Monday, November 5, 2012

The Handmade Collective—III

Yesterday, the curtains came down on The Handmade Collective—III.  The festival transformed itself into a vibrant, colorful, interactive and exciting celebration, throbbing with creative energy. It became the talk of the town for full 5 days that saw determined foot-falls through rain & shine.

Everyone went back home happy & with a piece of every artist’s heart and soul embedded in the handmade treasures.

The chain of A Hundred Hands is abuzz with the excited chatter of what the festival offered. Everyone seems to be waiting for the opportunity Diwali provides to flaunt their homes & forms with art, craft, apparels, jewelry, furnishings, lamps & what have you!

One found not just the expected but the unexpected too! For me, the most memorable incident of The Handmade Collective—III was the incredible joy & surprise of bumping into a childhood friend after 22 years! I was on say, my 13th round of the stalls on my 2nd visit on Day 4 when I heard a voice cry out my name with a look of uncertainty AND certainty. And to our disbelief & joy, we both realized it wasn’t a case of mistaken identity!

As promised, The Handmade Collective –III had something for everyone and everything for some. Food, pottery, hand-woven textiles, art, jewelry, accessories, cosmetics, apparels—all bearing the stamp of exclusivity & authenticity that are the hallmark of handmade products.

The constellation of artists, art lovers, believers & buyers gathered and dispersed with a feeling of exhilaration. To continue with the mission of extending the chain of A Hundred Hands that endeavors to Innovate, Include, Interact & Inform.

                      —Blog post by Gita Venkat, volunteer, A Hundred Hands

Saturday, November 3, 2012
The best thing about The Handmade Collective is that it cuts out all the middlemen and layers between producers and buyers. It is very refreshing to not have the cold, impersonal & commercial trading style and that gives us the warm feeling of a community which makes it enriching for artists as well as buyers. Being a member of A Hundred Hands is like being a member of a large, lively, happy & bustling family. I have participated in every edition of The Handmade Collective that started in 2010. I wish we have one such event every month, not once a year!

—Varsha Rani, Founder, Praachi (Ahimsa Silk)

—Artists demonstrating & showcasing @ The Handmade Collective—III: Day 1-Day 3 (Oct 31-Nov 02, 1’2)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mughal Miniatures by Mohan Kumar Prajapati, member, A Hundred Hands.

Mohan has been painting Mughal Miniatures for over 30 years now and this is the 4th generation of his family practicing Mughal miniature painting.

There are just a handful of Mughal Miniature artists in India today. Special paper called “Vasli” is used which is created by joining 3 to 5 layers of paper with natural glue. The sheets of paper are placed on a glass sheet /marble slab and rubbed with a paper weight once the paint dries up. This ensures the colors are preserved for a long time. Traditionally, the brush used for Mughal Miniature paintings was one made of fine squirrel hair.  Today, alternative materials are used for the brush. Paper used is handmade & colors used are organic, extracted from stones and vegetables. It is for this reason that the colors remain bright & do not fade for years together. 

Mohan has incorporated the Mysore style of painting into Mughal Miniature that lends his paintings a unique and distinctive appeal.

A Rajasthan state award winner, Mohan’s works have traveled overseas. A Hundred Hands member, this is Mohan’s 3rd consecutive year at The Handmade Collective.

Meet Mohan Kumar Prajapati @ The Handmade Collective—III (Oct. 31-Nov. 04,’12). #4, Ashley Road, Off Brunton Road (Behind Hotel Ajanta), Near Trinity Metro Station, Bangalore.

                   --Blog post by Gita Venkat, volunteer, A Hundred Hands

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
A Hundred Hands is my window to reach out to the world. I live in Sagar, Karnataka which is a small, rural & agricultural town. I am an artist and understand my art but I am constrained when it comes to promoting my art to art lovers. The Handmade Collective gives me a great platform to expose my art to an art loving audience in urban areas. I see greater awareness about my art which previously was restricted to people in the Malnad region. A Hundred Hands takes care of all my worries of promoting my art & in educating my audience. This is my 2nd consecutive year at The Handmade Collective. I am eagerly looking forward to The Handmade Collective –III. —Radhakrishna Bandagadde, Hase Chitra Artist

Dazzling Diwali Lamps

Choose from a wide array of handmade Diwali lamps that come in a range of materials from different parts of the country. All @ The Handmade Collective—III (Oct. 31-Nov. 04,’12).

