Tradition has been an important back drop in the way arts and crafts are viewed and practiced in India. This is because it forms the foundation for new art forms! Unlike the arts, crafts are things we use in everyday life.
All tools are essentially an extension of the hand in the craft movement. The tools help the artisan to finish an object with quality and perfection. Decorative elements are added and it becomes an object of beauty. Form and function merge!
In this series I want to explore the various crafts that are present in “Designs by Sudha”.
People often ask me how I get my ideas for new designs. The Indian “bazaar” is a formidable design play field. One discovers colors and patterns that are not
normally seen in the city life. Driving through rural India, there is this harmony between people, animals and nature. They all seem to co-exist without conflict. The inherent chaos provides rich fodder for design ideas.
The artisan was also the trader who plied his wares after making them in his village. With people like me in the midst, he is allowed to practice his craft with the designs given by me. I am then responsible to market his hand work and he is free to practice his craft without the challenges of the marketplace!
It is a fantastically exciting, rewarding, and sometimes a frustrating endeavor. We have an excellent staff in India and outstanding artisans – the true cream of the crop; so, obviously, our experience after 25+ years is very streamlined and reliable. Many of the functions are fully automated and runs seamlessly. Customers and competitors who try to work directly with India often revert back to us. We are able to succeed where others fail, because of our unique understanding of both the crafts and the families that do them. We also have a 24/7 presence in India.
"Sudha Pennathur is the most outstanding, innovative and dynamic woman entrepreneur that I know. I first met her when I was Consul General of India in New York during the 1986 -89 period, when she came to invite to a show of her traditional Indian jewellery and gift items at the Saks Department Store on Fifth Avenue. Since then I have seen her steady progress to great heights in this highly competitive field. She has made a great contribution to the promotion and marketing of high quality traditional Indian jewellery and gift items in the US. India, particularly its artisans in Rajasthan and Tamilnadu, are deeply grateful and highly appreciative of this; so are the Indian NGOs which she has been generously supporting."
-Alan Nazareth served in India’s diplomatic and consular missions in Tokyo, Rangoon, Lima, London, Chicago and New York and as India’s High Commissioner to Ghana and Ambassador to Liberia, Upper Volta, Togo, Egypt, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador & Belize.