Friday, September 25, 2015

Meet Shalini Prasad of Desha Creative (Featured Artist)

Here at TECD, we applaud people who strive to follow their dreams, people who dare to take the path less traveled, people who are passionate about what they believe in and people who inspire through their work. For this very reason, I take pride in showcasing the stories of artists and journeys of creative individuals behind a brand. Today, we take a look at the art portfolio of a new age artist Shalini Prasad. Does the name sound familiar? Yes, we’ve been introduced to Shalini earlier when we took a grand tour of her beautiful New Jersey home. With an educational background in architecture and a Master’s of Science in Design, Shalini aspired to pursue an independent and interdisciplinary creative path. She currently splits her time between her consultancy service “Desha Creative”, (specializing in brand identity, advertising, print and web design) and creating unique mixed media art. 
When I first got acquainted with Shalini’s work, it immediately came across as contemporary expressionism of her Indian roots. Her work is equal parts of beauty, authenticity and a willingness to experiment to find her distinct personal style. The end result being a patchwork collage of textures, exploration of various mediums fused with energetic colors and a translation of her love for predominantly all things Indian. Do join me while I chat up with Shalini and pick her brain to know more about her creative journey.
TECD: Hello Shalini! It’s always a pleasure collaborating with you. Let’s start by asking you how did Desha Creative take shape?
Shalini: “I have illustrated for as long as I can remember... 6 is perhaps when I started doodling caricatures (on the margins of my notebooks) and rendering eyes....lots of eyes (creepy I know). Mostly self-taught (interspersed with a few gallery workshops in my grown-up years), I started with pencil and charcoal and naturally progressed to the calligraphic pen and acrylic paints. But all along I used this more as a bonus skill/technique to enhance my academic and professional work in architecture and graphic design. It never was given enough seriousness or attention to blossom on its own accord. I did paint and draw for my mom's living room walls and left it at that for a while. 

It was three years ago, thanks to a bit of a lull in my design projects, that I inadvertently switched the roles, and this time used my graphic design expertise to enhance my fine arts work. I digitally applied textural overlays onto my free hand renderings, creating a new dimension with color, texture and space. The result is what I like to call digital mixed media art. I experimented more and more with this technique, creating high resolution scans of my freehand work and messing around with it, with the help of Adobe Creative Suite. I started to really enjoy the outcome. With no real business intent I happened to share some of my work with friends... Voila! Before I knew it "DeSha Creative Design Studio", soon became "DeSha Creative Design Studio and Art Shop."
TECD: Clearly, your work reflects your India roots. What aspect of India, talks to you? 
Shalini:"My obsession is many fold- there is the color, texture, materials, and patterns, and then there is the garb, and the culture. Coupled with my predilection toward portraiture and lifestyle, the result is what you see. The overall vibrancy that our culture has to offer is so striking from a graphic standpoint that it's too exciting to resist. I do steer in different directions such as nature, but seem to come right back to this overarching theme. I love the idea of introducing a bold modern graphic look to these traditional and simple themes.  My work as a designer and artist is surely an extension of my biography and Indian heritage. It is as simple as that.”
A glimpse at the process of bringing an idea to life
TECD: Do tell us more about your creative process?
Shalini: “I am afraid my creative process is a bit murky. I can be thrilled to bits with a final piece and completely clueless as to how I got there. What I do religiously (and inadvertently) apply to all my fine art pieces when I take to the digital realm, is my strong sense of graphic and color and keen sensitivity to space and structure. There is a general methodology though that I follow, with some steps on repeat... 
 -I am inspired
-After a bit of ideation, I create a sketch with pencil, pen or paint with acrylics (this could take from a few minutes to few days)
-I scan the free-hand art work to create a high resolution digital format 
-I rummage through my collection of some wonderful fabric scraps or fabric from my ethnic/rustic furnishings around the home
-I look at some older color dabs I have made on canvas or paper or messy color washes that my girls have made (I dig the brush strokes that kids fearlessly make)
-I create a visual combination of these various textures and then scan what appeals to me that instant
-I then juxtapose my scanned art with the found textures using a combination of design software tools
-I mess with it for hours on the computer 
-I stand at a distance and stare at the screen
-I continue to mess with the lines and the overlays, and the spatial arrangement with particular attention to the negative space (I believe there is beauty in the negative) 
-After much improvisation, there comes a point when I know that what I am staring at, is just right. I can’t describe it but it’s a good feeling.