—> Gorgeous lampshades made of banana fiber! A brilliant innovation by members of the Chetana Trust. Beautiful merger of traditional & contemporary art. 

—>Sophisticated, elegant & beautiful contemporary stone tea light holders hand crafted & sculpted by sculptors of Shivarapatna, Karnataka. Smoothness sculpted to perfection, the natural color of the stones make them items of classic & timeless beauty.
—>Stained glass lampshades by Fodo-Ga that add a coppery glow to your living room.

—>Add a splash of colors to enliven your home with a wide range of innovative, beautiful, classy Channapatna lamps & tea lights from Varnam thatare a great mix of traditional craft & contemporary art.

—>Novel, hand made candles & hand painted diyas from Diya Foundation for that earthy look.

—>Breathtakingly beautiful, Aepan (fingernail painting) lanterns by members of the Himjoli community using the finger nail painting technique.

—>Up-cycled glass lanterns from Kabadiwali

The Handmade Collective—III (Oct. 31-Nov. 04, ‘12)will be held at #4, Ashley Road, Off Brunton Road (Behind Hotel Ajanta), Near Trinity Metro Station, Bangalore.

                     —Blog post by Gita Venkat, volunteer, A Hundred Hands

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Walk in the Clouds

A Hundred Hands and Plantation Trails by Tata Coffee Limited join hands to celebrate the festival of local handmade art & craft at The Handmade Collective-III. The association is the right meeting of minds & purpose as both organizations work towards the preservation and presentation of a new, interesting perspective to Karnataka.  And what better way to get a complete picture to any destination than a combination of Crafts, Cuisine, Culture and Countryside!

Discover Karnataka in a way that has never been presented before. Nestled in the breathtaking vistas of Kodagu (Coorg) & Chikmagalur hills, amongst endless stretches of undulating slopes of Tate Coffee estates, Plantation Trails offers a true plantation experience, truly authentic.

Live like a King. Float away into your long held fantasy of having a personalized cook and butler service. Indulge yourself with a stay at these spacious, cozy bungalows that have the right dreamy blend of heritage & modern day comforts.

Spacious, airy rooms, cozy fireplaces, Victorian furniture and an overwhelming sense of serenity – these colonial & heritage bungalows take you back to a bygone era.

The warm & cheerful staff at Plantation Trails hails from the local Plantation Families and so you get is access to great authentic local cuisine and guides who know their way around those gorgeous seemingly endless rows of coffee crop.

If you a wildlife/nature enthusiast, Plantation Trails offers you exhilarating natural & outdoor experiences such as guided bird watching tours, nature walks through coffee or tea plantations, guided jeep drive through plantations.

If you are an explorer at heart, head out trekking, rafting, walking &, exploring the trails. Or just pack a picnic basket and head out to the innumerable picnic spots dotting the landscape.

Plantation Trails offers a 9-hole golf course amidst the lush coffee plantations to the guests.

The kitchens in all the bungalows are supervised by planters’  wives that serve delicious and healthy local cuisine like the famous Pandhi Curry as well homemade delights of The British Raj. Made from fresh home grown produce, this is one destination that walks the talk on grow local, eat local.

It pays to support A Hundred Hands!

To support the cause of “handmade”, Plantation Trails has a very special offer to all supporters of A Hundred Hands. All you have to do is call Akash on 9538906911 or write to akash.deep@tatacoffee.com and say you are a Supporter of A Hundred Hands and you will get a special offer for your holiday at Plantation Trails, Coorg & Chikmagalur.

And what’s more! To celebrate Interesting Karnataka, Plantation Trails has TWO prizes up for grabs for TWO lucky families. Another great reason to visit The Handmade Collective-III.

Plantation Trails by Tata Coffee Limited offers unique Heritage and Luxury Bungalows in the Coorg and Chikmagalur areas for an authentic plantation experience.

 For more details, visit: www.plantationtrails.net

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Flour Garden

- Blog post by Keya Matthew, Flour Garden (Youngest Member, A Hundred Hands)

I don’t think I can write out in just a paragraph what kind of opportunity A Hundred Hands has given me to raise so much money and help different charities. It has given me the opportunity to try out new things, things that I’ve never tried before and realize that one can do anything one sets one’s mind out to do.

Well I can’t say it any better than a quote by Anton Ego from the movie Ratatouille-Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere.”

Now, I get what he was trying to say - an artist can come from anywhere, be any size or age but still be able to do something well. Being one of the youngest members makes me a little intimidated but also gives me a little pride in saying that someone as young as me can quite as well be doing something that is as good!

