10 Makers You Cannot Afford To Miss At The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2018
Handpicked stalls by team Engrave to help you make the most of your Kala Ghoda experience this year.
Another year, another Kala Ghoda festival — full of spectacles, pomp, delightful installations, and a magnificent market. Alluring it might be, but as is the case every year, we’re certain you’re left deciding which is worse: battling the sweltering sun at noon, or jostling your way through a sweaty crowd come evening? Either way, the truth is, you’re probably going to be in a hurry, rushing through the stalls to wrap up your trip as quickly as you can. But hey, if you’re looking to make the most of your limited time there, we’ve got you covered. Team Engrave visited Kala Ghoda, and handpicked ten stalls that you really must check out this year!
1. Orient Ceramic
Stall no: 29
If you enter from the Rhythm House entrance, the first stall you’ll find is Rizwan Ahmed’s Orient Ceramic. A family business that goes back 25 years, Mr. Ahmed has himself been involved in the same for the past decade or so. The brand creates ceramic handmade cutlery and bowls which are beautiful all right, but what stands out are its plates, which are made using ceramic, but boast a truly resplendent lustre and a metallic finish that you’ll definitely want to get your hands on.
2. Village Leather Craft
Stall no: 27
Trot a little ahead, and you’ll stumble upon Village Leather Craft, a Rajasthani brand that goes back over five decades. It’s their first year at Kala Ghoda, though, and while the brand sells a range of leather products, it’s their leather mojris that are surprisingly elegant and eye-catching. It’s one of the busier stalls, too, so expect to push and shove your way through a massive crowd to get your pair!
3. Umar Handicrafts
Stall no: 14
Isaranpur’s Umar Handicrafts has made more than a few heads turn, largely thanks to its amazing range of iron and wood based handmade decor products. What really stood out for us was the ‘cycle’, and their range of lights, both of which are one-of-a-kind products that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.
4. Beard Baba
Stall no: 11
A couple of footsteps ahead lies Beard Baba, a brand that interestingly enough, started out as one that creates comics for beard lovers. Three years on, the brand has evolved significantly, and has launched its own series of beard grooming products. The Mumbai-based brand uses natural ingredients in its beard wax, oil, wash, as well as its charcoal face wash, hair serums, and pocket perfumes too. Long story short, this is the one stop shop for all beard lovers!
Stall no: 10
Run by the husband-wife duo Varun and Priya, Hippie Shippie is a six-month old brand that’s finding its feet at Kala Ghoda. The name is actually a pun, as Varun, an ex-merchant navy sailor, creates the art, while Priya adds her own digital graphic touch to same. The couple then prints them to create minimal and trippy tees which we found were refreshingly original. Apart from being a visual treat, the tees are comfortable and perfect for everyday wear as well.
6. Art Avenue
Stall no: 05
Based out of Jaipur, art avenue is an eco-friendly brand that uses textiles, vegetable dyes, and other organic material to create a splendid handcrafted, handwoven range of bags, carpets, and rugs. It’s owned by the same guys who run Twinology, a brand we’ve featured in our previous Kala Ghoda blogs, so it’s certainly tried and trusted too!
Stall no: 01
At the end — or the beginning, depending on which side you choose to enter from — lies Kaushalam, a brand from Jaipur that creates a series of striking hand-painted objects. The theme this year is art from Ladakh, which is rather unique and appealing to the eyes. The products are initially designed by the artist, Mrinalika, and then handcrafted by the artisans from Ladakh itself. What stood out is that all her products were functional — ‘utility’, as she calls them — which means that something like a teapot not only looks gorgeous as a decor item, but can actually be used to serve tea as well.
8. Rajesh Sabai Grass Craft Odisha
Stall no: 46
Cross over to the other side, and you’ll stand a chance to interact with Rajesh, who runs Grass Craft. Representing Odisha, the pride in his voice is evident, and hearing him talk about the Odia culture itself is a treat. Coming to the products, there are amazing coasters, stools, boxes, bags, vegetable baskets — all of which are completely handcrafted. The people are raving about it — not only for the amazing design, but the reasonable prices too, which makes it a must-visit.
9. All Strings Attached
Stall no: 44
Think nail-string art — but one that’s creative, neatly done, and a truly incredible work of art. The artists first nail the nails on plywood, and then string the cotton together to create the art, which, by the way, is completely customisable to your liking. The products available are frames, lamps, pen stands, portraits, and clocks, so trot over and have your pick!
Stall no: 35
GreenSole is an amazing charitable brand with a truly beautiful idea and message. The brand collects old footwear from across India, refurbishes the same, and eventually, donates the fresh pair to the underprivileged people of the country. At Kala Ghoda, the brand has offered its own recycled range of footwear, so as to sustain themselves and allow them to grow and offer more to the needy. There’s a great collection of shoes and keychains on offer, all of which actually sells out pretty quickly, so make sure you don’t waste any time getting there.
Don’t Forget To Head To The Potters’ Market On Your Way Out!
The Potters’ Market is one of the highlights of Kala Ghoda, where you can purchase a terrific range of pots made by potters from all over India. Priyanka Joshi, a potter from Pune caught our eye, and her range of handcrafted products are mesmerising, to say the least. There were a lot of middle-eastern influences in her art, which ensures her products are highly decorative and lustrous too. All potters there, in fact, are extremely gifted, and considering it’s a small detour on your way out, it’s well-worth a trip too!