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Inspired by the Handloom and Handicraft movement while studying art in Delhi, Mrs. Lakshmi Srivathsa set the initial bricks for Tharangini with the help of her mentors Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadyay and Sr. D V Datar. 40 years later, the block printing studio led by her daughter Padmini Govind celebrated its anniversary earlier this month with an open studio, inviting everyone to delve into dyes. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

The studio has clients from all over the world like Anthropologie, FabIndia, Trenery, Lili Pepper, Artha Collections and Indigo Wills among others. (Courtesy: Artha Collections, Photograph: Clare Arni)

Tharangini repositioned itself as a block printing studio to cater to the interior design market, away from the silk and sarees that they had historically been associated with. Though the studio was reinvented, the techniques traditional to their craft continued to remain set in stone, and carved wood blocks and self-prepared colour remained core to the philosophy (Courtesy: Artha Collections, Photograph: Clare Arni)

Making dyes in-house: where everything is soaked, cooked and powdered by resident artisans. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

Product from Artha Collections, Printed at Tharangini

Product from Artha Collections, Printed at Tharangini

The studio is also home to a gigantic collection of blocks from 1970s Mughal designs to traditional nature inspired designs. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

Working with brands like Seema Krish, Pollack and Anthropologie has meant constantly developing designs that will work with their contemporary aesthetic. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

As one of the last surviving heritage studios in Bangalore, Padmini and the artisans at Tharangini are passionate about sharing the craft experience. They regularly host open studios and workshops. From mixing colours to learning about different kinds of dye processes, they are eager to share their know-how so people can take block printing forward, be it as hobbies or as part of their businesses. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

With a team of artisans who have been a part of the Tharangini family for decades, Padmini Govind hopes to continue democratizing the craft. And by setting it in a relevant context, they are managing to stay true to soil they’ve grown on while also colouring the world with their natural dyes, block by block. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

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Showcase 19 May 2017

Block printing at Tharangini: A flourishing studio between Bangalore’s IT boom

Overlooking Bangalore’s picturesque Sankey Tank sunsets, Tharangini, a family-run block printing studio, takes the ancient technique forward by giving it a global appeal. We spoke to Padmini Govind who runs shop at the studio to learn more about how they catch up with the evolving organic textile movement.

Inspired by the Handloom and Handicraft movement while studying art in Delhi, Mrs. Lakshmi Srivathsa set the initial bricks for Tharangini with the help of her mentors Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadyay and Sr. D V Datar. 40 years later, the block printing studio led by her daughter Padmini Govind celebrated its anniversary earlier this month with an open studio, inviting everyone to delve into dyes. The studio has clients from all over the world like Anthropologie, FabIndia, Trenery, Lili Pepper, Artha Collections and Indigo Wills among others. “Initially we had a team of skilled artisans from Benaras living with us to train the local artisans in using natural dyes and working with fine silks,” Padmini said, talking about their longstanding journey with printing silk sarees, which was their forte for the first several years.

Inspired by the Handloom and Handicraft movement while studying art in Delhi, Mrs. Lakshmi Srivathsa set the initial bricks for Tharangini with the help of her mentors Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadyay and Sr. D V Datar. 40 years later, the block printing studio led by her daughter Padmini Govind celebrated its anniversary earlier this month with an open studio, inviting everyone to delve into dyes. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

The studio has clients from all over the world like Anthropologie, FabIndia, Trenery, Lili Pepper, Artha Collections and Indigo Wills among others. (Courtesy: Artha Collections, Photograph: Clare Arni)

Padmini and her sister were always around Tharangini while growing up, making them intimately aware of the process, the artisans and the work. But after marriage Padmini spent 16 years in the USA working on business development with various companies. However, she still remained associated to Tharangini by connecting her mother with designers from the USA and looking for possible clients. However, when Ms. Srivathsa’s health began deteriorating, they relocated back to the city in 2007, with Padmini ready to take the reins of the studio. “I knew that if I didn’t quit my corporate job and take things forward, Tharangini would wither away, just like all the other beautiful block print studios that had once existed in Bangalore,” she said.

