Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Gulmohar in the desert

'Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.'

As you all know, I spent a significant part of my childhood in Barmer, Rajasthan. Barmer district located in the south-west part of Rajasthan shares its borders with the Rann of Kutch and Sindh in Pakistan. Apart from hand block printed and hand painted fabric, the area is also known for its hand carved furniture. So it was but natural that my parents would want to own a few pieces.

However, what we were not prepared for was that over a period of time they would hoard every conceivable piece of carved furniture from the district. Consequently, we have spent the better part of the last two decades trying to convince them to replace a few pieces with something more contemporary. This exquisitely carved furniture that now probably costs an arm and a leg is not only cherished in our home for its craftsmanship but also for its sentimental value, thus making it difficult to part with.

Although  growing up in this design and culture rich state was one of the most enriching experiences of our lives, every once in a while, especially during the sweltering summer months, I yearned, not only for contemporary furniture but also for the Gulmohar lined streets of Bangalore.

Cut to 2015- Rajasthan is now home to a brand of contemporary furniture that is not only affordable and rich in aesthetics but also reminiscent of the Gulmohar lined streets of Bangalore from a bygone era.

Armed with a degree from NIFT and their combined experience of working with well known Indian and International brands, this lovely couple decided to translate their passion for creating and providing easy and honest furniture options into a thriving online platform for furniture and other interior solutions. After extensive research and training with companies in Italy, they decided to set up their workshop and production facility in Jaipur. Gulmohar lane, the brainchild of Shweta Mewara and Saurabh Ailawadi strives to provide furniture options that are comfortable, visually appealing as well as fairly priced. When I reached out to them and asked them to share their story they enthusiastically agreed to answer a few questions.

What were your creative influences while you were growing up?
Shweta: I draw inspiration from both my parents. My mother’s keen eye for detail and uncompromising presentation skills are a huge influence. My dad though an I.A.S officer himself always encouraged us kids to pursue our creative interests. Apart from them on an everyday level I draw inspiration from anyone with a unique visual take…

Saurabh: I remember living in Bhopal, I would visit this lake-side place called Shyamla hills which had these beautiful bungalows facing this amazing lake. That would really inspire me along with these curated furniture from the havelis and heritage hotels which still have that old world charm.

Why the name Gulmohar lane?
Shweta: Gulmohar Lane takes us to beautiful lanes, covered with trees on both sides. A lane with a row of charming homes, put together over the years with a lot of personal love and care. We all aspire to build a perfect home. Our homes reflect a little bit of who we are. The word ‘Gulmohar’ expresses a strong India connect while ‘Lane’ gives it a contemporary touch; a name that breathes easy yet exudes rich aesthetics.

What are your future plans for the brand? What can we expect to see?
Shweta:We are looking at expanding the product line. We just launched scatter pillow and will be launching a category very close to our hearts;lighting. We are also working on a line of hand-tufted beds and sofa cum beds as we are also getting a huge demand for these products. Soon we are planning to launch a line of apartment friendly living room furniture, which would work well for places like Mumbai, Bangalore etc.

Saurabh:We want to take one step at a time and go in for an organic growth. Our focus right now is to provide the best product and shopping experience to our customers through visualizations and providing as many details about the product as possible. Ideally we would want to open brick and mortar stores as well in major cities for our customers to touch and feel the products. We are also tying up with a few stores that will stock and display our products in major cities so that the customers can experience the product and buy it instantly if they wish to. As of now we ship samples of our fabrics to our customers so that they could get the feel of the fabrics.

As you have probably noticed we at The Purple-Yellow Beetle :)  love Rajasthan, so cant help but ask -what do YOU love about Rajasthan?
We love Rajasthan too! It is never short of inspiring you as a state. Whether it is the heritage of the city, the colors, the havelis and gharans or people on the street. Everything is inspiring. We decided to shift our base to Jaipur as this beautiful city, a city with a soul, is so rich in design and traditions and yet developing at the right pace. Jaipur is also one of the hubs of furniture manufacturing industry besides Jodhpur. Both these cities also have the skilled artisans, including some of them who have been working for the Royalty for generations, creating beautiful upholstered handcrafted furniture.