That is how things get created at DeSha- organic and visceral and ridiculously playful!”
Divi Divi was part of a recent group exhibition at Gallery U in Westfield

TECD: On a cerebral level, what is it that you would like to convey through your art?
Shalini: “My subjects are fairly commonplace and simple- the Tree of all seasons, The Milkman, The Saree Pallu and the like. I find no reason to invent a new universe because there is much beauty in our traditional environment and culture to take cues from.I find no reason to conjure up a set poignant tale behind each piece, because I would like them to be vulnerable and accepting of one’s own interpretations.

For me the means is as important as the end. My approach and process is where lies the basis for the story behind each piece.

I would like to harbor the thought that my audience derives comfort from the familiarity of the subject, a sense of intrigue by the layers behind it, and a bit of excitement from the associations they make.

As a mixed media artist, I hope to put a smile on your face and a bit of wonder in your eyes… the meaning you take away, is your own.” 

 TECD: Where do you see your self in the next five years?
Shalini: “A solo exhibition in Manhattan!”
Commissioned artwork for a newly wed bride
Ambitious, Unique, Creative and Authentic – a lethal combination that’s bound to be a household name on the contemporary art scene. Wishing Shalini loads of luck and happiness. To view her complete art folio click here. Shalini is on FB page and Instagram, so go ahead and push that follow button to stay connected with her. For price inquiries and print specifications, write to Shalini at 

Image Credit/Copyright : Shalini Prasad - Desha Creative. The images may not be used without prior written permission from the artist. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Global-Desi Style of Decorating (Home Tour)

Over time our decorating style and preferences for color, art and artifacts, tend to evolve. I personally think, we are heading in the right direction as it indicates that we have developed a more mature and refined taste when it comes to decor aesthetics. We have been able to master the art of applying what we have observed, explored and absorbed over the years. For instance, in my initial years of decorating,  my style was distinctly ethnic Indian. But with the passage of time and my fair share of travels and all that I’ve been exposed to and experienced, I have migrated to a decorating style that I'd like to coin as the “Eclectic Global-Desi style”. I would describe this style as being largely India inspired with a streak of the modern, retro, vintage, country, contemporary and traditional vibe. But it also involves embracing and tapping into the pool of cultural diversity of different countries. Tell me how does one not fall in love with the Suzanis from Uzbekistan, Ceramics from China and Korea, wood carving from Thailand, baskets from Ghana......I need another life time to list out my wishlist! 
(This lovely corner features  traditional brass South-Indian artifacts, Maasai Tribal Wedding Necklace from Kenya and Rajasthani hand painted wooden figurines.) 
I recently chanced upon Hemal Paliwal’s (a TECD blog reader) Instagram gallery and was instantly drawn to her “Global-Desi” style of decorating. Warm tones, fresh flowers, glimmer of traditional brass Indian artifacts and global treasures come together beautifully to create a warm, relaxed and authentic style in her Nairobi (Kenya) home. Sharing with you, a few corners of her beautiful living room. 

(A pair of Thai Guardian Angle "Thepanom" Kneeling Figurines add the Asian flair to this corner of the living room.)

(Hemal loves switching things up from time to time. Here she skillfully puts together blood red Heliconias in an equally vibrant blue vase. Placed on a Kutch mirror glass work runner, the Chiwara headdress fashioned out of wood by the Bamana people of Mali makes for another beautiful addition to Hemal's global collection. )
(Heirloom silk batuas that belonged to Hemal's grandmother find a special place of importance in this pattern filled vignette.)
(Brass tribal horses from Orissa look regal against the carved wood panel from Mali)
(Hemal's painting inspired by S.H.Raza adds the much needed punch to an otherwise neutral bedroom. Intricately printed Kitenge cloth is used as a throw on the bed to pull the shades of blue and reds together.)  
(On a different day, the bedroom gets a makeover by moving things around.)
(A masai water color painting by local artist Maral Bolouri paired with Alstroemeria flowers, brass Chinese incenseburner and busts of Shiva and Parvati placed ona wooden chest complete this vignette.)
 I’m sure you enjoyed the snap shots from Hemal's home……so go ahead and mix things up! Remember the only decorating rule that you should and must adhere to is to fill your home with heart and soul!

