Contemporary Channapatna craft store Varnam finds a new home
A quaint old house on a quiet Indiranagar street now wears a new look. The charming space is the new address of Channapatna craft store, Varnam. “It all happened organically. I wasn’t really looking to move to a bigger place, but when an opportunity like this comes along, you’ve got to take it,” begins founder, Karthik Vaidyanathan.
Moving from a 500-square-feet space to one that’s a sprawling 1,500 square feet, though, comes with its own set of challenges. But, for Vaidyanathan, it seems to be an easy transition. Barely a month in, the space is well stocked with little knick knacks for the home, vintage furniture, their signature toys and jewellery. Essentially, things to please everyone, from a playful child to a seasoned interior decorator.
A refreshing, green space welcomes you as you step into the property. We walked past it to enter a small but cosy room packed with handblock-printed shirts, and some of their newer products that are an interplay between Channapatna and Bidri crafts. “This line, called the Darwaza series, is inspired by the Bidar Fort. It includes pendants, earrings and statement necklaces that feature the famous silver inlay technique,” explains Vaidyanathan.
The room is also the designated space for their new, bi-monthly ‘Varnam Trunkpetti’ that showcas- es artisanal crafts from across the country. Last month, it played host to a pop-up of reclaimed metal jewellery by Manifest Design from Auroville.
This space opens out into a larger room with all their signature products and other new releases, such as the Advaitas — restored antique rosewood chairs in subdued shades of brown and white, with pops of colour from Channapatna inserts. Also featured are their range of industrial lights — Sitara (shaped like a star) and Eiffel (inspired by the shape of the famed tower), the bird-shaped Cluck Cluck platters, Scandinavia-inspired vases and spinning tops that let the natural colour of the wood take centrestage and Dasara Gombes or dolls. Vegetable carts double up as display tables bearing distinct Channapatna flavour, while the walls are used to tell the story of the craft tradition, right from how it all started, to how wooden beads are made. A separate wall holds all the raw materials used by craftsmen, including paints, wood and tools. A smaller room holds more jewellery — statement bangles and earrings, apart from pen stands, fridge magnets, bottle stoppers and more.
The store, which has become a go-to destination for those looking for gifting options, will launch a festive collection soon.
`100 upwards. At Indiranagar. Details: 9980735911
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo