Cozy and comfortable spaces to learn art and craft are on the rise in Thiruvananthapuram

Feb 7, 2024


Want to learn how to make dolls, macrame, decoupage, crochet, or pottery? Thiruvananthapuram has many intimate, comfy places that host classes in these disciplines. Know more about these spaces and the people behind them.

Casa Mi Amor

Manjima Ravikumar at Casa Mi Amor

Manjima Ravikumar at Casa Mi Amor
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A year ago Manjima Ravikumar opened Casa Mi Amor, which exhibits and sells products ranging from clothing, jewellery and accessories to food products. Today the 950 sq ft space hosts art and craft classes as well, on almost all weekends.

Manjima worked as a medical transcriptionist for 15 years until she took a break. During the pandemic she went back to her passion for baking and started selling butter cookies, lasagne, biriyanis, pizza etc. on weekends. “After a point I wanted a space to sell the cookies and that’s when I realised that many entrepreneurs like me can’t afford to open a shop. So I opened Casa Mi Amor, homemakers multibrand store, with five vendors and now there are over 30 vendors associated with it. Since I wanted to utilise the space to the maximum I thought of starting art and craft classes. We started with an art class by Aruna Harish and since then we have conducted workshops for crochet, mural painting, glass painting, decoupage and other crafts led by resource persons from in and around the city,” she says.

Buoyed by the response, she hopes to expand the space in the future.

Casa Mi Amor (@casa_mi_amor) is located opposite Nirmala Bhavan School, Kowdiar. Contact: 6238953692

The Whitepaper Creative

Anupama Ramachandran at The Whitepaper Creative

Anupama Ramachandran at The Whitepaper Creative
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The Whitepaper Creative is an ‘art space that supports you’, says its founder Anupama Ramachandran. A fine arts graduate and art therapist, Anupama lived in Dubai for many years before she moved to the city. She opened the space in August 2022 to make people “understand the power of art. While I did online sessions during the pandemic, I wanted to have a physical space and that’s how The Whitepaper Creative was born,” she says.

A bonding-with-art session at The Whitepaper Creative

A bonding-with-art session at The Whitepaper Creative
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At the studio, there is enough material for people to spend some time with art. “The idea is not to create something pretty. I want people to enjoy the process. And it is not restricted to painting. People can work with clay or indulge in doodling and the like,” she explains. Anupama, 54, adds that the term therapy did not go down well with the crowd initially. “It is slowly changing and women are more evolved than men in this aspect,” she says.

From macrame doll making workshop at The Whitepaper Creative

From macrame doll making workshop at The Whitepaper Creative
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Eventually she opened the space for other artists to conduct sessions.  “We have had classes in coffee painting, Mandala painting, mural art, doll making, and water colour painting,” she says. She has also been conducting ‘sip and paint’ evenings at cafes and hotels, “with the idea of helping participants de-stress, meet new people and make new friends.”

The Whitepaper Creative (@thewhitepapercreative) is located near YMR Junction. Contact: 9916671045

Tejas

Saraswathi Vasudevan, a maths teacher, opened Tejas, a jewellery store, after quitting her job, in 2008 to follow her passion in experimenting with jewellery design. The store later became a trendsetter imparting art and craft classes and continues to do so. “We used to sell terracotta jewellery and once I realised that we could make it here, I learned it from experts and conducted our first workshop within two years of opening Tejas. Soon, I realised the potential of holding workshops here during the off-season. I conducted an embroidery workshop, which later diversified into different types of embroidery such as Kantha, Kutch etc. I also started looking for resource people to conduct classes and that worked,” she says.

Saraswathi Vasudevan teaching crochet

Saraswathi Vasudevan teaching crochet
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Later Saraswathi rekindled her passion for crochet and became so involved in teaching it that she ended up opening a sister concern of Tejas in 2019, which stocked the materials needed for crochet and other crafts. Even though the pandemic brought everything to a halt, Saraswathi continues to hold classes, either at Tejas or other rented venues.

Saraswathi Vasudevan who runs Tejas

Saraswathi Vasudevan who runs Tejas
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“Competition is stiff, so I try to do something new every time. We have conducted sessions in making dreamcatchers, origami, Mandala painting, and Madhubani painting. This week we are conducting a rock painting session in connection with Valentine’s Day,” she says.

Tejas (@weartejas) is located at Chalakkuzhy Road, Pattom. Contact: 9447001722

Kosava

Rosa Abraham at work at her pottery studio, Kosava

Rosa Abraham at work at her pottery studio, Kosava
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Pottery has been a way of life for Rosa Abraham, who runs Kosava, an inspired take on Koshava, which refers to the pottery community in Kerala. The 28-year-old, who has worked in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, opened the studio in August 2022. “I studied product design and my material specialisation was ceramic and glass. I started Kosava when I realised that there was no financial growth in this field beyond a point unless you start something on your own,” she says.

She conducts classes for adults (13 years and above) and children. Adults have wheel throwing and hand building sessions. “Hand building, which is for all age groups, is the technique of working with clay by using hands and simple tools and not the wheel. I suggest people start with hand building because they always have a product to take back home. Whereas wheel throwing requires a lot of practice and you may not always be able to have a finished product at the end of the session.” While hand building sessions are for four days, wheel throwing has 12 sessions, both for two-and-a-half hours each.

Rosa adds, “Parents often admit children with unrealistic expectations of making them an expert in one or two sessions. It took six years for me to think that I can start a studio. I want kids to enjoy the material. They may not have anything to take home after the sessions. If parents are fine with it, I admit those children. I take four people at a time. I also provide the option of open studio, wherein those who know how to work with clay can use the studio facility to make their pieces and fire it.”

Kosava (@ko.sa.va) is located near YMR Junction. Contact: 8089200509

Clay Magics

Chithra Bimal at Clay Magics

Chithra Bimal at Clay Magics
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Chithra Bimal has been holding one-on-one sessions in ceramic pottery at her mini pottery studio, Clay Magics, since 2017. “I am a self-taught artist, I have attended a few short term courses. In pottery, experience comes with practice and I have been using the space to polish my art. In fact, I had no plans to start classes. But when I put up a few videos on my Facebook page people contacted me asking if they could learn it and that’s how I got into teaching,” says Chithra.

Word got around through her friends and once she became active on Instagram more students came in. “Those interested can book for the sessions, which cover the basics of pottery, mainly the wheel-throwing process that we do on an electric wheel. Glazing and firing are done on another date. I am planning to start long-term courses soon,” she says.

Chithra Bimal at Clay Magics

Chithra Bimal at Clay Magics
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One-hour sessions are held on all days, between 10am and 8pm. “This is a time-consuming and tough activity and so one needs to have a genuine interest before they register for the class,” Chithra says.

The artist emphasises that pottery is relaxing for the mind and body. “I have had professionals and some bureaucrats come in for the classes. It is a welcome break from their busy schedules,” she adds.

Clay Magics (@claymagics) is located opposite Cosmopolitan Hospital, Pattom. Contact: 9747556609

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