GOPIKA NATH: A PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Gopika Nath is a Fulbright Scholar, an alumnus of The Central School of Art and Design, London, ( U.K. ) A Textile Designer, a Fiber Artist, a Writer and a Teacher, her association with Textiles began in 1976. Her talent and expertise have been successfully employed by the Corporate Sector, the Handloom Industry, Retail Organizations, Fashion Designers, Exporters and Educational Institutes.

Working with textiles as 'Art for Wear', she has created her own range of exclusive sarees and scarves, and also worked with some of the leading Fashion Designers of the country, creating specialty fabrics for Rohit Bal, Gitanjali Kashyap and Ashish Soni, among others. Her work has been exhibited in India and abroad. Of this it has been said - "Gopika Nath's professional competence matched with her free expressive sense of styling and designing has made her collection of sarees quite unique" and "her creations are so perfect that buyers cannot believe it is hand done --- she is a painter, a designer, a colour specialist. If you choose to wear one of Gopika Nath's creations, it would be a bit like donning an original painting."

As a design professional, Gopika Nath is an acknowledged leader in more ways than one. In addition to teaching traditional subjects relating to design, she has conceived, designed and taught a unique design sensitization programme for management professionals and also conducts lectures on ‘Design and Society in the Indian Context’ highlighting various social issues that remain largely ignored in the business of Design.

Working with various agencies under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, and private organizations, Ms. Nath has considerable experience of working with crafts people in the rural sector. In this regard, she has undertaken projects for design and development of fabric in Block printing with natural dyes, Ikat fabrics in cotton and silk for Furnishing, Sarees and Dhurries as well as Kashmiri, hand embroidered chain stitch fabric and Crewel rugs. She has also worked in the tribal region of Bastar, M.P. reviving the dying handloom art of the region. For someone who has worked so actively in the visual realm, her evolution from Textile Designer to Textile artist has been a matter of course. Once again she leads in this area as a "darer on virgin ground, one who really thinks for herself. Refreshingly different as some of her own offering is, one is even more pleased that she is questioning the currently accepted parameters of art. Her intellected stance may well help make the act of art, socially more fractious."

As a Textile Artist her chosen medium of expression is Embroidery. Having been exposed, quite considerably to the existing hand-crafted textile traditions of India, Gopika is inspired to Embroider, rather than paint on a canvas. She believes that Textile Art, in the Indian context, is a key element in defining the future of India's hand-crafting legacy. Working with needle and thread, exhibiting her work as an artist/ craftsperson in the environs of the Art Gallery, she hopes to be able to lend dignity to the notion of hand-crafting as 'Art', beyond mere skilled labour, as it is largely considered today.

While questioning the existing parameters of Art, through Art for Wear, Installations and other creative expressions of her ideas, Gopika is also working towards evolving a personal iconography through which she can present ideas and thoughts that have their antecedents in this global society, but are also deeply rooted in the Indian ethos. In this context Hindu myths and legends as well the Indian tradition of hand-crafting in ancient India, form key features of her current research and expression.

Gopika Nath is well travelled and presents a world view in all her activities and ideas. She has studied in London, and lived there for 7 years. As a Fulbright Scholar, she has spent time in the U.S. researching Textile Art in America, and has also visited Japan, sponsored by the Japan Foundation, on an exchange programme to meet and interact with Asian Textile Artists/ Designers. She is currently involved in various Art and Design activities. She also writes on issues related to Craft, Art, Design and Textile as Art.

   
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:  
     
1985 Central School of Art & Design, London, UK
B. A. (Hons.) in Art & Design.
Major Field - constructed Textiles: Weave
 
     
1982 Sir John Cass School of Art, London
Foundation Course in Art & Design.
 
     
1979 New Delhi Polytechnic for Women, New Delhi
Diploma in Textile Design (with Distinction)
Major Field - Surface Design.
 
     
   
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:  
     
Currently Gopika Nath Designs  
     
  Design Consultancy Services:
Designing and developing of fabrics
Surface Design - printing, painting, batik, etc. Screen and Block printed designs for apparel, sarees and furnishings.
Exclusive Designer hand painted sarees, dress material, ties and furnishing fabrics.
Embroidery Designs
Dress materials
Constructed textiles (woven)
Sarees, furnishings & floor coverings.
Colour theme development.
 
