Monday, November 29, 1999

Country art

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A store that brings to Delhi handicrafts from all over IndiaSilk Road and Beyond, a store in South Delhi, brings to the city, handicrafts from all over India. There is a selection of ethnic Indian cushion covers in cotton velvets, linens and other natural fabrics, and pretty tribal wall hangings; or cheerful bedspreads in a splash of colours ranging from canary yellows, lime greens and purples, to choose from.Sisters Ruchi Malhotra and Renu Kapoor launched the store over a year-and-a-half ago with a view to introduce Delhiites to a wider variety of handicrafts from around the country and occasionally, beyond. "We would come across people who said they couldn't find enough options when it came to home furnishing. Yet, if you go through the gamut of Indian handicrafts across the country, there's so much on offer. We settled on the silk route simply because the trade route encouraged the sheer variety of indigenous handicrafts through cultural inter-changes," says Kapoor, the eldest of the two. Even though the two have no formal training in design, she says they have picked up ideas along the way. While Malhotra looks after the sourcing during extensive travel schedules, Kapoor, whose husband is in the textile business, handles other nitty-gritties.Most of the artifacts — mirrors with intricate framework, hand-painted terracotta bric-a-brac, vases, wall-hangings, hookahs, even furniture like coffee-tables and day beds, and the very Thai-looking Buddha statues and the Oriental faux flowers — Kapoor assures, are all from India. The focus is clearly on the home-produced. "If one looks hard enough, you'll find everything here in India itself. It's just a matter of keeping an eye out for it," says Kapoor.

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