Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kurtas, Salwar suits and Sarees from Weavers' Studio

Hand-block printed suits and sarees from West Bengal in pure silk (Matka and Tussar).

Weavers Studio brings out the richness of traditional textiles and weaves which showcase the vivid Indian design to contemporary silhouettes and handcrafted wearable textiles. Having added colour to craft, the collection offers diverse options of surface decorations and embellishments like kantha work.

To read more about Weaver's Studio, visit

Accessories from Kala Raksha

Bags, purses, table-mats, shawls, games, post-cards from Kala Raksha

Kala Raksha, a grassroots social enterprise in the desert region of Kutch is dedicated to preservation of traditional arts and envisions this broadly, as holistic encouraging of the creative capacity of the artist.

To read more about Kala Raksha, visit

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter wear

Winter wear arrives at daaram

Sweaters, stoles, shawls, mufflers, caps from Kumaun Grameen Udyog from Nainital(Uttarakhand) and Kullu Karishma from Kullu(Himachal).

All products are made out of vegetable dyed hand-spun wool and are hand woven and hand knitted.

KGU works with the aim of providing livelihood opportunities for the local community. They work with 100 artisans and sources from over 350 small farmers.

To read more about KGU, visit
To read about Kullu Karishma, visit

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

dāram is looking for managers

Individuals with experience in the retail sector
interest in handloom industry

The work would include among other things:
- management of production and financial systems
- customer care and servicing
- publicity and outreach

The opening offers an unique opportunity to engage with the entire retail value chain from production of fabric to value addition for garments, to outreach and sales.

Send us your details and resume to:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pottery from Bhuj (Gujarat), Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), Basketry from Bhutan, Bags from Avni (Uttaranchal), Handloom curtains in all hues and colors

Pottery has traditionally been a locally and environmentally sustainable craft in Bhuj. The sources of all the natural resources needed to turn earth into pottery are local. Local clay, local white clay, water, thorns and tender stems from the Prosophis Julifera plant, jaru leaves, and black stone which are used in the making are found in the potters’ villages.

Bamboo and cane crafts in Bhutan is known as (Tsharzo), bamboo and tall perennial grass found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The dyeing of bamboo and cane in order to make colorful products was adopted in the 1970s. Traditional natural colors include Yellow, green, natural, blue-purple, or maroon.

Urmul manages the Bajju embroidery which is famous for its quality and range of designs that it produces on garments, soft furnishings and bags. The primary colours of red, black, white, golden yellow and green viridian are used

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fresh stock from Timbaktu Organic

Fresh stock of organic food has arrived from Timbaktu. The following products are now available in the store:

Foxtail Millet - Korra


Korra rice



Korra rava


Little Millet - Saama


Sama rice



Sama rava


Great Millet - Jowar


Jowar flour



Jowar rava


Finger Millet - Ragi


Ragi flour



Ragi malt




Peanuts Oil


For interesting recipes of these foods, visit

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Prints from Sanganeer

The block printed textiles of Sanganer became famous in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe, when the East India Company began to export them in bulk. Today, there are over 154 block printing units in Sanganer, and these employ around 20,000 people. There are around 3000 families engaged in this Rajasthani craft.

Colors have special significance in Sanganer and Bagru prints. For instance, red is the color of love, yellow of spring, indigo of Lord Krishna, and saffron of the yogi (seer). The wooden blocks that are used are made of teak wood. And traditionally, vegetable dyes made of madder, pomegranate rind, indigo, and turmeric are used.

Some photographs of hand-block printing for dāram garments at Sanganer :

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Organic food from Timbaktu

These products have been cultivated through safe and ethical organic farming using only organic manures, pest repellents, and growth promoters. A list of the products available can be seen in the picture below.

To read more about Timbaktu, visit

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Silk sarees from South India

dāram presents a range of Kanjeevaram, Uppada, Paithani and hand block-printed silk sarees for Diwali

Paithani sarees stand out because of their intricate designs on the pallu and the border. Motifs on the pallu are generally those of peacock, lotus, mango and other designs recreated from the antique paintings of Ajanta, the royal brocades of the Nawabs of Bengal, Mughal architecture and the ancient temple frescos of the south. Traditional creative artistry and pain staking workmanship combine to form this handmade textile creation in finest mulberry silk, gold and silver zari.

Hand block-printed silk sarees have fast, azo free colours and are created using steam discharge print, requiring skilled workmanship. Some very old copper outline heritage blocks with very fine outlines are used for traditional designs of kutch, sanganer, kalamkari, jama-e-war and madhubani

Monday, October 12, 2009

Accessories from Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra

This Diwali, dāram presents a range of bags, wallets, purses and pouches from Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, Bellary.

Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra works with Lambani artisans in the Bellary district of Karnataka. Lambanis or Banjaras are a nomadic, gypsy tribe and are well-known for their exquisite traditional hand-embroidery using various stitches and mirror crafts. The embroidery on the bags, purses and pouches is a fusion of pattern darning, mirror work, cross stitch, and overlaid and quilting stitches with borders of Kangura patchwork appliqué done on a base fabric which is hand-block-printed in traditional Lambani motifs. A distinctive design element is the use of local mud resistant handloom fabric, and mirrors, shells, white ornamental trims in addition to Kasuti work, a unique form of needlework native to North Karnataka.

The Kendra was established in 1988 with a basic objective to train and develop locally available skills in the arts and crafts, thereby improving the quality of life for artisans. For the last two decades the organization has successfully helped promote traditional crafts like lambani embroidery, Karnataka kasuti, cane and bamboo crafts, stone and woodcarving, and also the spinning and weaving of cotton khadi fabric.

To read more about the Kendra and its works, visit

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home linen from Rehwa

Sept. 24 - 29

REHWA HOME LINEN, a range of woven, printed and embroidered Maheshwaris

With an aim to bring forth the variety in weaves and to highlight the endless possibilities of the Maheshwari handlooms, Rehwa expanded itself into home linen, creating more possibilities for weavers in Maheshwar and Chanderi .

The collection has a unique variety of sheer drapes, cushion covers, bed linen and table linen in subtle shades of white, gold and silver to vibrant reds, greens and blues, exquisitely handworked by Ashraya Niketan, Bangalore.


REHWA Society is the spearhead of progress for the handloom weavers of Maheshwar, a historic weaving centre in Central India. Founded in 1978, REHWA Society brings design and marketing skills to Maheshwari handloom weavers. Maheshwari saris were famous throughout Western India due to the patronage of the Royal House of Holkar. REHWA works towards the upliftment of its in-house weavers and the weavers of Maheshwar.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Festive range of sarees for Dushera

Celebrate this Dushera with a festive range of silk sarees from the weavers of Uppada and printed cotton sarees from Jaipur

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Launching Lilaras at dāram

Lilaras is silver jewellery that is light-hearted, yet beautiful. It is playful and intense all at once. It is for that woman who is alive, beautiful and unique. Each piece is truly ethnic. Each piece has been specially handcrafted for today’s Indian woman. Lilaras seeks to keep the artisan and his art alive by keeping handcrafting alive. Drawing inspiration from nature, it tries to capture the unpretentious glory of nature in a work of art.

Ahalya, the designer, insists that jewellery should have style, substance, and soul; if it is to communicate and be relevant to the user’s life. All her jewellery is proudly hand-made by master craftsmen; so every piece she designs is authentic and precious, individual and unique. She uses her extensive knowledge of Indian jewellery as the starting point for her work, which is startlingly original and entirely attuned to evolving global aesthetics. And that is entirely in keeping with the artistic traditions of India.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kandanghi sarees and Kottan basketry of Chettinad from MRM Cultural Foundation, Chennai

dāram presents Kottan basketry and a range of Kandanghi sarees in cotton and silk from Chettinad.
The exhibition is on at dāram from 10th September to 16th September.

The Kandanghi Sari

The Kandanghi saris are the Chettinad answer to the wastelands; the brilliant colours are the perfect foil against the monochrome landscape. The traditional colours of bright yellows, oranges, red and a minimal black are used in a pattern of stripes or checks with broad borders. Woven in coarse cotton or silk, the saris throw out the vividness of the colour.

The Kottan

The traditional Palmyra basketry of Chettinad, Kottans were once woven by the Chettinad womenfolk and was their hobby craft. Kottans found a place in every Chettinad activity, from ritual and ceremony to daily use. These baskets are gaining great popularity both as packaging for gifts as well as in a range of contemporary home accessories and even palm leaf jewellery. Experimentation in using natural dye has resulted in a whole new range of subtle earthy shades that are as exquisite as they are eco-friendly.