     
1986 Ravissant, Delhi
Chief Textile Designer.
 
     
1983 Courtaulds (UK), Courtelle Division
Intern (Studio practicum).
 
     
1978/79 DCM Ltd., Delhi
Intern (Studio practicum), Surface Design.
 
     
   
EXHIBITIONS :  
2009 Feb/March ‘Drawn with Thread’ an exhibition of recent works using textiles and video
Presented by Gallery Seven Art Ltd. New Delhi
 
     
2009 Feb. Group Show - ‘Satyagraha, A Soul Force’
curated by Dr. Alka Pande,
presented by Teamwork films at Casa dela India in collaboration with ICCR                             
and the Embassy of India in  Madrid, Spain.
 
     
2008 Sept. Group Show - ‘Satyagraha, A Soul Force’’
curated by Dr. Alka Pande,
presented by Teamwork films at Sandton Civic Art Gallery,                               
Nelson Mandela Square, South Africa
 
     
2007 Sept. Group show – Vistaar, curated by Sushma Bahl
Presented by Limited Editions at
'The Stainless', Mira complex, Okhla, Delhi
 
     
2003 Sept. Group Show - 'Performative Textures'>
Curated by Dr. Alka Pande
Presented by Apparao Galleries at
Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre,
Delhi.
 
     
2001 Jan. Art India Inc.http://www.artindiainc.com (tehelka.com)
E-Gallery Exhibition.
 
     
1999 Oct/Nov. Group Show - 'Confluence '99'
Vis-a-Vis, Khirki Village, Delhi.
 
     
1999 Sept/Oct. Group Show - 'Contemporary Textile
Art in India'
British Council, Delhi.
 
     
1998 Oct/Nov. Group show - "Painted Weaves"
Art Indus, Santushti Complex, Delhi.
 
     
1998 October Group Show - 'Confluence '98'
Vis-a-Vis, Khirki Village, Delhi.
 
     
1998 Sept/Oct. 'Artist of the Month'
Vis-a-Vis, Radisson Hotel,
 
     
1998 April Group Show - "Beyond the Canvas"
Vis-a-Vis, Khirki Village, Delhi.
 
     
1997 October "Textile Dilemmas - To be worn or to be Hung ?"
Exhibition of painted and embroidered Textiles
Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Delhi.
 
     
1997 May Group show of Installation Art at Qutab Colonnade,
Gallery Pontiac, Delhi.
 
     
1996 March/April Study Tour/Exchange sponsored by Japan Foundation Asia
Centre Interaction with Asian Textile Design experts in
Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa, Japan.
 
     
1991-1993 Exhibitions of exclusive hand painted sarees and ensembles
in Delhi and Bombay.
 
     
1985 Participated in House & Garden "Young Designer of the
Year" exhibition in London.
 
     
     
PUBLICATIONS:  
 

Embroidery Magazine (U.K)

Art India Magazine

Art & Deal Magazine

Take on Art

Discover India (Media Transasia)

Swagat (Media Transasia)

Expressions (Sahara Airlines, in-flight magazine)

Life Positive Magazine
Monthly Column - 'Spirit'

CFO Connect

Dataquest

'I' (Quarterly of the Visual arts) India Habitat Centre.

The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Art India Inc.http://www.artindiainc.com/art (tehelka.com)

Indian Design & Interiors (Media Transasia)

Indian Express

Times of India

Hindustan Times
Articles on Textiles/ Craft/ Design related issues

La Mode International as Fashion Consultant
Contributed articles on various Fashion issues.

Elite (Media Transasia Publication)
Features on Current fashion trends and designers.

MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:

The Chartered Society of Designers, UK - Diploma Member 1984 to 1994

Surface Design Association, U.S.A. - Member

FELLOWSHIPS:

2000  Fulbright Fellowship for Visual and Plastic Arts.

MEMBER SELECTION COMMITTEE:

1996  Japan Foundation Exchange Programme

MEMBER SELECTION COMMITTEE:

Heimtextil (Frankfurt) Fair participant/Agency Selection
(ACASH)

National Centre for Textile Design
(Ministry of Textiles).