Image Credit/ Copyright: Hemal Paliwal

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spotlight on the home decor brand "Home Sake"

“” is a Noida (UP, India) based online portal for luxurious Indian handicrafts and home décor products with the perfect blend of the old world charm of antiques, romance of vintage decor and a streak of contemporary flair. Brought to life by a team of engineers, designers, managers and philosophers in 2014, Homesake focuses on celebrating the fundamentals of good and authentic design, maintaining the balance between great quality and affordable pricing and sensitivity to the fact that the quality of lifestyle of Indian rural artisans needs to be elevated by implementing fair wages policy and technological advancement of their skill sets. 
The core team at Homesake comprising of Azeem Khan (the coder/CTO), Shubham Sharma (marketer/CMO) and Avi Aditya Jain (the Founder), have spent months curating exquisite products for Homesake with the spotlight on antique glass craft, royal metal carving and dazzling crystalware. The products are designed by their in-house team, but handcrafted in collaboration with artisans from different states in India, primarily U.P., Rajasthan, Gujrat and Haryana. I sat down with the young and competitive Avi Jain, as I wanted to know more about the Story behind Homesake. 

TECD: Hello and welcome to TECD, Avi! Let’s start by asking you why the name Homesake? 
Avi Jain: “Homesake justifies our motto, i.e. "For the love of home". We strive to bring everything and anything to make your home beautiful, all at one place, with the added advantage of great customer service and shopping from the convenience of your home. Since home decor is something that's very subjective, we are constantly working on expanding the range of home decor related products available at Homesake. We are also striving to bring more technological advancement at Homesake so as to make the shopping experience more enjoyable and memorable.”

TECD: How did the idea to start Homesake germinate? 
Avi Jain: “The idea started from my very home. Being born in a family with an eye for decor, where each part of the home was carefully designed and decorated by my mother, I never realized the struggle people go through to decorate their homes. It's only when a guest comes and showers the questions about from where did u get this, or how can we get that, that I realized the big gap. The biggest challenge is sourcing good quality products at an affordable price. So started the journey of Homesake.”
TECD: What would you say is the USP of your brand?
Avi Jain: “Each product is carefully crafted, with minute attention to detail and assured quality. We are the only website in country, offering products in compliance with International Standards. Also, the experience and uniqueness of products is un-matched.”

TECD: In a short span of a year, you have managed to create a niche for Homesake. What has been your success mantra?
Avi Jain: “I personally feel that passion shapes your success. The more passionate you are about what you do, the bigger the success. Another thing that we at Homesake believe in is that every single day should be better than the previous day. So we work hard and are very critical about our productive and creative selves.”

TECD: You recently launched an e-mag. Do share more about this with my readers?
Avi Jain:"It’s one of a kind of magazine, entire in online format, with content crowd-sourced from bloggers and influencers across the Globe. 

The idea comes from the fact, that there are a lot of home-makers and professionals, who have an eye for decor. We wanted to be the platform for people with unique decor ideas and decided to compile it in a magazine format. The magazine will be free for all and everyone passionate about decor with a good sense of design aesthetics is welcome to contribute to the Magazine. We launched our first edition of this magazine on 14th of September'2015. It can be downloaded from
And now for the products and website review:
  • Web Design –With an easy to navigate website and well categorized décor tags, shopping for what you want is a breeze. Incase of any queries you may contact their customer service support team by mailing them and be assured of a prompt response in 24 hours.  
  • Pricing and Payment Options - With the middlemen eliminated their pricing is very competitive and affordable. Homesake accepts payments through credit card, debit card and net banking. They also have Cash on Delivery option available on select products. 
  • Product Delivery and Shipping - Orders are dispatched within 2 working days or as per the delivery date specified by you at the time of placing the order. Most orders are delivered within 4 to 7 working days. All products are currently shipped to Pan-Asian countries only. (I received my package (here in Virginia) within the promised time span and the contents were in good condition.)
  • Product Quality - I’ve used my salad spoon and fork, napkin rings and crystal votive holders on a number of occasions and love them. 

What sets apart a home from a house is the “details”. If you are looking for that special touch, browse through the entire collection of Homesake and get shopping today! To get in touch with Homesake, write to them at or connect with them via their FB page. Thank you Avi for reaching out to TECD. We wish you all the very in your entrepreneurial journey! 

(The views and opinions in this post  w.r.t. the product review are solely mine).

(Image copyright/credit: 1,2,3 - Homesake ; 4,5,6  - Product styling and photography Sruthi Singh)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ganapathi Bappa Moriya!