'A city with a soul!' We could’nt agree more! Thank you for sharing your story with us Shweta and Saurabh. We look forward to experiencing the skilled craftsmanship of Rajasthan and walking down Gulmohar lane with you.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Mid-week mood#8: Over the rainbow!

When Judy Garland sang 'over the rainbow' in the 1939 movie Wizard of Oz, I doubt she imagined that one day this proverbial 'rainbow' would become the symbol of gay pride all over the world and the elusive pot of gold at the end would come in the form of a supreme court ruling. If FB profile pictures are anything to go by, everybody, regardless of their orientation is over the 'rainbow' with joy after last weeks ruling. So it is but natural that this week's mood board would mirror this euphoria. And what better way to express our joy than with a riot of colour and these gorgeous design and decor elements from across the globe.

This week, lets celebrate the freedom of choice, freedom of expression, freedom of spirit and the freedom to love, in the only way we know ! Lets celebrate with color! Lets celebrate pride!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Artist's corner: Geninne's art

New Mexico located in the southwestern region of the United States was admitted to the union as the 47th state in 1912. Inhabited by the indigenous people of the Americas for many centuries before European exploration, New Mexico was subsequently part of the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, it was part of Mexico before becoming a U.S. territory and eventually a U.S. state.

 New Mexico or Nuevo México in Spanish, is often incorrectly believed to have taken its name from the nation of Mexico. However, New Mexico was given its name by Spanish explorers who believed the area contained wealthy Indian cultures similar to those of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire.

The earliest New Mexico artists whose work survives today are the Mimbres Indians, whose black and white pottery could be mistaken for modern art, except for the fact that it was produced prior to 1130.

The capital city of New Mexico, Santa Fe has several art museums and is teeming with art galleries. It is home to many artists and writers and boasts of a large thriving artistic community. In August, the city hosts the annual Santa Fe Indian market, which is the oldest and largest Native American art showcase in the world.

So today we travel to sunny New Mexico which is also home to Geninne Zlatkis who lives with her husband Manolo, their two very creative boys & a cute border collie named Turbo in Sante Fe. She was born in New York but shortly after, her parents began traveling around South America, where she lived in seven different countries and went to several English speaking schools. 

Her love for arts and crafts began at a very early age. She started drawing when she was two years old and it continued to be her favorite activity through her childhood and teenage years. She studied architecture in Chile for a couple of years before graduating as a graphic artist in Mexico.

Geninne works with a variety of media, including watercolor, ink and pencil. She sews, embroiders and loves to hand carve rubber stamps. She loves birds, flowers, and has an ongoing romance with photography since she was 15. Her inspiration comes primarily from nature and it is the driving force behind her work. She has no formal training in watercolor which helped her develop her unique quriky style of painting. 

    You can buy Geninne's work here : http://geninne.etsy.com

     All pictures are copyright of  http://www.geninnesart.com

Sources: 12

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

LUST LIST: Basket case

Are you running out of ideas for a feature wall? Have you done it all –a picture wall, a plate wall, a wall with a display of masks? Relax! You can always count on the bug and me to come to your rescue. So take a deep breath, pour yourself a glass of wine, put your feet up on the couch and read on. 

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the ‘basket case’. A wall with baskets displayed on it adds a whimsical twist to your décor. You can use an assortment of baskets that you may have collected on your travels or a particular kind in varying shapes, sizes and colors. 

Today, I am lusting after these African baskets, more specifically the Swazi baskets. These highly collectible baskets are handmade in Swaziland from sisal fibers. Weavers take an average of 30 hours to create an 8 inch basket which makes these one of the most labor intensive of all African baskets.

Only around two dozen master weavers are capable of weaving baskets larger than 8 inches in diameter. Each large basket is a unique creation that is not repeated. The complex and intricate patterns are done without any planning or mathematical calculations. A natural talent for weaving one-of- a-kind patterns is a prerequisite for all master weavers.

