Monday, November 12, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Spreading light and happiness...

I have a little ritual of picking up new diyas every Diwali. 
A pair of whatever catches my fancy. 
So when I saw these ceramic sunflower diyas flooding the markets in Bangalore last year, I bought a few.
They sat snug in one of the cartons that transported them to Minnesota, until I rediscovered them and decided to do something with them. So that forms the first part of the story.

During our various travels across India, we also have a quirky ritual of checking out hardware stores in small towns. 
Yes, hardware stores:-)
For ceramic tiles. The local hardware store will always have some interesting local, folk, cultural design  representative of the state or region.
So during our last trip to Kutch, Gujarat. We picked up few tiles in Bhuj.
 Some pretty peacock motifs on tiles.

Shubh-Labh written in Gujarati, Devnagari script.  Shubh- Labh along with Swastika symbol denotes auspiciousness, profit and prosperity. 
So it just felt so appropriate to use it for my Diwali decoration.

Some fresh Chrysanthemums snipped from my birthday bouquet. Some lovely cylindrical candles.

The real and the ceramic flower combination works well for me:-) 

Pulled out a cane placemat that seemed to compliment the browns of the ceramic diyas, played around with the composition.

The peacocks seemed very happy to be in the company of fresh flowers and candles. 

These would make an interesting setting on a table where you plan to entertain guests during Diwali or at the entrance to usher your guests in.

So let your creativity flow, spread loads of happiness and light this Diwali season!

Wishing all of you a very Happy, Prosperous & Safe Diwali.

(Images and Styling by Arch)

Check out the complete compilation of Diwali Decorating Ideas & Inspiration on 
Rang Decor Facebook Page.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Channapatna Swirl: Varnam.

Rang Decor has seen Karthik Vaidyanathan share his creative space with it's readers, start his new venture Varnam~ Colors for your home and now he is back with his full fledged exhibition showcasing traditional crafts of Channapatna that are made relevant in today's times and have a strong utilitarian value in our everyday life.

'Gubbi Series' Paper weights.

The 'Channapatnaiks' bottle stoppers.

'Kuruvi Series' Paper Roll Dispenser.

Karthik states, "It was over two years ago, on a road trip to Mysore, when I had stopped by at a little toy-shop along the streets of this little town called Channapatna. I came away fascinated. Little did I know then, that I would be so closely linked with this beautiful craft form in the coming years."

Kuruvi Series' Wall Hooks.

'Four Little Chefs' Napkin and Card Holder.

'Three Little Piggies on a bus' hanger.

Salt & Pepper Shakers.

Varnam, his own social enterprise has been working with a group of talented crafts-women (for over a year now) to try and revisit this craft that was traditionally known for making toys. 

Do drop by and see these vibrant Channapatna beauties at 
The Channapatna Swirl~ Re-imagining the Channapatna Craft.
at Showcase @ No.1 Shanthi Road, Bangalore.
on October 19th to 21st, 2012
11 am to 8 pm and the grand opening on 18th October at 6.30 pm.

You can also join Varnam's Event page on Facebook.

(Images by Varnam)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


It's all about this blushing metal. Copper.

Coppre is a creative collaboration between the 'Tambat' craftsmen in Maharashtra and Rashmi Ranade, a product designer from Industrial Design Centre, IIT Powai and Sir JJ School of Architecture. 
Coppre works with the craftspeople, by modernizing their products for contemporary sensibilities thereby making the old relevant in the new. 

Inspiration from nature...
Rashmi draws inspiration from  interesting objects she picks up during her long walks like palm leaves, castor leaves, peepal leaves and lotus buds.

Castor leaf tea lights.

Nature Inspired floater.

Copper Pod tealights.

Peepal Leaf.

"The legacy of the Tambat craftspeople who handcraft Coppre's products dates back to the 17th century when they were invited to Pune by the Peshwas when Shivaji set up the city as the capital city of the Maratha Empire.

When the Tambat craftspeople migrated from Konkan to Pune, they formed their settlement in Kasba Peth, an already established nucleus of old Pune. Their precincts came to be known as Tambat Ali (Ali:precincts). These narrow and dusty alleys of Tambat Ali where the timeless sound of metal-hammers clang on copper, have remained pretty much the same as they were almost 300 years ago.

