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Is there anyone here who lives in Indira Nagar? There’s a reason I love the place : it’s a powerhouse of creative people who make lovely pottery and murals that makes you stop and take notice. Madhu Chandrika, an alumnus of Chitra Kala Parishath, is one such artistic lady – the person behind Earthen Symphony.

Earthen Symphony is hidden away from the much-happening 100 ft. road, though not quite far from it. It’s another sad story that beautiful bungalows and single shops on 100 ft. road have given way to swanky global retail brands like Guess.

The store stocks a impressive collection of pottery, lamps, storage boxes, Ganeshas, shades, mirrors, furniture and glass top stools. Prices range from Rs.350 for small pots and go all the way up to 40,000 for large mural installations. The wall pieces are available from Rs.1,100.

What impresses me in such stores is that the owner has an interesting story behind every piece. And it’s hard to miss the positive energy and passion of the person flowing through. All pieces are handmade at her workshop in Banaswadi.

I kept staring at every pot, clicking pictures from different angles and felt it over and over for its texture. Images of Confluence keep flashing in my mind when I see these murals. Shades or orange, brown and red are favorites among potters. But what sets Earthen Symphony apart is a whole range of things you can gift someone or deck up your home with. I didn’t see any nameplates in particular but I’m sure you can get it custom made.

Did you notice the Ganesha mural and the black and white pot?

Hope you all had a good long weekend. “dress your home” turned 1 on July 1st; so we’re officially a year-old now, and I’m taking small baby steps in growing this blog. I’ve decided to continue with the store tours as it gives me immense satisfaction to sift through dozens of home decor stores, decide which one fits in with my philosophy of serving a purpose, finally followed by the actual visit.

Last Saturday, I went to Namma Angadi which means “Our shop” in Kannada. Located in LB Shastri Nagar off Vimanapura, it’s a non-assuming, stone-walled building in a neighborhood most of us never would have a reason to go to. Anjula and Girish were quite helpful in helping me navigate down the narrow, winding roads from Old airport road to Namma Angadi. Namma Angadi is a marketing platform for traditional arts and crafts made by young workers in Kundapura, who were formerly child workers. It is promoted by a NGO called “The Concerned for Working Children.”

Above-18 workers are trained in various trades such as tailoring, embroidery, pottery, painting and weaving at the “Namma Bhoomi” vocational training center in Kundapura every year. The products made here are then marketed and sold through exhibitions held across Karnataka all around the year.

I know we’ve all read how everyday things like newspaper, wood and coconut can be reused to make interesting products. But doing is another ball game altogether? Seeing these colorful bags made from remaining pieces of cloth used for making kurtas rekindled the DIY blood in me. I was like, “Wow. This is nice, especially the door mat.” It’s so easy to discard things we don’t use, and here someone thought about making a nice, environment-friendly bag and selling it for under Rs.100. If only we refused those plastic stinkers at More/Reliance Fresh and used these cloth and jute bags for grocery shopping, they would have a future and the world would be a better place to live in.

Are you also fond of Jute bags like me? I fall for the color, the texture, the ease of use and the style. After all, there’s very little one can go wrong with here, right :) Namma Angadi stocks a huge variety of these bags in different shapes and sizes. These would make for great gift items.

Nestled in the by-lanes of Indira Nagar is a studio named “Glasscrafters“. Glasscrafters was started by Asad Hajeebhoy originally in 1991 in Bombay, followed by a four year stint in Muscat, Oman,and finally at Bangalore in 1996.  A physicist by education, Asad pursued stained glass as a hobby to take it up full-time in 1996.

Contrary to most Indian interior decor sites, Glasscrafters is well-designed replete with product pictures, portfolio, and course and service offerings. But, I still prefer to visit any studio/store in person to feel the pulse of the place.

A brief chit-chat on last Wednesday evening with Asad on art of stained glass was an eye-opener for me.  Tucked away from the hustle-bustle of 80 feet road,  Asad’s studio-cum-home is a flurry of activity with clients walking in, a designer working on some new project, materials spewn around, and finally, Asad talking about his passion for stained glass totally unfazed by his surroundings.  He demystifies the common perception that stained glass art is painting done on glass. In reality, there is no painting. Stained glass works are actually different pieces of colored glasses joined together with a copper foil to create a jigsaw-like piece of work.

According to Asad, his business broke even within 3 months of starting. Initially, he got his assignments primarily through references. The fact that there were no suppliers of stained glass materials in India back then made it a challenge. Mainly people who lived abroad placed an order for a specific piece. They brought the glass and materials with them for Asad to create. Word spread and now Glasscrafters has a impressive portfolio of over 2,000 projects. 90% of them are residential including some well-known ones such as Rishi Kapoor’s Mumbai residence.

A wide ranged of glasses are used such as wavy, wispy, opalesecent for the swirls and streaks, cathedral, streaky, textured, baroque, antique, and jewel.

A decade later, things have changed for the better. Glasscrafters is now a stockist for Spectrum glass.  The amount of  work involved in making every piece is mind-boggling. So, there’s nothing called a bulk order. A single piece or 100 pieces, to create each piece, small pieces of different colored glasses will have to be cut individually and joined together.