"Ganesh Chaturthi" - excitement, grandeur, customs and traditions surrounding this festival is something I like to absorb completely. The whole idea behind celebrating each Indian festival at my place is to introduce our 8 year old son to his Indian roots and to inculcate an understanding and appreciation of what, how and why of our Indian culture. Apart from that, it is a wonderful time to revisit old memories and recreate the magic. Not to mention the festive spread that you get to enjoy in the company of family and friends. 

However, this year the scene is a bit different at my place. We are in the process of moving to our new home! What that means is we are dealing with packing, brown boxes and chaos. So keeping that in mind, I kept things simple and opted out of the traditional route of celebration. I thought it would be refreshing to have pretty little vignettes with Ganeshas in different materials as the anchors, scattered all through the home to set the mood for the festivities.  
So first up is the Kondapalli Toy Ganesha. Typically used in Dasara Kolus, I decided to bring him out of storage and join in a little early in the celebration. The Kondapalli toys follow a 400 year old tradition and hail from the "Toy Colony" of Kondapalli in Andra Pradesh. Carved out of locally sourced "softwood" known as Tella Poniki, the pieces are hand painted with vegetable dyes and vibrant enamel colors to breathe life into the creation. The most popular of these toys are the Dasavatarams (ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu). I've paired my Ganesha with soft peach colored roses gently tucked into a Moroccan tea glass and a traditional brass arti diya for a traditional touch.
Next, we have a Ganesha fashioned out of "Resin". A piece that I've had for more than 20 years. Bought at a local arts and crafts fair in Bangalore, the elaborate detailing on it was something that I fell in love with at the first glance. I had originally placed it as a good luck charm in my car (in India). When we moved to the US, he moved with us too:)
These beautiful "Terracotta" Ganeshas are one of my absolute favorites. Love their cutesy aura. The larger one I picked myself from Pottery Town in Bangalore (again ages ago) and the smaller one was one of the items that I looted from my parents place;) With little terracotta diyas acting as urlis, this vignette is all about earthy tones. 
A contemporary "Glass" Ganesha takes center stage in this vignette. I love the opaque quality of this figurine and especially enjoy looking at it when the evening sun casts a warm glow on it. Looks comfortable in the company of my brass inkpot that's multitasking as my vase for this vignette.  
This traditional vignette has a "Brass" Ganesha as its focal point. As its backdrop, a pretty calendar framed makes for some great art. Strings of lotus seed and rudraksha beads together with red roses housed in my brass mortar completes the look.
And finally, a simple vignette that echoes the various greens of nature. An inlaid stone marble table top forms the base for this vignette with the inlay patterns forming an almost rangoli like effect. The Green Aventurine Natural "Stone" Ganesha looks serene in his natural setting with a brass vintage rice measuring cup serving as a vase for some  fresh cut stems from the garden.    

The warmest of wishes to you and your family on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi

Images:Clicked by me. Please do not use without prior written permission.
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Paarisha by Chinanshu (Featured Artist/Shop)

Chinanshu Sharma’s creations for the Bangalore based jewelry brand "Paarisha" is deeply rooted in her endeavor to answer her “true calling”. Like most success stories of small business owners, where experimentation and following the path less traveled pays off, provided persistence, talent, passion and hard work are a part of the equation. And Chinanshu got the equation right!
During a brief sabbatical after childbirth, Chinanshu (an ex-banker) decided to pursue Jewelry designing and metal smithing at the prestigious Indian Institute of Gem & Jewelry (Jaipur). The outcome has been “Paarisha By Chinanshu”, a jewelry line that is contemporary in appeal yet celebrates the uniqueness of handmade products. Blazing colors and authenticity in design are the very essence of Paarisha, all while catering to the style aesthetics of the free spirited urban woman. The boho-chic designs are a dynamic combination of spontaneity and inventive weaves, crafting pieces that portray fluid elegance!
The word “Paarisha” translates to “a pursuer of artistic expressions”. Each piece is dexterously hand woven at Chinanshu's home based design studio where clients are met by appointment only. A one-on-one consultation with the client and an in-depth understanding of what is to be delivered is the edge that sets Paasisha apart from the other jewelry labels out there. Using a variety of materials such as silk yarn, wood, glass, silver, paper, banana fiber, raffia to weave, braid, loop and knot to create jewelry that is nothing short of being termed as wearable art. Paarisha's collection is versatile allowing them to be paired beautifully with western and Indian outfits with ease.
Chinanshu’s designs are principally driven by her surroundings and her travel experiences. Talking about her source of inspiration this is what she had to share, “The inspiration for the designs is all around me….. From small chat with strangers to big things happening all around. My mind is always taking the surrounding movements, changes and their different colors in, to give shape to them through my designs. It’s a continuous process of creativity! 