So, really I thank A Hundred Hands for giving me this ‘big break’ (as they would say), to help me realize that when some thing is shared, it brings more joy and happiness and you know - the more, the merrier! I absolutely enjoy it when there is a Fair coming up because I know then that I can try something new, experiment for a reason and just have fun with food! I can try new menus and have something different everyday because for me, this is the fun of it. But, the real joy is when I get to hand over the money to charity.

(Flour Garden will have a stall of home baked cakes & cookies @ The Handmade Collective-III (Oct 31-Nov.04, ‘12) #4  Ashley Road, Off Brunton Road (Behind Hotel Ajanta), Near Trinity Metro Station,  Bangalore.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Catch Them Young!

M-art joins hands with A Hundred Hands to make The Handmade Collective –III (Oct 31-Nov 04, ’12) a fun filled, colorful & creative carnival for children as well. Sponsored by Surf Excel & facilitated by M-art, the “Dirty Your Hands” creative workshop (that is held alongside The Handmade Collective every year), will have little ones (3+ years & above) discover & unleash the artists within over 5 full days!

An exciting, colorful journey through the world of handmade art & craft, where kids will learn to make “art from scrap” and discover the joys of handmade craft.

The ‘Dirty Your Hands” art & craft workshop encourages children to use their hands & imagination to create treasures out of materials discarded as waste in daily lives such as cartons, soap boxes, cereal boxes, plastic bottles, newspapers, shoe boxes, ice cream sticks and what have you!

Artist Mythreyi of M-art will turn little hands arty & help them create, color, design & de-stress.

Working with hands is an inherent instinct in children. Reviving the joy of handmade craft @ The Handmade Collective-III, children will turn trash into cute, beautiful & useful treasures such as photo frames, planters, desk-organizers, carry bags and what have you!

In short, children will give creative life to trash! Alongside the art and craft centre, there will also be a contest for the most innovative use of the materials provided, across age groups.

This year the focus is to encourage children to understand the basics of reusing and recycling towards a cleaner Bangalore.

For registrations, visit,https://www.facebook.com/surfexcelindia/app_281335645310093 and get your little artists in!

M-art is an art & craft learning center for children in Bangalore founded by Maithreyi Satish. The center conducts creative workshops across various themes such as art, craft, yoga & arithmetic.

The Handmade Collective -III (Oct 31-Nov.04,’12) will be held at  #4, Ashley Road, Off Brunton Road (Behind Hotel Ajanta), Near Trinity Metro Station, Bangalore.

                      —Blog post by Gita Venkat, volunteer, A Hundred Hands

Friday, October 26, 2012

Varnam: An Ode to Colorful India

Turning a doll & toy making craft into contemporary art is no child’s play. But the craftswomen of Varnam (member, A Hundred Hands) who handcraft endearingly beautiful products make it seem like they do it with ease while also reviving the joy of handmade craft.As I started to write this blog post, I realized this was no toy story! I struggled to piece words together as I kept getting lost in the delightfully colorful world of Varnam and went into raptures each time I looked at their innovations in amazement.The glossy & attractive dolls & toys of Channapatna have crawled out of the nursery and entered kitchens & living spaces!Transformed as cute & sensible products that perk up your kitchen & add a lively charm to your dining spaces.Meet Karthik Vaidyanathan, founder of Varnam (member, A Hundred Hands). Karthik veered off the beaten track to balance his job in the corporate world with his passion for traditional design, art & craft to set up Varnam, a social enterprise that has transformed & revolutionized the traditional craft of wooden toy making into a fascinating contemporary craft.Varnam trains and employs women artisans of Channapatna, a small rural town on the Bangalore-Mysore highway known for centuries for wooden toys & lacquer ware. Channapatna wooden craft is one of the most recognized craft icons of Karnataka.A story of triumph where traditional art smoothly blends with contemporary art & design while providing sustainable livelihood to the craftswomen. In an industry where more than 90% of the artisans are men, most of Varnam’s products have been handcrafted by women artisans.Each product is painstakingly handcrafted using the age-old tradition of lac-turnery.And the colors used are natural, non-toxic dyes. Loving labeled, each pack conveys a little story with clever & funny product descriptors.Adorable, the products are highly utilitarian where you see intelligent design, elegance, function & style merge perfectly. Products that leave you feeling as proud as the Scandinavians, known for their wooden handicrafts. Great souvenir & gift ideas!Proceeds from the sale of Varnam products go into the design and production of more innovative products while striving to keep the craftswomen employed.These delightfully colorful, attractive, utilitarian & beautifully handcrafted home accessories add a splash of colors & enliven your home environment. The smooth contours & finish leave no doubt about the superior quality of the products that can proudly & confidently occupy store shelves anywhere across the globe.  The designs are a beautiful blend of traditional & contemporary styles that give the products a lovely mix of ethnic & classy looks. The origin of Channapatna toy craft can be traced to the era of Tipu Sultan who invited artisans from Persia to train local artisans in the technique of lac-turnery.Lac-turnery involves several independent steps. The soft wood of the Wrightia Tinctoria tree or “Aale Mara” (in Kannada) is first turned into circular shapes by the ambidextrous use of hands, power lathes and suitable cutting tools.The turned wooden items are then lacquered by means of frictional heat. Painted lac deposits itself on the turned wood and gives it a bright and colorful appearance.

