If you have been a fan of hand-woven splendours and artistic drapes, you surely would have made that mandatory visit to the Co-optex store in Egmore. In the same complex, Craft Council of India (CCI) opened its exclusive store that has something for everybody. And all of the products are directly sourced from artisans across India! You will find wood-carved items from Bijnor, porcelain from Agra, brass lamps from Delhi, terracotta from Bengal, Madhubani paintings on steel boxes, beautifully packaged miniature art  as well as a curated section on handlooms that include Begumpur saris, ikats, bandhnis, chandheris, Banaras cottons and silks, blouse material with embroidery and stoles.

Work of Toda Tribal Artisans (Img : Crafts Council of India)

The spacious 1000 sq feet store is a haven for lovers of craft. While CCI is headquartered in Chennai, it set up its first store in the city, almost 12 years after it set up its store in Delhi.  There is another store in Kolkata as well. Kamala, the store is named after the doyen of crafts Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. The visit to the store is a must for the variety it offers and how there is some attendant or the other to share a story about a particular product. It only aids in making the right choice among the plethora of choices. Most of products sold at the store were developed during the course of CCI’s direct interaction with artisan clusters in villages across the country, since its inception in 1964.

Terracota Pots

At the moment, the store is hosting a lovely exhibition, Marumalarchi that is promoting local crafts of Tamil Nadu. CCI has worked closely with eight crafts from the state to examine traditional designs and develop new products without endangering the purity of the ancient aesthetics. They include Kalchatty, pattamadai mats, Sikalnayakanpet sarees, terracotta, palmyra kottans, Toda needle craft, Vadasery temple jewellery and Sungudi sarees. It is on till April 29. Do check it out!