Also having a family that was constantly traveling and a dad whose work commitments took him to different parts of India, I was used to moving around from place to place, meeting new people, experiencing their native customs and traditions, seeing their traditional arts and crafts and learning from them. Much of my work is, consciously or unconsciously a reflection of these travels as Wain says, a means for me to MOVE AWAY FROM THE SAFE HARBOR.”
Her techniques are a strong reflection of her fascination for baskets and other weaves. Quoting Chinanshu, “To me, jewelry making is very meditative, and imbibing weaves into it helps make it more intricate and beautiful! I believe baskets are a very universal product, and every culture and every region has its own signature basket that is made from indigenous material- locally grown grass, weeds, gourds, fiber, dyes, etc. using the unique weaves of the region. I’d like to learn, experiment and reinterpret that in my own way to create a Paarisha trinket.”
Browse their entire collection at or drop a line to Chinanshu at for a Paarisha catalogue. Paarisha ships worldwide (International Shipping charges on actual rates) with payments being accepted via Paypal.You could also connect with them via their FB page for regular updates.

Thank you Chinanshu and Sanchita for taking the time to connect with TECD. Warm wishes coming your way!

Image Copyright/Credit: Paarisha

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Flea Market Loot!

Adopting an “Eclectic style” can be quite liberating when it comes to design dilemmas, don't you think? Here is my take on why I say so - it gives you the artistic freedom to pool together diverse styles, cultures and periods. The combination of different styles and cultures coming together is wonderful but the one thing that is imperative for me is that the home should feel warm and lived. For a home to emote that kind of a vibe, I think one must layer the home with a good mix of pieces from different periods. The worn surfaces, washed-out colors and peeling patina and paint of vintage treasures have the magical ability to infuse a room with character and an informal vibe that says come and sit awhile and put your feet up.

Like I’ve said earlier, flea markets are a great place to score vintage finds. And summer is the best possible season to explore them. If you are considering design on a dime, flea market style is definitely the way to go. I love the way my eight year old sums up the affordability factor, " Mom, really! For the price of an ice-cream you can get a painting?" Well, if you put it that way, then I say the ice-cream can wait and let's go on that flea market jaunt!

After all the rummaging what did we find, you ask? We scored some 1930s British Regimental illustrations. The print on the right depicts “The 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)”, a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1715 to 1969 while the print on the left, shows Skinner's Horse (1st Duke of York's Own), cavalry regiment of the Indian Army, which served in the British Indian Army before independence. I just love the aged tonal quality of the print - it is anything but a factory churned production of today!
Next on my list of the flea market loot, is the Hellenic glass set complete with a brass wire holder from the Jeanette Glass Company. The Grecian patterns pop against a sea-foam green and are reminiscent of Wedgewood design. These are sometimes hard to come by as Jeanette Glass shut down in 1983.
My final score, a vintage ceramic two tone milk jug that I’ve re-purposed as a vase! 

So what say, ice-cream or vintage style?

Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright. Please do not use without prior written permission.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Come September and......

It feels good to be back to blogging after a 3 week hiatus! I've thoroughly enjoyed the summer this year and am having a tough time letting go of it. But you know what, change is the name of the game and I'm all set for all that is to come.....and by that I mean the change of season, the pace of life and also a change in the place that I call home! Like I mentioned earlier, we will be moving to our new home next month:) While brown boxes and chaos seems to rule my life right now and packing seems like an endless task, I know at the end of it all, it's going to be so worthwhile and you get to enjoy another decorating journey with me........
But for now, I'm going to fill you in on what I've planned for this month, over a steaming hot cup of chai of course.....   
  • Exploring Summer flea markets has been fun and I've been lucky enough of find some wonderful new additions for our home. Will be sharing all of my fabulous finds in an exclusive post.
  • Next, Ganesh Chaturthi festival is just around the corner and this time I plan on exploring Ganesha's in different materials and textures. Will also be sharing product reviews and introducing you to lifestyle brands that can help you spruce up your home for the coming festive season.
  • In the artist/shop segment we have a one-of-a-kind jewelry label feature and a first look at the portfolio of a new age artist.
  • And finally, a  wonderful-wonderful home tour...... 

Does that sound like another month of colorful and inspirational posts? Stay connected, as you don't want to miss out on these:)

Images:Clicked by me. My home. Please do not use without prior written permission.
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.