Designer Anaïs Basu has just brought her Tia Pakhi range to India, with a debut exhibition in Kolkata. You know I am one for stories, and I have one for you here – it’s about a French girl who fell in love with India, its crafts, its people and even an Indian man!
It was March 2006, Anaïs’ first visit to India. After her training in fashion and textile Design in Paris, she came here to work as a designer with a textile export-house in Kolkata. Although she had read many books to inform herself about the country and culture she was about to visit, nothing could prepare her for the India she stepped into – A world full of creativity, joy, energy, hospitality and such a rich culture! She immediately felt at home in the city. Through her work which was to create designs for embroidery for the European market, she discovered a new medium and so many new techniques, that the design possibilities fascinated her! The craft wich caught her eye then was the traditional Bengali craft of Kantha, for it’s beauty in simplicity, the texture and simply, the feel of it.
A few weeks into her arrival in India she met with a young Bengali man who was to become her husband some years later, and through whom she discovered more of the country and its culture and got more acquainted with the reality of India today.
Being in India gave her the great opportunity to develop her passion for textile design and finally launch her line of Textiles for furnishing and accessories Tia Pakhi, named for the green parrots flying around the region of Bengal. Anaïs’ designs blend the traditional Indian crafts with her poetic, bold and colorful style, reinventing a contemporary ethnic look.
She says, “My work is essentially dedicated to Kantha for wich I had a soft corner from the time of my first visit. My research is to use the traditional Craft from my adopted state of Bengal and reinterpret it with more contemporary Designs and Color palette; presenting Kantha with a new fresh look and making handcrafted products reach the homes of a more divers public. Hence the Craftsmen can keep their craft alive and find opportunities to develop their skill and their economic situation.”
“It was quite challenging in the beginning to change the usual pattern of work of the craftsmen and get the results I was looking for; to develop a relation and their personal interest in this new style of work. My work has helped me to learn the language very fast as I had to be able to speak to the craftsmen directly and develop a personal relation to the people working with me as a team.”
Inspiration, creative stimulation
“In India I could say that I am constantly stimulated creatively especially in a city as vibrant and colorful as Kolkata where the traditional culture is still so present in the urban life. People, Markets, architecture, food, everything is there all around calling you.
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for me: there are uncountable textures, patterns, forms and color combinations in God’s creations. One just needs to look around and observe.
Art is also very inspiring for me. It beautiful when the work of an Artist can represent feelings, or emotions we can’t express, but which are present in our heart.”
Anaïs divides her time between Kolkata and Paris. Her Tia Pakhi range opened in Paris, and her second exhibition took place in Kolkata. She is scheduled to take her work to Bangalore in April!
Did you enjoy the beautiful pictures of Anaïs’ work in this post? Anaïs clicked them especially for us, and many of them were clicked in her own home, which she really enjoyed doing up with all her personal items and souvenirs brought back from France or her other travels.
Thank you for sharing your work and your story Anaïs!
All pics courtesy: Anaïs Basu