances of each , I could not but help wonder in amazement at the wealth of information that stood before me. So right from the typical chettinad checks cotton sarees and the big border chettinad-kandanghi-inspired-silk sarees to the mutli-coloured temple border sarees and modern interpretations of kalamkari , there was no dearth of beautiful designs in this store. Here below are some of the creations that most impressed me.

the rarely seen coarse cotton saree typical of chettinad - the kandanghi cotton - with bold striped huge borders on either side. Ms. Sonia Gandhi picked up a few of these at Chitra's exhibition in Delhi organised by the Crafts Council of India.

the typical 'kandanghi' border chettinad cotton, re-interpreted in a modern silk form
the traditional temple border interpreted in a multi-coloured modern avtaar
'Muthu Kanna Pettu' - a traditional pattern revived in a contemporary mauve

silk saree with 'paalum palum' inspired pallu
the 'cult' bright silk checks made popular by actress Saroja Devi in the Sivaji starrer tamil blockbuster movie 'Paalum Palamum'
once called 'Chinnalam pattu' or silk for the poor...revived. Rs 800/-

the once popular 'Ganga-Jamuna' cotton saree with huge borders on either side .

a traditional 'antique' border revived - the typical cotton one in pink revived in a silk format in blue

a chettinad revival saree - notice the rarely seen 'tissue' work between the saree body and palav area..with the orange temple motif reincarnate! Rs 1250/-

the popular peacock or 'mayil' motif in a contemporary avtaar!

the typical daily wear of many a south indian woman - the 'sungudi' saree
Women like Chitra are few and their cause, rare - To protect and conserve the dying traditions of India and to rightfully give credit to the 'artisans' who spend days to weave that one elegant cotton saree. It was the most beautiful 2 hours that I had ever spent in any store...i got to see a whole lot of south India and i savoured every moment of it. I hope you do too!

the simple yet elegant typical chettinad-checks cotton sarees - from Rs 800 to 1250

Kudos to you Chitra and to your kind!!! 
Address :- Santhanalakkshmi Pure Silk & Cotton Sarees, #174, st. John's Road, Near old Naga theatre of Hotel Lemon Tree, BAngalore - 560 042. Tel - 080-40925414/9343548543

Monday, November 22, 2010

RATTAN TEXTILES - Padharo mhare des....

I first came to know about Ratan textiles by a friend of mine from Delhi around 2 years ago. When i visited the store then, it was close to 830pm and the store was in the midst of shutting down. I remember feeling like a kid in a candy store, seeing their gorgeous stuff. However seeing that i had absolutely no time i quickly picked up a pair of gorgeous 'rajasthani' print cushions. One of them, a nice pink cushion (as you can see in the chair below) has always been a conversation point whenever friends came home, Ever since then i have wanted to go back there.

the pink cushion on the left is a 'Ratan'

 This november i finally did get the opportunity to visit their store. Ratan is located in the very popular and lovely Meherchand market in delhi. So on a diwali morning i decided to visit their store. As i walked down the market, i could see their store facade at a distance, beautifully decorated with marigold flowers. This time round i had all the time in the world and thankfully no one to crib about how late it was getting; so i was quite relieved! Ratan textiles is originally from Jaipur and they are known to export their stuff all over.

One might find Ratan to be similar to the Anokhi stuff but far more reasonably priced. I especially loved their range of mens and womens-wear on the 2nd floor. 
the mens shirts prices start from Rs 420/-

As always the women have all the options

i love this print!!

The sweet lady assistant at the store patiently showed me all their stuff ; though the manager was quite disinterested in my enthusiasm (just like the last time).

" Err! can i please be spared of your un-necessary jibber-jabber !"

I also got to see some of their signature rajasthani printed cushions. 
add that bright splash of colour to a dull corner with this cute pillow

i had bought this from my last trip

The range of home furnishings - including bed covers, bed sheets, quilts, etc. were quite colourful. The best part about them was that they were quite reasonably priced too.


single and double bed-sheets/spreads

If one is looking for gifts to give then this is definitely the place to come to. Lovely hand-made paper boxes, exam pads with beautiful prints, cards, etc. My absolute favs were a pair of exam-pads in orange and turqouise blue. One had a print of the eiffel tower while the other had the leaning tower of Pisa. And each cost Rs. 99/- only !!!
note the orange exam-pad with the leaning tower of Pisa, at the rear end of the 3rd shelf!

colourful note pads

Address : - 21-22, Meharchand market, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
Tel - 011-24657600