To finish the process, the lacquered piece is buffed with the leaves of the “talegiri” tree (Pandanus Odoratissimus) that gives it that glossy finish.

Dress up your home for the festive season with these icons of Karnataka.

Meet Varnam (member, A Hundred Hands) @ The Handmade Collective—III (Oct. 31-Nov. 04,’12). #4, Ashley Road, Off Brunton Road (Behind Hotel Ajanta), Near Trinity Metro Station, Bangalore.

                      —Blog post by Gita Venkat, volunteer, A Hundred Hands

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Delicate, Intricate & Elegant: Kasuti

Indian embroidery is a mélange of distinctive styles. No wonder, an Indian woman’s wardrobe is ever hungry to possess a piece of every state! Embroidery lovers are in for a treat at The Handmade Collective-III (Oct 31-Nov.04, 2012). On display will be an impressive range of Kasuti work on Ilkal saris, accessories & khadi kurtis! Take a peek at what will be showcased at the festival.Exquisite, classy, chic & elegant clutch purses at the Kai Krafts stall  that I am sure, will fly off the shelves in no time!Pair this up with an evening wear & see your style quotient shoot up.These also make great souvenir and gift ideas!

Kasuti embroidery is a unique craft of Uttara Karnataka district or North Karnataka district. Motifs of chariots, birds, animals and flowers, bearing a close resemblance to Rangoli (floor art) are typical Kasuti patterns.The famous Ilkal saris of Karnataka also owe their popularity to the fine Kasuti embroidery that adorn the saris. It is a tradition to have a couple of Kasuti saris thrown in as part of a bridal trousseau in Karnataka.Kasuti embroidery designs range from simple geometrical patterns to highly elaborate and complex designs. This delicate embroidery is done by counting the threads of the weft and the warp of the fabric.  The other unique feature of this craft is that the front and the reverse of the embroidery look the same! This craft was traditionally done and is still practiced by women. A fascinating feast for the eyes & the senses, Kasuti comes transformed in contemporary forms defining richness, style & elegance. Take home this irresistible piece of Karnataka @ The Handmade Collective-III (Oct 31-Nov 04, 2012).  #4, Ashley Road, Off Brunton Road (Behind Hotel Ajanta), Near Trinity Metro Station, Bangalore.

                   —Blog post by Gita Venkat, volunteer, A Hundred Hands

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Kitchen Pharmacy: Grow Your Own Herbs for Use in Food & Health

Keep aches & colds at bay with these simple to grow herbs commonly found in Karnataka. Nurturing a little herb garden in your backyard/balcony is not just satisfying but a clever way of administering safe & effective home remedies!

1. Doddapatre (Coleus Aromaticus): Sometimes called the Indian Borage, it is a perennial herb with fleshy, highly aromatic leaves which when finely chopped or ground may be used in salads, sauces, and chutneys. Also used to flavor meat dishes. Can be used as a substitute for oregano. Used by Gujaratis for making Bhajias (Bajjis).

Traditionally, has a range of medicinal uses, including treatment of coughs, sore throats and nasal congestion. In India Doddapatre finds use in traditional medicine, being used to treat malarial fever, renal and vesical calculichronic asthma, hiccough, bronchitis, worms, colic, convulsions, and even epilepsy. It can be applied directly on the skin in the case of ulcerations, skin allergy and wounds. The leaves also promote liver health.

Grow in a semi-shaded and moist location. Water sparingly.

Quick home remedy: For colds, mix 1 tsp leaf juice with 1tsp honey or a little sugar. Drink every morning and evening for 2-3 days. Alternatively, cook leaves and eat in the evenings for 3 days.