Taking the Plunge: Block Prints for Interiors

Two years later, Tharangini repositioned itself as a block printing studio to cater to the interior design market, away from the silk and sarees that they had historically been associated with. Though the studio was reinvented, the techniques traditional to their craft continued to remain set in stone, and carved wood blocks and self-prepared colour remained core to the philosophy.

Tharangini repositioned itself as a block printing studio to cater to the interior design market, away from the silk and sarees that they had historically been associated with. Though the studio was reinvented, the techniques traditional to their craft continued to remain set in stone, and carved wood blocks and self-prepared colour remained core to the philosophy (Courtesy: Artha Collections, Photograph: Clare Arni)

Making dyes in-house: where everything is soaked, cooked and powdered by resident artisans. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

“You can do laser cut blocks, linocut blocks and 3D printed blocks, but I don’t want to remove another layer from the craft,” Padmini said, talking about the handful of woodcarvers left in the city. However, working with brands like Seema Krish, Pollack and Anthropologie has meant constantly developing designs that will work with their contemporary aesthetic. For instance, a while ago the studio overlapped designs and worked with a combination of foam and wood blocks to bring in textural elements and a digitally printed feel for their collection with Anthropologie. Recently, they also combined embroidery and block print for a collection with another brand.

Product from Artha Collections, Printed at Tharangini

Product from Artha Collections, Printed at Tharangini

 

“Once we had a middle school group come to us to look at how the industry consumes water. We worked closely with their teachers to tie the visit to their curriculum. They not only learnt about block printing but also about how we are environmentally responsible,” said Padmini.

Tharangini, over the years, has upheld sustainability while block printing by hand and being fair trade. The common perception is that anything eco-friendly is instantly expensive, however, the studio manages to maneuver its way around this with tailormade techniques for each brand. “When you go to pure organics, it is expensive. We are aware that the consumer also has a limitation on what they are willing to tolerate since pure dyes always come with disclaimers of colour running and fading. Hence, we have different classes of colours from pure organics to hybrid versions and synthetic colours with eco-friendly elements to cater to these varied requirements,” she explained, adding that all their colours check the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) boxes including fade resistance, rubbing fastness and wash fastness among others.

Surviving and furthering a Heritage Studio

As one of the last surviving heritage studios in Bangalore, Padmini and the artisans at Tharangini are passionate about sharing the craft experience. They regularly host open studios and workshops. From mixing colours to learning about different kinds of dye processes, they are eager to share their know-how so people can take block printing forward, be it as hobbies or as part of their businesses.

The studio is also home to a gigantic collection of blocks from 1970s Mughal designs to traditional nature inspired designs. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

Working with brands like Seema Krish, Pollack and Anthropologie has meant constantly developing designs that will work with their contemporary aesthetic. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

 

“Once we had a middle school group come to us to look at how the industry consumes water. We worked closely with their teachers to tie the visit to their curriculum. They not only learnt about block printing but also about how we are environmentally responsible,” said Padmini.

They have also worked with different design-based companies to educate their teams on incorporating the craft into their process. For example, they did a workshop with the IKEA design team about mixing and matching block printing techniques into their products.

As one of the last surviving heritage studios in Bangalore, Padmini and the artisans at Tharangini are passionate about sharing the craft experience. They regularly host open studios and workshops. From mixing colours to learning about different kinds of dye processes, they are eager to share their know-how so people can take block printing forward, be it as hobbies or as part of their businesses. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

With a team of artisans who have been a part of the Tharangini family for decades, Padmini Govind hopes to continue democratizing the craft. And by setting it in a relevant context, they are managing to stay true to soil they’ve grown on while also colouring the world with their natural dyes, block by block. (Photo Courtesy: Tharangini)

 

With a team of artisans who have been a part of the Tharangini family for decades, Padmini Govind hopes to continue democratizing the craft. And by setting it in a relevant context, they are managing to stay true to soil they’ve grown on while also colouring the world with their natural dyes, block by block.

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