Ode To Abu

Saturday, 9 February 2013


So aptly named. This exhibition has become a regular fixture on Chennai's exhibition circuit. Majority of the sellers here offer handmade artsy & craftsy stuff made by them; some of them are retailers. Name it a craft marketplace or showcase, it truly unifies people who love handmade items. Craft workshops are also conducted during these events.

I love all things bright and beautiful, be they suncatchers, mirrorwork and embroidered edges on cloth, fragrant herbal soaps, handmade paper products, cute gardening stuff and of course every woman's favourite - jewellery! All these and more dominated the ongoing exhibition at Gallery Sri Parvati, Eldams Road, Alwarpet. This is a lovely 81 year old heritage home, now operating as an art gallery.

Greeted at the entrance (although you have to go to the right side of the heritage building and enter the exhibition through the backyard) by beautiful planters, lots of green shrubs and cute terracotta animal-shaped pots, is The Little Green Shop. The caricature artist had his head constantly bent down and focussed on creating portraits of all the visitors.

Next up is Cafe Homemade with vantage point location. You cannot possibly NOT pick something up from here, either while entering or exiting this exhibition. Home-bakers Anusha Kaushik of Delicioso & RoseAnn George of Oven 180Degrees are offering Dulce de Leche Brownies, good ole Date & Walnut cakes, Olive & Rosemary Crackers, Spinach & Corn Sandwiches and a whole load of scrumptious eats.

Care for a coloured candy? Albeit spelt KG style :P

There are about 6 stalls that follow where the tables are placed in a U-shape. Some of these are handwoven linen from Cannanore - A Lore From A Loom (such a dreamy name), colourful and decorative plastic totes from ReWeave, cloth bags made by prisoners of Yerawada Jail from Ecoexist, and Dokra metalwork from Punarnawa Crafts.

This cute fella welcomed visitors by trumpeting his sweet presence.

Animal lovers were not forgotten at the ecofriendly stall. The Gandhi Cloth Bag vied with the one below to tug at your heart strings.

Eye-catching handmade giftwrap paper and pretty raw silk borders welcomed visitors into the cool confines of the building.

Then come the stalls that most women would make a beeline for: jewellery and clothes.

This lovely mirror caught my attention...and also my camera's reflection!

Designer blouses and sarees at the corner stall.

As one steps out of the corridor, one is greeted by vibrant colour all around and smiles from the host of participants here. This rectangular room showcases around 7 tables. Auroville products such as handmade soap, organic baby oil and lip balms dominate the 1st table on the right.

They can also be bagged and gifted like so:

Crafted photo frames and jewellery from Krimasha follow. The name of the venture is an amalgamation of her name, her sister's and her father's names.

Pretty woman Nandita Vijayan's table is dotted with the prettiest glass pieces in various shapes, sizes and colours. From suncatchers to jewellery, her time-consuming art and craft are truly unique.

Chinanshu's thread trinkets make one gasp in wonder at their beauty and creativity.

Hair accessories for the young and the young at heart from NTwenty up next.

Chitra Dorairaj's Food for Life program is protected and supported by her brand's famous cocktail finger rings and umbrella jhumkas.

CBC member Bhushavali offers ecofriendly handlooms at the corner table. As you step out into the open portico area screened by sheer curtains, there are stalls with quaintly shaped gift boxes and yummy fruit-flavoured preserves. Hop and skip up the rather narrow winding staircase and enter the cool confines of an A/C room. A welcome break from the heat. Origami enthusiasts Kartik & Subash cheerfully take you through their labour of love. Many of the figures are made from a single sheet of paper. Check out the maze below. Paper folding art at its best.

The ever-popular Lord Ganesha and other historical creatures from the animal kingdom.

These guys looked like they were ready to giddy-up off the pedestal they were placed on.

Still butterflies, not live, but not pinned either.

Swans in tissue paper.

The ones below reminded me of Rio de Janeiro's famous statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched arms towering over the city. 

The inner room brightens up with the last handcrafted item of the day. 

Trees made from beads and baubles and pretty danglers. Wire and beads painstakingly twisted into this work of art to pretty up your living or working space.

Saving the best for the last, this glass lamp by Lamps & More is a true stunner. Do visit the exhibition to satiate the craftsperson alive within you. If not, awaken him/her and appreciate the beauty and dexterity of all things handmade! 

Timings 10am-8pm. Last day, 9th February.


Had to go back! After viewing my own pics, I was so tempted that I went back the next day :D 

The previous day I clicked whatever caught my fancy. Was also rather focussed on the 'reporting' bit and didn't really do much shopping. Shocking? But then, one has come a long way from attending tons of craft bazaars and returning with enough to conduct my very own mela! ;-)

Had spotted this pretty piece the previous day but was surprised to see that it was still available. Lucky me though, it now occupies a pride of place in my closet. A vibrant ankle trinket from Paarisha by Chinanshu.

The lady at ENiK's Jewel Craft said a lot of people came to her stall asking to buy the elephant mirror, after seeing my blogpost! Haha! What's up with people who "ass-ume"! ;) Read the label on the table, people! It was a jewellery stall. The elegant mirror was a beautiful touch to be used by shoppers to check themselves out in the mirror while trying on Enik's glamorous and gorgeous jewellery! 

I also picked up food from the bakers table...Apple Pie, Bell Pepper & Corn Cheese Sandwiches, Chilli Cheesy Herb Crackers and a Broccoli & Corn Quiche. All YUMMO! The quiche was so succulent, dreamy, creamy, utterly satiating...and I could go on! All from Delicioso, baked by the pretty Anusha Kaushik. Must feature her on this blog soon :-)

Must mention Thamima, who was gracious, friendly and had a big smile...no sign of fatigue at the end of  a 2 day craft market show! She was ready to unpack her stock just to let me taste some of her goodies. I had to refuse of course and picked up her business card. She makes fruit preserves, jams and chutneys. Must try them soon.

Punarnawa's simply stunning iPad embroidered cover grabbed my attention on my way out. The young entrepreneurs were packing up their stock and winding up their stall. They mentioned this was one of the top ten designs of India!

With a heavy heart, I bade goodbye to this lovely craft marketplace. 

And so it was curtains (aren't these sheer ones lovely!) for the 10th Edition of By Hand, From The Heart. 

Hope to see more artisans and craftspersons displaying their amazing wares soon!


  1. Ah, Sumita, why does all this happen when I'm not around. I'm a sucker for handmade stuff, esp, jewellery, home decor and cloth bags. The jhumkas were so beautiful that I would've bought them without a second thought. All you lovely people come into contact only when I'm far away. Now, I can't wait to come to Chennai and meet you and some other fantastic people.

    Your posts are a delight. You bring alive the whole room in your post. I could exactly imagine every single thing/stall by your detailed description.

    Joy always,

  2. Dear Susan, such a lovely comment! Thank you SOOOO much! And also for coming by and reading :-) Maybe you should think about organising such a fair in Goa, what say? :D Quite likely that BHFTH would have its next show happening around your next trip here, so hope you get to visit it then! Awaiting your arrival so we can finally meet :-)