The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2016 Handbook Vol. I: The Upcyclers

The team at Engrave spent the last four days scouting Kala Ghoda to present you with this filtered handbook that serves as a vade mecum for the festival. The first volume of series features some of more environmentally concerned makers at the event — The Upcyclers.

First things first: we know we’re late to the party. For those who missed the memo altogether, The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an annual nine-day long celebration of art, music, theatre, cinema, and literature held at the Kala Ghoda crescent of South Bombay. Since its inception in 1999, the festival has been a roaring success and has seldom failed to attract crowds in large numbers. But as you battle the scorching sun while attempting to jostle your way through a sea of sweaty people, you’re bound to miss out on scores of potentially fascinating experiences — and that’s exactly where we come in.

The reason we’re late to the party is because the team at Engrave spent the last four days scouting Kala Ghoda to present you with this filtered handbook that serves as a vade mecum for the festival. The first volume of series features some of more environmentally concerned makers at the event — The Upcyclers.

Kalatmak

Run by 23-year-old Kunal Krishnan, Kalatmak is a brand that upcycles old bike and car tyres into planters, seatings, and tables. A fine arts student from Baroda, Kunal says, “Tires only come in one shape — so reshaping them is essentially pointless. Instead, we express our creativity by using the tires in a manner that helps us make the most of the circular shapes available to us.”

In addition to everything else, the brand also makes rather pretty yet sturdy gardening accessories. You can check out his upcycled products, which range from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 4,000 at stall no. 2.

Studio Art

Studio Art is a young brand from Jaipur. Run by 32-year-old Tarpan Patel, it aims to upcycle in an eco-friendly manner, using materials like wood, metal, and more notably, a combination of paper, cloth, and polyester in the process. The brand shows incredible focus on design and makes gorgeous bags, clothing, furniture, jewellery, and even desktop products. What’s more, their product range starts at as little as Rs. 500.

You can find them at stall no. 5.

Silver Nut Tree

Most brands have humble beginnings, and the story of Silver Nut Tree is in the same vein. What started as an activity to make their kids more environmentally aware soon turned into a business model for this duo from Bangalore. “After one such activity-filled evening with the kids, we uploaded a picture on Facebook that went viral overnight — which made us realise there’s a potential market,” says Angeline. Rituparna, the other half of the duo, explains, “We turn glass into bottle art, bottle caps into earrings, and plastic bottles into jewellery. We believe that you can always pick eco-friendly alternatives without having to compromise on style.”

The talented duo also makes necklaces and many other similar accessories. They’re stationed at the ‘Re-Made in India’ stall with three other upcycling brands.

Mechanimal

One of the coolest makers at Kala Ghoda, Rahul KP is a serious motorbike aficionado. 28 years young, Rahul upcycles old bike parts and transforms them into sculptures and bike replica models. His wizardry isn’t just limited to minuscule sculptures, though — he also, remarkably enough, constructs life-sized models from scratch. He has a loyal customer base for whom he makes custom-made models, but we’re sure if you’re really interested, he’ll make one for you too. He shares the stall with Silver Nut Tree, so if you go looking for them, you should find him lingering around with a rather contagious smile plastered on his face.

Studio ABCD

A designer with a conscience, Rahul Khadaliya’s Studio ABCD aims to help you lead a sustainably inspired life. Using a ‘design thinking’ model, Rahul produces upcyled products like posters, lamps, books, and other stationery products. Studio ABCD, too, can be found at the Re-Made India stall.

The Upcycle Project

The idea of making gifting items out of waste may not be novel, but using vinyl records to do the same is definitely innovative. Considering vinyl records are made from non-recyclable material, the upcycling process makes it sustainable too. Their products range from coasters, cigar boxes, keychains, bookends, and even clocks. They’re the fourth quadrant of the Re-Made India stall, which is stall number 34.

Chatur Chidiyaa

The name is catchy and the products appealing. Yet, there’s so much about the brand that’s hidden in its products that only comes out once you know the story behind them. Run by Rutul Shah, Ronak Shah, and Satyaprita Gaekwad from Gujarat, the brand says everything they make is recycled and upcycled and therefore environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. “Each product has a story behind it,” claims Rutul. “We follow a model called eco-design, that makes us largely environment friendly. Apart from that, we also attempt to connect the makers directly to the buyers, thereby aiming to be socially sustainable too.”

The brand provides jobs to billboard painters, local potters, and intellectually impaired people. These talented artisans then go on to make stationery, books, pencils, containers, pouches, and even ceramic home decor products. To learn more about the brand and its products, you can visit the Chatur Chidiyaa stall at the Rampart Row

Wonky Works

As mentioned before, you don’t have to compromise on style or substance in order to go green. Wonky Works’ products are largely made from upcycled glass, where the aim is to focus on the environment while being ‘trendy’ at the same time. The designs are absolutely bonkers which adds so much more to the appeal of the brand. Their stall (no.12) is on the other side of the event, so it’s a footslog all the way to Cross Maidan — but it’s definitely worth it!

Chindi

Here’s a chat we had with the Chindi team at Kala Ghoda.

Junk Genie

More innovative than eccentric, really, but the zealous work of the students from Pearl Academy surely gets more than a few heads turning. The kids (who are all extremely courteous and well-mannered, might we add) work in tandem at the stall where they sell innovative products made out of tyres, old CDs, and even something as obscure as test tubes! Furthermore, the money they raise will all go to the St. Catherine orphanage, so it’s all for a great cause. It’s not that difficult to spot them, either — just look for a girl drumming away on what looks like plastic pipes and you’ll locate them with ease.

You can view the complete Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2016 Handbook here.

Rameez Shaikh

Rameez Shaikh is a twenty-three year old writer. With a degree in journalism to his name, he's an aspiring author with an absolutely astounding admiration for alliteration. Leisure propels him to read, dance, pen fiction and gloat about himself in third person. On weekdays, he works as a features writer. On weekends, he's a Manchester United fan.

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