Bengaluru-based Shiuli is all set to showcase its limited edition line of hand-crafted saris
Shringaara, one of the nine rasas, in its narrowest sense translates into erotic love and beauty. But Uma Balakrishnan, owner and founder of Bengaluru-based Shiuli, a niche brand that makes handcrafted saris in limited numbers, believes that the word can indicate so much more. “It literally means good taste. It is the mood in which we concentrate on creating an atmosphere of beauty and enjoyment.”
And wearing a sari is an act that puts us in touch with this state of being, says Balakrishnan, who will be in Chennai this week to conduct an exhibition and an event on saris and the stories they hold in the folds, borders and fabric.
Being an Army officer’s wife, who accompanied her husband wherever he went to, brought her even closer to the fabrics she loved. “I directly experienced the rich and wonderful tapestry of hand-created heritage each place had to offer,” she says. Her favourites are “the dabuand handblock printing embellishment from Rajasthan, shibori or tie and dye, ikat from Orissa, kantha stitching from West Bengal, chanderi and Maheshwari from Madhya Pradesh.”
The brand, started in August 2012, mostly because Balakrishnan enjoyed stocking her own wardrobe with handcrafted saris and dupattas, “slowly led to the desire to preserve the timeless art of embellishing and weaving techniques into the niche home-grown business”, she says. And Shiuli is all set to come to the The English Tearoom on Kasturi Rangan Road this Saturday to both showcase a limited edition line of hand-crafted saris and also to celebrate songs and stories that echo with women.
Conceived as a coming together of the musical and storytelling traditions, Balakrishnan hopes to bring together women from the city to share their sari stories and memories.
The event, set to begin at 4.30 pm over high tea, will see a music-entwined, storytelling performance centred on saris, the people who make them and poets who came out of that tradition — Kabir and Thiruvalluvar. This will be followed by an interactive session, led by storyteller Madhu Shukla.
“We truly believe that when women get together and exchange stories, songs and memories, they draw strength from each other,” says Balakrishnan.
Shringaara will be held at The English Tearoom, Kasturi Rangan Road on December 23 at 4.30 pm. Contact: 9008029184.