Indian Handicrafts-Baaya Design by Shibani Jain
One of the reasons we connect with folk art is that it always tells a story. While many objects are created to serve a basic function, art is always connected to folklore and inspired by tradition. In recent years, traditional crafts have received a much needed push into the limelight and their popularity gains impetus as a new generation traces its roots through traditional craft—promoting the Indian artisan in an invigorated manner. Indian Handicrafts
Shibani Jain is one of these messiahs of Indian handicrafts. Having worked for over 12 years in the handicraft sector, she felt that it was time to bring her knowledge and the skills of artisans in villages across India to the urban consumer. This thought led to the genesis of Baaya Design.
The Baaya Design venture accomplished two things—it gave the Indian artisan a new lease of life in a commercial context and it enabled Shibani to bring a new perspective to using folk art in the urban home.
Shibani Jain graduated as a Visual Communication Designer from NID Ahmedabad. After spending a few years working with web and multimedia she developed an enduring interest in crafts. Shibani has always had an ongoing fascination with crafts. While working in the handicrafts sector she began to see interesting applications in the décor space.
“I began to work with folk art and styling solutions over the past 4 years,” says Shibani. “I find it to be an involved process where I can work with artisans and also make a difference to them, while satisfying my creative urge and working in large spaces.”
After working with crafts for several years, Shibani realised that there was a very limited availability of good quality tribal and folk art. There was also little usage of such skills in the interior decorating dimension. Whatever was available was poorly presented. Shibani decided to explore this niche segment and founded Baaya Design— a retail store and studio specialising in traditional craft techniques.
The name ‘Baaya’ is inspired by the Baya weaverbird—found in South and Southeast Asia. A social bird resembling a sparrow, one of the interesting features of this species is that the males build very intricate nests. Named weaverbird because of the detailed manner in which the nest is woven and hung.
Baaya Design offers 3 channels –
1. Folk art and designer home accessories
2. Customised styling consultancy and solutions
3. Corporate gifting solutions.
“Our offerings speak of special artisan skills, are made of natural materials and reflect an urbane sensibility at the same time,” says Shibani.
The store is an open conversational space in sync with the products it offers, where stories and traditions overlap while products communicate and integrate into a perspective that is representative of India.
It is a map—not defined by geographical features but rather an expression of culture and history defined by simplistic creativity where form and function are inseparable and storytelling a visual exercise.
Shibani Jain’s Home
Shibani Jain has incorporated traditional Indian art and craft in the interiors of her home as well—conveying an eclectic well-travelled aesthetic, rooted in Indian traditions.
The entrance is a simple wooden door complemented by green potted plants and a wooden cabinet painted in vibrant hues of green and blue. The carved wall panel above it works as a perfect foil to the brightly coloured cabinet.
The living room has a central point of focus—a beautiful Gond Art mural on the main wall. There is also a collection of various types of folk art, beautifully framed and displayed on one wall. India has over 70 varieties of art and handicrafts and Shibani collects these from different parts of the country like Bengal, Maharashtra, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.
Her design sensibility favours high ceilings and a good use of space. Furnishings are well connected to the art and complete the story.
Facing the living room is the dining area with ochre coloured walls, a beautiful glass top dining table and chairs upholstered in green fabric. The ochre serves as a perfect complement to Shibani’s collection of art placed in frames.
When you enter her home you are refreshed with the breeze from the balcony and greeted with a splendid view of the sea. The balcony is an interesting conversational space brought to life with the use of wrought iron and woodwork.
Another notable feature is the guest bathroom upstairs. The guest room consists of a bathroom made of Jaipur blue pottery tiles, which were used to create an Indo-Moroccan design.
While the blue tiles were used as a walled surface to frame the mirror, the flooring was laid with a mosaic of the same tiles. Vintage brushed steel taps and accessories complete this look.