While I am going bananas over these baskets and itching to buy them here and here, I am also longing to wander. Wait-a-minute!....... Do I hear the call of the wild!...... Already!..... I know I’ll be on the look out for these baskets when ‘the bug’ takes me to Africa. What about you?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

SKY is the limit!

What happens when a Bandra boy meets a Lucknow girl at one of the premier design schools in the country?....... They conceive one of the most ingenious paper product brands in the country. Probably the only one of its kind!

Sky goodies is a brand inspired by geometry, paper and India's myriad colorful street art forms. The creative team behind the brand led by Misha Gudibanda, a Graphic & Communication Designer and Amit Gudibanda, an Industrial designer specializing in Product Design, strives to create products they are proud of. Which essentially translates into products that are not only visually appealing but also have utilitarian value and a kitschy whimsical charm. I posed a few questions to Misha about the story behind the brand and their journey so far and here’s what she had to say. Take it away Misha!

How did the idea for this venture originate?

We, Amit and I, had been building Sky Design (www.skydesign.in) since 2006, and had been working on large corporate projects. While the company was doing well and growing, we yearned in our hearts to make products that create value for users and were fun for us to make, too. We zeroed in on handmade gifts, as they have a high emotional value due to the effort that has been put into making them.

In 2013, we incorporated Sky Goodies and started experimenting with paper to create products that would make people happy. We listed the first few DIY templates on Etsy.com, and got a fabulous response from customers all over the world. Our typewriter calendars, in particular, were featured on Colossal, Babble and Etsy blogs and got us a lot of traffic. We started manufacturing DIY kits with pre-printed, pre-cut and pre-creased sheets; the idea was to make them so easy to put together, without using scissors or knives, that anybody could experience the joy of making. Later we introduced new collections like the Doodle planners, which were not DIYs, but still evoked a smile.

Why paper products?

Paper is a simple and common material, and very versatile. We want to make art approachable, affordable and fun, not uptight. Paper was the medium of choice because of its economy and vast potential to be molded into any form. It is easy to carry and store, and safe, too. The process of turning a flat surface into different objects is magical. We wish everybody could enjoy it.

DIY is all the rage in India and abroad. What's your take on DIY paper crafts and the DIY phenomenon

DIY has always been there, though people are rediscovering the joy and power of making. Making anything can be an immersive activity, where one can forget their stresses and focus on the task of making, and experience the joy of creating something of value. For both children and adults, it is social, enjoyable and challenging. We are surrounded by digital devices and live in the age of 'undo' and instant gratification. DIY takes us back to the simple joys of getting our hands dirty. For kids, DIY enhances motor skills, understanding of materials and tools, the ability to follow instructions and the ability to deal with failure. At Sky Goodies, we make intricately illustrated DIY kits which combine our love of paper and hand-painted art, and are colorful and bright. All our products have some use and we hope they bring a smile to people's faces.

Whats the story behind the name- SKY goodies?

'Sky' comes from our first company, Sky Design, which we founded in 2006. (We always loved and craved the vast blue endless sky, and also wanted a name that was easy to remember.) 'Goodies' is what the products are. We called them ‘Goodies’, because they are a visual treat (we hope!) and good enough to collect and use. 'Goodies' is also what our friends call us (short for our last name, Gudibanda).

What next for the brand? - Future plans/ products/ what can we expect to see?

We are working on entirely new product ranges in both DIY and non-DIY categories. The website is also going to have some new experiences and offerings, a lot of which will be free to use. You can expect to see these developments this year. Our own shop will also be opening very soon, off Carter Road, Mumbai.

The sheer ingenuity of these color happy goodies on offer at SKY will bowl you over. The Goodies truck, camera photo frame and typewriter calendars are my personal favorites. ‘We have had many adventures over 8 years of working together and we don't believe in working late nights’, enthuses Misha. Well Misha, I hope you have many more creative adventures in store for you and we get to see many more interesting products from this team that is bursting at the seams with their boundless creativity and enthusiasm for design. Thank you for sharing your story with us Misha !

