She weaves myriad tales using saree as her canvas

Subhashini Srinivasan, an engineer-turned-saree designer creates beautiful sarees by blending two or more fabrics together. She recently opened her first store, The S Studio.
She weaves myriad tales using saree as her canvas
Subhashini Srinivasan; (right) A creation by Subhashini

Chennai

Subhashini is a qualified engineer and was a part of the corporate world before she decided to take a break to focus on her family and children. But unlike many other women she also chose to pursue her passion in art and even did a course in graphic designing in the interim period. 
Over the last three years, she created beautiful sarees for her friends and family, starting from scratch. She herself purchased the fabric, created the design and then used her artistic skills to prepare unique sarees for them. Such was her popularity that soon word spread around and she started getting requests from strangers and mere acquaintances. So finally she decided to take a leap of faith and opened her first store, The S Studio at CIT Colony recently. 
Talking about her fascination for creating hand-crafted sarees, she says, “I have always had an eye for detail and loved painting since childhood. I watched my mother when she did embroidery and the desire to mix and match colours was born early. It eventually led me to change my profession and pursue saree designing full time.” 
In three years of her saree designing career, her canvas became her sarees, where Subhashini explored her skills from blending fabrics to using various art forms like kalamkari painting, appliqué work with embroidery, traditional embroidery patterns on it. While she did host exhibitions of her work across Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, she decided in June this year that it was time to set up a brick-and-mortar store. 
“I love telling stories through my work. Most of the sarees I do, will have a certain narrative. It could be depicting a rural set-up or an important mythological event. My latest collection is based on the December music season. The saree becomes my medium to share stories,” says Subhashini. She conceptualises and designs the sarees, and works with craftsmen, who execute the designs for her. 
She works with artistes in Kolkata who specialise in fabric paintings on sarees and kantha work, works with artistes from Odisha to do Pattachitra paintings and kalam kari artistes from Srikalahasti. “I like experimenting with the fabrics that are in trend like shibori, organzas and silk kotas and soft silks to name a few. 
On the other hand, I also like retaining ancient art forms like warli prints, kan tha work and aari embroidery. These sarees are a slice of people’s life, from the designer to the craftsmen, therefore they are more a treasure than a piece of garment,” she adds. 
Subhashini takes about 15 days to one-and-a-half months to create a saree, depending on the fabric and work involved. “While I have a huge selection of sarees at the boutique, I also do custom-made ones for my clientele,” she finishes.

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