Vastrakala Craft Residency

Residency brief

For 30 years, Vastrakala has been designing and making high-quality hand embroidery. As descendants of the master craftsmen serving the Nawabs of the Deccan over several centuries, these embroiderer craftspeople are the inheritors of a strong heritage seeped in traditional and millennia-old techniques that they continue to pass down from one generation to the next. Initially dedicated to embroideries for interiors, Vastrakala’s repertoire progressively extended to fine embroidery for fashion as the company partnered with Lesage Paris. Both maisons have been united by the same passion, exchanging, meeting and bringing together their skills of excellence.

Transmission has always been at the heart of Vastrakala’s mission, whether it is in enabling new generations of embroiderers to perpetuate their heritage in and around the villages where they live, or in the exchanges of embroidery know-hows between France and India, two countries with a centuries-old embroidery tradition. Jean-Francois Lesage, the artistic director for the decoration activity will be mentor of the residency, hosting the artist in his own studio during their stay. The resident will benefit from this special support, while learning from the ancestral techniques of Vastrakala’s craftsmen.

  • Thematic focus Arts & Crafts (textile, embroidery)
  • LocationGudapakkam Village (Tamil Nadu)
  • Dates October 2023
  • Length of stay 1 month

Our Space

Gudapakkam Village, near Chennai (Tamil Nadu)

Vastrakala Embroidery Atelier is located on the outskirts of Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, close to Sriperumbudur, the ancestral home of Vastrakala’s craftsmen.

Residency conditions

  • The resident will be provided with suitable working space and all the material required for embroidery.
  • The resident will be provided with on-site accommodation, which includes an air-conditioned bedroom with attached bath and toilet, as well as a common living & dining room, and a kitchenette.
  • The resident will be provided with three meals a day, which will mainly consist of simple Indian food.
  • In addition, the resident will receive a fixed stipend of INR. 30,000 per month to cover his/her living expenses.
  • The resident’s travel costs to and from his/her home address will be covered by the French Institute in India.
  • The resident should produce an artwork by the end of his/her residency at Vastrakala Embroidery Atelier.
  • The resident should be willing to devote up to 20% of the residency time to participate in various public engagement events, such as open studios, talks, performances, workshops, etc. organised by Vastrakala, or the French Institute in India.
  • The resident is expected to produce a short report about his/her experience, in a free format, that could be published later on.

Eligibility criteria

  • The resident has to be autonomous and must have a working knowledge of English.