Category Archives: Creating Arastan

The background and progress of the Arastan story

Reflections on 2012

Tibetan Katagami Carpet

As I sit on a beach in Sri Lanka enjoying a well overdue holiday – though Mike claims otherwise, my travels for Arastan are hard work and not holiday! – I thought it worth reflecting on the year gone by for Arastan. (I am a bit distracted by the beautiful woven reed mats available here, but must stop – this is supposed to be a family holiday and not another sourcing trip!)

2012 was a good year for Arastan. There have been some great moments and I’ve picked a few to reflect on.

Products

I am sure there is no end to the wealth of high-quality unique products that can be sourced for Arastan. A few of my particular favourites that I came across this year were the beautifully woven Tibetan rugs from Sikkim and the Iroqi embroidery from Shakrisabz. It was also an enjoyable foray into fabricating some of our own, combining …

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Charity Christmas Decorations from ASHA

ASHA Papier Mache Stamped Decoration

ASHA (Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism) is a school primarily dealing with children with autism. Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around him/her. Children with autism have difficulties in language and communication, social interaction and exhibit behavioural challenges. A majority of children and adults with autism are unable to express themselves clearly. ASHA’s main aim is to help these children become independent in taking care of themselves and also in making use of their time productively.

One of the ways ASHA does this is to create vocational activities for its students, such as papier mâché work. A combination of shredded paper, gum and chalk powder is made into a clay-like material which is moulded into various shapes, then later painted and decorated. Arastan has been working with ASHA’s children to produce papier mâché Christmas decorations. These are now available among other Christmas decorations on …

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Christmas Decorations Galore!

Magenta Floral Snowflake

Last year it was a pleasure working on our Christmas decorations, and we had a great reaction from customers, so this year we have expanded and have been collaborating on designs with a couple more NGOs and our official “Christmas Decoration Designer” Kavita. Most of our decorations have now arrived, are up on our tree in Nandi Durga Road, and we will be showing them off at the OWC Christmas Bazaar in Bangalore this Saturday.

One of the new NGOs we have been working with is ASHA (Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism). ASHA works to help autistic children become independent in taking care of themselves and to make use of their time productively. One of the ways they do this is through vocational activities, and in our case the children have created and painted beautiful papier mâché decorations. We look forward to supporting ASHA in the future and helping the children develop …

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The Silk Route – India Today Home

The Silk Route - India Today Home p1

Nice well-written piece about Arastan “The Silk Route” in the October India Today Home magazine.

Bangalore shop Arastan is a one-stop shop for rare art and craft pieces from across the world, discovers Ayesha Aleem. Tucked away in an unassuming bungalow in Jayamahal in Bangalore, it is easy to miss out the property that houses artifacts from around the world. Celebrating the fabled Silk Route particularly, this three-month old store is the brainchild of avid traveller and collector Nisha Misra.

Please click on the images to read the rest of the article, or better still come in to our studio on Nandi Durga Road and experience yourself “the retail stopover unlike other décor jaunts”…!

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Arastan Gift Cards

Arastan Gift Card

Looking for a special present for someone but not quite sure what to get? Like something for yourself but can’t quite decide? Then an Arastan Gift Card is the answer…

We’re pleased to announce that we have just launched gift cards, available to buy online and in the Bangalore store. You can enter a personalised message and, if purchasing online, you can choose to have one emailed directly to you, or sent to someone else. Available in various denominations, gift cards can be used either online or in our store.

If bought by November 12th then a gift card will also get you an entry into our Festive Carpet Offer so don’t delay!

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Kaivalam to Iran: Antique Suzanis and Other Hand-crafted Treasures

Carpets & Suzanis

Mumbai drew us back and gosh what a response – wasteful bandhs and economic slowdowns not withstanding. I loved every bit of it although I did have to part with some of my favourite pieces and my feet hurt for three days afterwards! I am already thinking how we can better this one and that thinking is leading me to venture to unknown lands – another journey and culmination with another exhibition. How exciting! Now to cross borders without anything untoward happening!

In the meantime, I am off to Chennai (if I can manage to wrangle a pass) for the World Crafts Council Summit, then to Varanasi for the India Carpet Expo and a sojourn with my artisans in and around Delhi. So many ideas, people to meet and so little time. The temptation to do a quick trip to Bodhgaya from Varanasi is great, however my current challenge is getting the …

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Pragati for Arastan

Pragati for Arastan

OMG Pragati! My reaction at seeing the first few pieces of the collection she has done for us. Of course I want to keep several but have to behave myself! Here is a bit about this lovely lady and the amazing collection she has created for us.

Pragati (Toshniwal ne Mathur) hails from Bundi in Rajasthan. She studied Textile Technology and Art from Sophia in Bombay and started weaving after graduating. One loom became ten over the years and she became  known for her sarees and upholstery. She says she always knew she wanted to be an artist and an archaeologist. Her inspiration coming from traditional architecture, textile and  jewellery, all available in plentiful in the havelis she grew up in Rajasthan. Her strength is clearly in using contemporary ways of using hand worked textile.

The limited edition items she has designed for Arastan are functional while retaining their origin …

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No Zaakpay, Burma or Rogues – but some Contemporary Rugs

We recently wrote about some exciting enhancements to our website payment gateway. Well after a week of development and test payments we were ready to go live, when back came HDFC Bank to reject our application. Apparently most of our products fall into their “Non Target Profile”. This from the same bank that have provided all our business banking since we started, all our personal banking, our credit card facilities, and offered us an overdraft for financing. This despite us being an existing e-commerce operation with a history of sales that are going through one of HDFC’s competitors currently, and for which we wanted to give them the business! Unfortunately Zaakpay weren’t able to provide us a contact at HDFC to discuss this with, so short of escalating it to HDFC senior management ourselves it seems this will be destined for yet another chapter in Nisha’s planned book on the …

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Next Stop Burma (Myanmar)

Beautiful Uzbek Ikat

We are a bit like Aladdin’s Cave at the moment – Uzbek ikat, an eclectic mix of Indian tribal and ethnic silver jewellery (very different to the Rajasthani pendants) and Ajanta ceramic tiles have all arrived in the last two days.

I have wanted to travel to Burma/Myanmar for as long as I can remember and it is hard to believe I will be there in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately too much going on to add Southern China so that may have to wait. Alternatively, I could do a quick reconnaissance to tempt all those who may want to visit.  The Chinese ethnic tribes produce the most gorgeous craft as those of you who bought the batik and embroidered baby carrier pieces from us well know. How can I resist?!

Oh and yes, some great press coverage for Arastan and lots of responses to the Content Writer post we are looking to fill. …

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Zaakpay, Angels (the investor kind) and Rogues!

We have been busy! Remember the vendor induced shingles… well they (the vendors!) are being replaced on a war footing! These were not artisans but service providers who are just not up to the mark and consume vast amounts of our management time. First on the list is our payment gateway. We went with the biggest but have found them to have a shockingly poor interface and unresponsive to feedback. Our international clients have confirmed that they find the design (which we can’t change) confusing. Well they won’t anymore. The new payment gateway, Zaakpay, is much easier to navigate and should be live in a few days. Started by a young lady who clearly saw the opportunity to do it better and different. Kudos to her. Also we have just partnered with another young company, Gharpay, who are redefining cash payments in India – they certainly won’t be making the …

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

    You can read about the reasons for closure.

    You can still browse some of the products we used to have via the category links above, although none of these are available for purchase.

    Relive our travels and stories by browsing our articles and archives from the menus below.

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