The thumbprint quilt project: how designer Jayshree Poddar is turning hand-painted kora fabrics into quilts for children

Last August, Jayshree Poddar, the design director at textile agency Atmosphere, visited Aim for Seva Chatralayam for Girls in Bengaluru armed with sq. items of kora cloth and paints. Invited to conduct a portray workshop as a part of the non-profit’s three-year-old Art For Development undertaking, little did Poddar know that this is able to be the start of a bigger initiative. Now, patterns of splattered paint and fingerprints from the session are being digitised to create toddler (36×48) and toddler (46×60) quilts (₹2,900 and ₹3,900 respectively) and offered by Aim for Seva by way of WhatsApp.

“The idea was to let the children [between ages nine and 16 years] express themselves. In the first half, I let them paint as they pleased, not adhering to any form. Some dabbed and smeared paint while others created straight lines and smudged patterns,” says Poddar, including that within the second half they painted with simply the three main colors. Describing it as an “unusual interaction”, the NID alumnus explains how the ladies had been watchful at first. “I don’t speak Kannada, so it was all based on actions, and sitting on the ground with them helped. Before we started the workshop, we also had a small session on body movements to help them open up physically,” says the Bengaluru-based designer, whose 2018 solo exhibition, Many Moons, explored the phases of the moon on woven jacquard.

(left) Jayshree Poddar and (proper) a snapshot from the 2019 workshop
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Playing with color

By day’s finish, Poddar had roughly 100 painted squares. Later, when Aruna Madnani, the lead at Aim for Seva, steered crafting quilts with the art work, Poddar started experimenting with leftover cloth from one among her mills that specialises in mattress linen. “We selected nine designs to digitise. We printed the abstract renderings on fine cotton, added a border, made the colours brighter, added the artist’s signature, and quilted them with a 200 gsm poly filling,” says Poddar, who additionally helms textile firm Himatsingka Seide. She additionally added a detachable mulmul cowl. “It not only softens dark hues, but makes cleaning easier. You just have to wash the cover and the quilt is protected,” she says. Trials had been additionally performed with pastel shades of pink, blue and inexperienced, and every design now has two choices: darkish and lightweight. The cloth is colour-fast, mechanically cleanable and comes with a tiny matching bag.

Taking it on-line

This experiment is the newest in a protracted record for Aim for Seva. Each 12 months, they rope in several artists to work with the children. From digitised coasters, mats and mugs to hand-painted diyas and film frames, the children are inspired to experiment with completely different methods. “While we wanted to have a physical sale for the quilts, to help them learn about the retail aspect, we have taken to online sales given the present scenario,” says Madnani, including that whereas trials had been paused previous to lockdown as they ran out of ink (which comes from China), work restarted in June. “We have received enquiries for junior sizes and we are considering designing larger (54×72) quilts as well. Proceeds from the initiative will be used to buy things for the hostel,” she says.

As for Poddar’s plans on persevering with the undertaking (a primary for her), it is a powerful sure. “This initiative took me back to my childhood — of having someone getting you to feel colour and clay. It is like planting a seed in a young mind. These will remain as memories and the children will want to take the learnings forward and continue creating something new. This is the same emotion I’ve had for the last 30 years: to unlearn, to be free and uninhibited. We have managed to do that with this project.”

The quilts are made-to-order. For particulars, contact Namita Kejriwal at 09901300999

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