From making armour, coins, canons, copper utensils, ritual wares for the Peshwa rulers, the craftspeople embraced the culinary and ritual needs of Maharashtrian communities and crafted traditional products such as utensils and puja items."~Coppre

Coppre and Light...
This series shows the interplay of light and the reflective metal.
Circle of light tea lights.

Hurricane lamps.

‘Matharkaam’ or beaten work is the distinguishing feature of Tambat craft. The hand-beaten indentations, made by profiled beating hammers, strengthen the object and enhance the inherent rich surface by imparting a mirror-like appearance. It is a skill intensive craft and needs strength, dexterity and a keen hand-foot-eye coordination.
~ Coppre

Reflecting the old in the new...
Drawing inspiration from old traditional vessels, Rashmi has created a modern twist to her Grandmother's trinket box and her mother's Meditation Urlis.

Chip Dip Platter.

Meditation Urlis.

Trinket Boxes.
The bedside Water carafes designed, have drawn inspiration from the ayurvedic practice of drinking water stored in copper vessels. 

This craft started dwindling due to loss of patronage by the Peshwas, mechanization, many bans imposed during British Rule and more recently the changing traditions, rising copper prices and the convenience offered by other materials has reduced the number of families practicing this craft to a small number.

Traditional Tambat Products...
Here are some beautiful traditional Tambat products made today.
Water Jug.

Modak (Dumplings) Steamer.

Water Container.

This art of beaten copper metal brings in aesthetics as well as functionality.

Kudos to Rashmi and her team at Coppre and supported by INTACH & Forbes Marshall for this grand effort in keeping this diminishing craft alive and supporting the Tambat Craftspeople.

You can check out their Facebook page here or email them at

(Images from Coppre)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


One weekend while exploring France Avenue in Minneapolis I stopped in my tracks when I looked above to see a board framed by the backdrop of clear blue sky and fluffy clouds.
Before the family could turn back to see where I had disappeared, I had pushed the door open into a store that I had followed online for years: Anthropologie.

What I have liked about Anthropologie has been their vibrant design with a prominent global flavor.

Anthropologie is an American brand owned by Urban Outfitters, Inc. based in Philadelphia. It caters to women looking for unique, one-of-a-kind design.
The store display of shabby-chic meets rustic style was very impressive. Old brick floor, distressed wooden planks, textures on the wall. Vintage metal signboards.

Couldn't resist a close up of the colorful tea mugs that seem to filter the natural window light and gleam in the yellow store lights.

Funnel-shaped ceiling display near the cash counter.

Design books on display.
Ceramic jars.
Was amazed by the fusion of global influences. Most of the time saw a familiar name when I turned to check from which country the products were from:-)

 Pretty earrings display.

Also saw a copy of 2012 Design*Sponge Newspaper at the store.

(Images by Arch)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Minnesotan Ganesh Chaturthi....

I was overtaken by a huge wave of 'festive nostalgia' as I posted a photograph of our last years eco-friendly Ganesha on Facebook this morning. Instead of basking in it too long I decided to celebrate my favorite God and festival the Minnesotan way!

Rummaging through drawers I found a small packet of sandalwood powder tablets that I seem to have brought from India along with few incense sticks.

Thus in the late afternoon today in my kitchen I decided to mould my dear Ganesha with fragrant sandalwood powder, turmeric and water and captured the process to share with all of you.

The paste took form gradually...

...and a pebble forms His throne.

Peppercorns and cloves...

Vibrant colours enhance the features...

I 'paint my prayers' on a pebble and offer it to the Lord.

In the absence of my favorite Frangipanis I offer Him flora from here, a few pine cones, acorns and grass from my front yard.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi from Minnesota! May Lord Ganesha remove all your obstacles and shower his blessings on all of you!

P.S. The readers who entered in the Artnlight Blog Anniversary Giveaway, do stay tuned as Vineeta Nair announces the winner on 19th September, 2012.

(Images by Arch)