A collection of block prints and an array of weaves are on show from today
Deepa Sharma: `There is always room for consistent quality and a creative restatement of traditional aesthetics.' Photo: K. Gopinathan
HER LIFE sounds pretty romantic. Nomadic even. Imagine travelling all over India combing the countryside for gifted Indian traditional artisans working on exotic weaves and prints. Deepa Sharma once stopped a man on the outskirts of Jodhpur as he washed a beautifully block-printed fabric on the riverbank, and persuaded him to print for her!
Today, her collection Arankri boasts some unique ikats, telia rumals, Pochampallis, kalamkaris, Chettinads, Maheshwaris, Bagh prints. Salwar kurtas, saris, dupattas, bed and cushion covers, menswear and handwoven fabric form the range of her label in Delhi. A strong believer in the traditional weaves and prints, Deepa is not willing to do fusion. "A craftsman once told me the traditional doesn't sell beyond a point. But I believe that youngsters today are enamoured by the old bhuttas. The sari too has made a comeback in a big way," says Deepa, who's in Bangalore to hold an exhibition of Arankri's line.
Pure fabrics, true work
Arankri features pure fabrics either cotton or silk. "I don't do mixed fabrics or fusion printing. The best of designs come from the heart. I have no training in handlooms. It's something instinctive," says this vivacious woman who stumbled upon her love for India's rich fabric tradition, when she accompanied her husband, a social scientist, on his travels. "Most of us recognise that crafts tradition furnishes an enormous range of beautiful designs. Arankri belives that the tradition of crafts also provides for continuous innovation and creativity. But creativity and innovation in this context has meaning only if they remain true to their origin."
In a world of international labels and big brands selling ethnic Indian wear, it may not be so easy for a woman, not even selling out of a store, to promote traditional wear. "The market has many big brand names, I agree. But I do believe that there is always room for consistent quality, and a creative restatement of traditional aesthetics."
Present and elaborate
"Arankri's effort is to promote the work of artisans who practise their crafts within the matrix of tradition." The success for her clothing line prompted her to finally set up shop in her home in Delhi. "The word Arankri simply means to present and elaborate."
Arankri comes to Bangalore with a collection by master craftspersons of Bagh bock prints, block prints from Rajasthan, hand embroidered kurtas, saris with rare block prints and exquisite weaves from Orissa and Maheshwar, silk saris from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and appliqué bed covers. The kurtas range from Rs. 450 to Rs. 750 and the saris, from Rs. 500 to Rs.5000.
The Arankri exhibition will be on at Safina Plaza, Infantry Road, from September 9 to 12, 10.30 a.m. onwards. Deepa Sharma can be reached in Delhi on 011-29225199 or 98680-46744.
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