2.  Pippali (Piper Longum):  Also known as Long Pepper. A flowering vine of the pepper family, long pepper is used as a spice and for seasoning. It can replace black pepper in cooking, but is thought to have a more pungent, more complex, sweeter flavor.

In Ayurvedic medicine, Piper Longum is most commonly known for its benefits in the respiratory and digestive systems. Abdominal distention, flatulence, and constipation are all ailments that are said to be treatable by ingesting Pippali.

 Grow in the shade away from direct sun, and water regularly.

Quick home remedy: Take 40-60 ml of decoction of pippali 4-5 times daily for 4-5 days. Especially useful for cough with yellow sputum.

Long pepper is known to contain Piperlongumine, a compound believed to have an anti-tumor effect. The Ayurvedic texts list pippali as one of the most powerful Rasayana herbs, meaning it is believed to be a longevity enhancer and is a remedy for throat irritation. Ayurvedic medicine also considers Pippali to be very useful in a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.

 Parts used: Primarily the fruit from the catkins, root and stem.

3. Brahmi (Centella Asiatica): Also called the Indian Pennywort. A creeping herb with kidney shaped leaves Centella Asiatica grows in tropical swampy areas.  The fresh Centella plants have been used in salads, vegetable and drinks it is one of the constituents of “thandai”.

It is revered as one of the great miracle herbs of traditional medicine and has a multitude of uses. Memory enhancement, improved positive cognition function and mood elevators are some of the well documented effects. Centella Asiatica is used to revitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration and to combat aging.  In addition, a poultice of leaves can be used to treat open sores.

Grow in the shade or partial sun and water everyday.

Quick home remedyTo prepare an infusion or herbal tea of Brahmi, pour a cup of boiling water over dried or fresh Centella leaves and let it brew a few minutes before drinking.

Part used: Leaves

 4. Lolesara (Aloe Vera): A stem-less or very short-stemmed succulent plant, from the lily family. Grows  24”- 39” tall with  thick and fleshy, green leaves.

It is traditionally used to treat skin conditions, and more recently in the treatment of diabetes, elevates blood lipids in human and is effective in treating ulcerative colitis. The leaf can be broken off and directly applied to the skin for minor cuts and burns.

It needs only occasional watering. Excessive watering may result in decay of the plant. Grow in direct sunlight.

To consume orally care must be taken to scrape off the outer part and remove the yellow sap which if not done, can cause diarrhoea.

Part used: Leaves

5. Nimbe Hullu (Cymbopogon Citratus): Commonly known & recongizes as Lemongrass, the stalks of lemongrass can be chopped or pounded for use in Thai and Indian cooking. The flavor goes well in sauces, in stir fry dishes, curries, soups and with fish. It is very popular as a flavoring agent in tea.

Lemongrass aids in the recovery of common cold and flu, reducing fevers, cramps, flatulence and arthritic pain as well as aid digestion especially in children. It has been used in traditional medicine for a very long time. Researchers have found evidence that daily intake of citral can represses cancer cells and battle depression.

Citral is the main element in lemongrass, which gives it its fresh lemon scent and repels mosquitoes and other insects. It can be crushed and rubbed directly onto the skin.

 A hardy grass easy to maintain. Grow in full sun, water 3 times a week.

Part used: Leaves (crushed)

6. Kama Kasturi (Ocimum basilicum): Commonly known as Basil & sometimes known as Saint Joseph’s Wort, basil is native to India.

In Karnataka the fragrant sprigs are often sewn in jasmine (mallige) or jaaji floral strings and garlands.

Today, basil is used mainly as a culinary herb, used in sauces, gravies and salads. The seeds are a natural coolant and one of the ingredients of falooda. They are sold under many names like sabja, subja, tukmaria, takmaria and falooda seeds

It has a variety of medicinal uses: antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, carminative, febrifuge, expectorant, prevents vomiting, stimulates the adrenal cortex, soothes itching.

Grow in semi shade with bright light. Needs to be well drained soil. Water lightly everyday. Prune regularly to keep plant healthy and lush.

Chewing a couple of leaves before a meal helps to stimulate the appetite; and tea taken after a meal promotes digestion. Crushed leaves can be applied directly to sooth the skin. Do not use medicinally during pregnancy or while breastfeeding or give raw to young children or infants

Parts used: Leaves and seeds in special recipes.

                     —Blog post by Sonia Dhawan, Founder, A Hundred Hands