The Indian hearth
India is a treasure trove of ancient arts and handicrafts that flaunt superior technique. And if you’ve long-admired this artistic legacy, then it’s time to open your doors to statement pieces that reverberate with India’s creative spirit
India boasts of some of the finest arts and crafts that are revered the world over. Whether it’s furniture from Kashmir or even Gond art from Madhya Pradesh—every state has unique offerings. While contemporary design is ever popular, an India-inspired home can prove to be a refreshing change.
TRUE TO TRADITION
Blending two very distinct styles— contemporary and ethnic—might seem impossible at first, but it’s easier than it seems. The trick is to create a complementing décor scheme that strikes the right balance between the two. “Smartly integrate classical art and modern furniture into your existing décor. Create different levels and types of seating and incorporate vibrant colours and textures by way of furnishings and upholstery to create a versatile, relaxed and informal ambience, typical of an Indian traditional home,” says Natasha Jain, Co-founder, Bent Chair. Bring in a statement piece such as furniture from Kashmir, shekhawati from Rajasthan or sankheda from Gujarat and add some warmth by way of our rich and diverse textiles and fabrics. Whether it is tie and dye, hand-blocked prints, ikat, brocade, phulkari, silk or even kantha, one is spoilt for choice when it comes to textiles and fabrics that can be easily customised to create pillow covers or even throws for your sofas and chairs. “Handicrafts like kantha with its intricate thread work makes for beautiful cushion covers. Kantha thread work is one of India’s oldest embroideries dating back to over 500 years. Traditionally practised by women from West Bengal and Odisha, the artisans weave together patches from old clothes and saris, with running stitches appearing all over. The stitches depict beautiful flowers, birds, animals and geometric patterns and motifs,” explains Tanvi Sangal, Founder, Indiavaale.com.
Nothing quite reflects your personality and taste like the art that you choose to flaunt on your walls. Whether it’s Madhubani art from Bihar, Pattachitra from Odisha, Warli from Maharashtra, Kalamkari, Nirmal and Cherial scroll paintings from Andhra Pradesh or the more religious Thanjavur paintings from Tamil Nadu, each of these will add character and depth to your walls. “Framed in dark wood, a painting featuring earthy tones will complement a beige wall while one in warm Marsala tones will offset a grey wall beautifully. You can even have traditional art painted directly on your wall, furniture or doors, by a rural artisan. Gond and kalamkaari art, depicting nature and animals are the best picks as they are timeless and can adapt to changing décor styles,” says Shibani Jain, Founder, Baaya Design. Don’t limit these art forms to your walls; let them flourish in your abode by way of coasters, serving trays, and dinner and tableware that sport regional motifs and designs.
AN INDIAN NOOK
If you want to be selective about applying the theme to your décor, focus on a corner or area. Commission Kutch crafts like silver bell accents and a brass kalash, or a handmade brass door handle, suggests Jain. Do your bit in keeping these treasured arts alive, by investing in handicrafts sourced from different parts of the country. “Create a corner with colourful floor seating and light it up well to give it depth and dimension. Place pottery, a metal sculpture or a cashmere carpet for a cultural vibe,” explains interior designer Vaishnavipratima of Vaishnavipratima. Display some beautiful objets d’art across your home by way of wood, stone, bronze, metal or even brass figurines, bidriware, terracotta and blue pottery. “Silver occupies a pride of place in the repertoire of products produced in India, ranging from deities, handcrafted thali and dinner sets and other decorative products. The special embossing or pierced work is inherently Indian and symbolises our traditions,” say Deepak and Sanjiv Whorra, partners, Episode.
If an overhaul of your home seems financially daunting, we recommend a gradual upgrade that you can develop over time. Simply pick up keepsakes from your travels across the country. Alternatively, you can reuse or recycle pieces that are lying around your home, as explained by Bhavana Mishra, expert at Hobby Ideas.
❚ Use old brass and copper cookware, antique finish figurines or curios in composite arrangements paired with planters or bookends on your centre table
❚ Place copper lamps or lampshades painted or embroidered in eclectic art forms like Phad, Kashidakari,Kerala murals and more
❚ Designate one wall for a collage of Indian art
❚ Make cushion covers out of silk saris or frame a patch of an old one for your wall
❚ Recycle gardening tools like watering cans or milk cans to create flower arrangements around the house