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The creative stroke

Jaipur-based entrepreneur Tanu Poddar conducts workshops to make the
age-old technique of block printing popular among kids.

Tanu Poddar with her daughters and husband.

Entrepreneur Tanu Poddar has something up her sleeve to make it a summer to remember for children in Jaipur. The mother of two has started conducting weekly block printing workshops for children at her recently opened store Earthen Nest in Suraj Nagar (West). And to make it more exciting and engaging, she had chocolate making by Sabrang and terrarium workshops by Beena Modi added to the Saturday itinerary. The workshops have been a big draw among children of all age groups, who have been flocking her store to learn the art of dipping wooden blocks in colourful dyes and stamping it on pieces of cloth, with a lot of glee. The best part of the deal for children, however, was learning how to make ten varieties of chocolates and develop a garden in a bowl along with knowing more about block printing.

The idea behind organising these workshops is to introduce children to the age-old art of block printing.

What an idea

The guiding thought behind organising these workshop is to introduce children to the age-old art of block printing and help them stay away from the virtual world. “These workshops help children learn more about block printing which is so famous the world over. We aim to revive it and take children to the grassroots level of block printing.” Her satisfaction quotient goes many notches up to see little children adapt to the entire process as the fish takes to water. “It is a pleasure seeing the children being attracted to our heritage and culture. Their enthusiasm is infectious. They are keen to learn this age-old technique. They ask a lot of questions and are eager to learn more which is so heartening,” she adds on the takeaways of taking such classes for children.

Children get to do block printing on table mats, napkins, bags, etc.

The art of craft

The ‘self-taught block printing artist’ as she calls herself has learned a lot by working with artisans and craftsmen all these years. Calling it a journey of experience, Poddar says, “I have not received any formal training in block printing. The artisans and craftsman have taught me the ways and tricks of doing block printing in a way no book could have ever taught. I have learned the art from my experience, wrong decisions and many mistakes. Now I know the correct way of doing things in block printing and also all about the business.” Beaming with pride, she lists items – from home furnishings and home décor to apparels, from kits and pouches, and stationery items, to office sets, backpacks, school bags, and even pashmina shawls – that bear a stamp of her creativity and are quite sought after ones at her store. “We at Earthern Nest have been experimenting a lot and have also been successful in doing block printing on unique and unimaginable items that have are quite popular with our customers,” she adds.

The ‘self-taught block printing artist’ Tanu Poddar has learned a lot by working with artisans and craftsmen.

A good start

Poddar decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge after gaining considerable experience in block printing and went on to launch her label – Earthen Nest – in October last year. “Earthen Nest was born out of an idea to do something creative for the family members, especially the women. My co-sisters Shilpa Poddar and Archana Dalmia, and I manage the show at the store and are partners in this venture. We overcame all the odds and challenges to open the store in record time, and in six months alone, we have had record sales,” she says beaming with pride.

Buoyed by the sales figures, she also participated in a child-centric exhibition – the Munchkin Project – in March this year. Giving details of her bestseller range at the exhibition, she says, “We showed our baby love at the show with a whole range of furnishings, clothing and accessories for children from 0 to 12 years. We had baby beddings and baby toys for the little ones, furnishings and apparels in beautiful, exotic and alluring baby prints and animal prints for children. We also bagged many orders to create furnishings and apparels for children in playful prints.”

Currently, Poddar has her hands full with one store, but she’s hoping to expand the Earthen Nest network, and open stores across the country. “I plan to make Earthern Nest a brand synonymous with quality and catering to the needs of everyone. I hope to see it become a household name in a few years,” she says.

After having a full house at her two workshops, she’s gearing up for her third, adding another one on making hair accessories from flowers and beads to the line-up. The price of the combo workshop comes to around Rs 1000-Rs1100 and includes the cost of material and training. “The children who have attended the workshop call up to ask if they can do more printing. They come back and print bedsheets, cushions, pillows for themselves and as gifts for their friends and families. They never stop asking about the date of the next workshop, and that’s the reason we are planning more such workshops for them,” says Poddar in the parting. She accepts pre-registration and on the spot bookings as well. Grab this opportunity for your child, if you are in Jaipur. It’s worth it.


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