The M.Rm.Rm Cultural Foundation supports research and documentation of languishing crafts, textiles and architecture. The Foundation works towards empowering women through training in regional crafts.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Launching Whitewater

dāram launches the Whitewater label, work of Shweta Dhariwal, an Accessory Designer trained at National Institute of Design. Whitewater made its debut in 2008 and today retails from some of the best stores in the country. Inspired by traditional patterning and garmenting techniques, her bags are a decoupage of textiles and techniques – quilting, hand embroidery, textures and patchwork. “For me, the most important thing is the attention to detail. My products are simple, understated and well finished – inside out. They are meant for people who appreciate quality workmanship”, says Shweta.
Her launch collection at dāram features a wide array of bags from casual day bags to elegant evening bags; laptop bags and sleeves, for the lady on the move. Staying true to dāram tradition, all bags are created out of handloom textiles - mashru, kalamkari, south cotton and khadi. Her aesthetics is about adding a third dimension to the fabric by exploring forms and keeping functionality at the core. Instead of following fashion norms, she relies on research and her innate sense of colour. “The idea is to seamlessly integrate the traditional with the contemporary and create fresh expressions”, she explains.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Coming in September

THREE new exhibitions in September...
1. Chettinad sarees and natural fiber products from MRM foundation, Chennai
Kandanghi Sari from Chettinad in traditional colours of bright yellows, oranges, red and a minimal black, used in a pattern of stripes or checks with broad borders woven in coarse cotton or silk. Range of contemporary home accessories of Kottan, traditional Palmyra basketry of Chettinad decorated with beadwork. and crochet work.
- September 10 - 15

2. Silver jewellery from Lilaras, Chennai

Lilaras, exquisite handcrafted ethnic silver jewellery
- September 17 - 22

3. Home linen from Rehwa, Madhya Pradesh

A unique variety of sheer drapes, cushion covers, bed linen and table linen from subtle shades of white ,gold and silver to vibrant reds ,greens and blues in a creative mix of woven, printed and embroidered textiles.
- September 24 - 29

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

For an environmental friendly Ganesh Chaturthi

For a safe and environment friendly Ganesh Chaturthi, dāram along with ecoxist brings to Hyderabad a small number of eco-friendly idols of the elephant lord. Made in Sirsi, Karnataka and Pen, Maharashtra these idols are made from clay that dissolves easily in water and are coloured with non-toxic colors that cause no harm to the environment or to human beings.

Large Ganpati

the idol from Sirsi
Adhi Ganesh

the idol from Pen



To be able to choose the most appropriate ecosensitive solution it is important that we understand the environmental impacts of Ganesh Chaturthi.

These can be summarised to be the following:

1. The water pollution caused by the immersion of Plaster of Paris idols into natural water bodies.
2. The water pollution caused by chemical paints used on these idols.
3. The waste generated by the non biodegradable accessories used during the worship.
4. Noise pollution
5. Traffic congestion
6. Increased consumerism

Amongst these the first two can be partially resolved by a shift to eco sensitive materials and practices.


The Issue
For some years there has been a growing awareness about the water pollution caused by the immersion of Ganesh idols made out of Plaster of Paris (PoP), in natural water bodies such as lakes, rivers and the sea. PoP is not a naturally occurring material. Plaster of Paris is a calcium sulfate hemi-hydrate : (CaSO4, ½ H2O) derived from gypsum, a calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO4 , 2 H2O), by firing this mineral at relatively low temperature and then reducing it to powder. While idols made out of naturally occurring clay (shaadu in Marathi) dissolve within hours of immersion in water, PoP idols may take anywhere between several months to years to fully dissolve. In addition, when chemical paints are used to decorate the idols, these paints contain heavy metals such as mercury and lead, which seep into the water as the idol dissolves.

In Bangalore a study done by the Central Pollution Control Board to assess the impact of immersion of Ganesh idols on the lakes revealed the following:

* Increase in the acid content in the waters.
* The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) increased by a 100%
* The Dissolved Oxygen content increased during the day due to the agitation of waters during immersion and reduced at night when organic discharge increased.
* The heavy metal content sampling showed an increase in metals such as iron which increased nearly 10 times and the content of copper in the sediments increased by 200 to 300 %.

Possible solutions:
Since the main issue around water pollution has got to do with the idol immersion ritual, several people are now suggesting a slight variation of this ritual to avoid water pollution. These include:

1. Immersing the idol in a water tank constructed by the government, instead of directly into natural water bodies.
2. Using only a natural clay idol and immersing it either in the tank or in a bucket of water at home.
3. Immersing a 'betel nut' which symbolises the idol and reusing the same idol every year.
4. If one is using a PoP idol, simply sprinkling a few drops of water on it as a symbolic immersion and donating the idol to be recycled for the following year.

To see photographs of the situation in Mumbai after immersion visit here

For more details and information
visit ecoexist here

Watch a video of the making of the idols