You can get your SKY goodies here: www.skygoodies.co

Sunday, 21 June 2015

My Daddy strongest

Despite many attempts on my father's part to get me to practice yoga, I finally gave it a serious shot in my adult life only about 4 years ago. Prior to that I believed that I did'nt have the temperament required for yoga and I was more of a cardio and weights kinda gal. All my initial apprehensions were put to rest within a month of commencing my Yoga lessons. At this point I  have to mention that this can be largely attributed to my wonderful teacher who came home thrice a week and is one of the most inspiring and motivating  'trainers' I have worked with. Since then yoga has not only helped me lose weight but has also helped me resolve many of my health related issues. So I now have to grudgingly admit that Dad is always right! Myyyy Daddyyy strongest!

 Today happens to be world yoga day as well as father's day and I cant help but draw parallels between Yoga and fathers, more specifically mine. So I am listing down ways in which yoga has rescued me in the past few years in the same ways that Dad has for the past 3 decades.

Fitness-My father being an army man gives a lot of weightage to fitness and has always encouraged us to pursue a sport, exercise regularly and eat healthy. His mantra - only if you work hard at keeping fit, can you party hard. Well, you can't argue with that! :)

Anxiety decreases- Once you start practicing yoga on a regular basis you will realize that it plays a huge part in reducing stress and anxiety. It will help achieve a state of tranquility that you never imagined was possible. Much like my dad who is one of the calmest people i know. There are very few things in life that are capable of disturbing this zen-like contagious, calmness that he exudes.

Improves Emotional stability - At every point in life when I have been faced with emotional turmoil, dad has managed to restore a sense of  balance and security.

Creativity increases- My dad always manages to come up with the most ingenious solutions to most problems in life.

Gain clarity and peace of mind- Dad has always helped me put things in perspective with his logical reasoning and practical advice, in the process putting my mind to rest about whatever it is that is bothering me at the time.

Helps you relax- My Dad is one of the most entertaining and exuberant people I know and has a knack of making people relax and feel at ease around him. He believes the only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it and that having a sense of humor is very essential to survival.

Problems become smaller- Last but not the least and one that I am sure most of you can relate to- I believe all fathers are a combination of superheroes and magicians, who make the most daunting of circumstances seem like a walk in the park,  thus making all your problems disappear.

So if you can't get your dad to wear a cape :) , buy him one of these dandy accessories (above) that I have specially curated for Father's Day. The bar accessories are from one of my favorite brands- Happily unmarried and the drool-worthy vintage finds are from The Gentleman's community. Do check them out here and here. Happy Fathers Day! Stay fit, stay strong and make your Daddy proud!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Buntings & Baloons

I always squeal with child like glee at the sight of buntings and baloons. There is something about them that fills me with joy and excitement.  It reminds me of simpler times from childhood- birthday parties, carnivals, cotton candies, giant wheels and roller coasters.  If Buntings evoke similar emotions in you, you're gonna love this post. There are many ways in which you can incorporate buntings in your decor. Here are a few tips on how to:
-If your decor space uses only 2-3 colors, you could pick a monochrome bunting  in any one of theses colors.

-If you dont want to use a monochrome colour in such a space make sure the colour palette of your bunting complements the colour palette that you have used to do up your space. 

-while using monochrome buntings make sure to use a contrasting background(the wall or curtain over which you hang up your bunting).

-If you're space uses mutliple colors you could use colurful, flowery, printed buntings.

-while using printed buntings make sure you hang it up on a plain or contrasting background for maximum impact.
- If you want to incorporate buntings in a formal space or a space that utilizes muted colours, you could use buntings in white, beige, brown shades.

-You can hang buntings over your curtains, on a wall or you could hang a smaller one over a door.
-your bunting must complement the general mood of your decor space

- Dont restrict the use of buntings to your child's room and think of how you can incorporate it in other areas of your home- porch, bedroom, diniing room, living room or even your kitchen. 

Buntings are not meant for carnivals and birthday parties alone.With a littile imagination you can use them in your home as well and turn everyday into a celebration-a celebration of life. Now off you go, indulge the child in you and bring some bunting love into your home.