Found lost pictures

Recently I found some pictures of jewellery made in a workshop that I had conducted in Goa some years back as part of sensitization to local ladies to the use of indigenous material.

Slideshow of pictures


Design. Lost in translation?

A few days back I visited a blog which had the conscious effort of being “made”. While the intent of the developer was clear, which was to create a design community, one particular fastidious designer had commented below why the blog wasn’t serving its purpose. While the creator of the blog was positive in taking the criticism, I’m sure too many of such comments would not have served as discouragement and criticism. By the way, this blog was Indian and that context is important.

In India, there are many factions of design community.

There are those who practice pure “design”, which means everything that is done, should be evaluated on basis of some ten point agenda that they seem to have worked out in tandem. They live by their rule and methodology; creating something that only this community can understand. It has absolutely no relation with the general mass understanding of design, if there may even be so, in India. I’d had once “shamelessly” called it the “Bauhaus” effect, which somehow felt offensive to the professor who was preaching design to our group. I couldn’t help it. Circle, triangle and simplifications of that nature, are rather alien to the evolved Indian sensibilities. We left using such symbols in the 3000 BC. Identification: they are still arguing “form vs function” debates in classrooms.

The Aesthetic or trend keepers

“It has to be Art deco”, screamed the designer, “That is the trend.”

This designer would read the latest trend reports on twitter through a built in trend identifying sensor, attend the important colour (international) conferences and maybe sleep with a few pantone colour chips under the pillow. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but it would be close to that. This faction of designers (In India) would embrace the international trends (and classics) and try to vigorously add doses of the same into the Indian market. Whether the “little black dress” has any relevance in Indian society would be lost in the translation to rapidly imitate the sensibility of foreign glossies. (I’ve been guilty of this for years too!)

The Realists

Then there is the group of realists or pragmatics. Their only agenda is cost control. Would it be cheaper to produce if the ornamentation would be done away with? Or would it be cheaper to produce if the ornamentation was there? Would it be cheaper to product if we employed a designer? Or would it be cheaper if we did away with the design process? You get what I mean…?

The Eco warrior

Eco warriors represent that class of Indian designers who have been molded to think that to design anything non biodegradable is a waste of their time on earth. Most of us are eco sensitive, but the difference is the manner in which anything that is created is deliberated as being threat to nature. This is a section, we could actually do with some more . Identification: They are generally dressed in khadi from FabIndia and paper is their favorite medium.

The Businessman-Marketeer

Here is the faction which has captivated their audience by offering “design” through a big marketing trick. Just like the over used word “innovation”, they would use “design” or “designer” as a differentiator, non-withstanding the fact that they hardly employ a design sensibility nor a designer, or their pure design methodology that the purists were so proud of.They use the term “design” or “innovation” without understanding or believing in it because it brings good business. Identification: Glossy misleading advertisements claiming design, not corroborating with the product in hand. Widespread.

Next time you buy or use something, try to evaluate what could the designer have in the mind.Then, maybe you can decide if the product you are using has been designed well or it is echoing any of the thoughts above. Maybe some, maybe all. What about the product, which just sits there silently, helping you about without making “statements”? Maybe that is the ultimately made product and kudos to its designer.

Honey Trap. Neckpiece inspired by the 70’s #movie DON.

The Wanderer


That’s Helen. Belonging to an era where the vamp was separate from the heroine in the Indian Cinema. Indian cinema seems to be celebrating 100 years this year. I happened to go through a book by film Historian Feroze Rangoonwala, in an equally quaint library in colaba, chronicling the movie history upto the current,which was then 1978. It was surprising, he gave only a picture mention in the entire book to the movie Don, of Amitabh Bacchan who was later catapulted to became a superstar. He mentioned ” a crime thriller” “current star” “villager becomes a smuggler don”.

I took the essence of the movie as a study, the trademark scarf worn by Zeenat Aman, the leading lady and combined the two into the “Honey Trap”, using current 2014 trend in vogue of precious gems. Only the ring worn in the picture is from the original song, the rest of…

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My first design which is actually not my Design

The Wanderer

There is no creation without originality. A strong statement and maybe it is true. But what if I work upon someone’s idea. Is that design? Is that creativity? Opinion could be divided on that subject. Take example of a person who retouches images and makes them into something beautiful and different from what they were. Doesn’t this person need lots of creativity? Or take example of a CAD artist who uses someone else’s creative thought (Read 2D sketch) to make it into a real life like example. I would call the second one”translators”. But they are all called “designers”. At least in this part of the world. Maybe they are part of a larger design process, cogs in the wheel to the process.Below is my cog-to wheel “design”. I call it design because it is a “drafted drawing”, #D produced. But it is not mine. It gets its identity from…

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Starting a day!

The Wanderer

Diamond looks like sugar. Especially when it is sprinkled down from its little packet onto paper. Only a trained eye can differentiate a diamond. Not only from sugar! But the many other substitutes. The diamonds above are in a shape called “Baguette”. It is possible that the origin could be from a bread of that shape. (In local parlance in India however, the french word is twisted and called by various names such as baggit, bugget and bracket! (sic).)

Left: Unassorted Diamonds and Gemstones Right: Assorting in process

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How I used sequins to transform a Shell

The Wanderer

Sometimes you just have to use what is available to come up with an innovative solution.

These are some designs from the metal sequin and shell collection that we had developed in Goa on our last visit. Its interesting how this came up. Mussel shells were the green shells that get generally thrown away as the locals found no use of them either in product craft or otherwise. The beautiful green color at the top had a tendency to chip. So most of the shells were lack luster at the top and green towards the bottom edge. We needed to give it a look that lasted. So after rummaging the local shops for locally available solutions, I developed this metal sequin look to cover the top area. The rest of the shell was given long lasting lacquer finish. We used some silken and cotton thread for the neck and voila…

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