Master Craftsman Award

 
   
     
LECTURES/AUDIO-VISUAL PRESENTATIONS:    
February 2009 In Search of a Sacred Space
Festival of the Sacred Arts, presented by ATTIC at Siri Fort,

New Delhi 
 
     
February 2007 BRITISH COUNCIL in collaboration with CKS
Peccha Kuccha, India Habitat Centre, Delhi 
 
     
January 2007 INDIA HABITAT CENTRE, New Delhi
Dristi (paper presented at International Seminar)
 
     
August 2003 UNITED STATES EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION IN INDIA,
New Delhi, collaboration with India Habitat Centre.
An Introduction to Fiber (a 5 day inter-collegiate intensive workshop).
 
     
March 2003 BRITISH COUNCIL, New Delhi
Return to Tradition (Lecture, demonstration cum workshop on Embroidery).
 
     
October 2002 DELHI COLLEGE OF ART.
Textiles as Art: The 'Art' Fabric
 
     
February 2002 INDIA HABITAT CENTRE, Visual Arts Gallery,
New Delhi.
Textiles as Art: The 'Art' Fabric
 
     
March 2001 INDIA HABITAT CENTRE, New Delhi, in conjunction with NID-
Cross Talks on Design.
Textile Design: Beyond Form and Function or Style.
 
     
December 2000 COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY, U.S.A. as a visiting Fulbright
Scholar.
A Designer's ART.
 
     
November 2000 COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY, U.S.A., as a visiting Fulbright
Scholar.
India: A Designer's Perspective.
 
     
November 1999 INDIAN INSTITUTE OF INTERIOR DESIGNERS, 4th National
Convention, Hyderabad.
Designing Textiles for the New Millennium.
 
     
February 1998 NIFT - Delhi - Fashion Spectrum'98
Design : A Bridge between Art and Technology.
 
     
   
CLIENT LIST:   
     
Corporate :    
 
  • East India Hotels Ltd. (Oberoi Hotels).
  • Indus Hotels Corporation Ltd. (Oberoi Enterprise).
  • DCM Ltd. (Delhi).
  • Shamken Multifabs Ltd. (Delhi).
  • International Wool Secretariat(Delhi).
 
Handloom :    
 
  • Fabindia Overseas (Delhi).
  • Shyam Ahuja Pvt. Ltd. (Bombay).
  • Obeetee Ltd. (Mirzapur).
  • The Handloom and Handicrafts Export Corporation Ltd. (HHEC, Delhi).
  • Madhya Pradesh Hastshilp Vikas Nigam (HSVN, Bhopal).
  • Association of Corporations & Apex Societies of Handlooms (ACASH, Delhi).
  • Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society (APCO), (Hyderabad).
  • Rehwa Society (M.P.).
  • Koyalaguddem Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society, (A.P.)
  • Pochampally Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society, (A.P.)
  • Jammu and Kashmir Handicrafts (S&E) Corporation.
  • Cohands / o/o Development Commissioner Handicrafts
 
Retail:    
 
  • Vichitra Designer Sarees (Delhi).
  • Roop Saree Kendra (Delhi).
  • L'affaire (Delhi).
  • Heritage (Handloom Emporium), (Delhi).
  • Gyan's Maestro's (Delhi).
  • Glitterati (Bombay).
  • Wild Orchids (Delhi).
  • Ogaan (Delhi).
 
Export:    
 
  • Intercraft Ltd.
  • Oro Exports Pvt. Ltd.
  • Third World Exports Pvt. Ltd.
  • Avco Traders Pvt. Ltd.
  • TI & M Limited.
  • Parry Murray & Co. Ltd.
 
Fashion Designers:  
 
  • Ritu Kumar
  • Ashish Soni.
  • Anjana Bhargava
  • Bonnie Hazuria.
  • Gitanjali Kashyap.
  • Manju & Bobby Grover.
  • Puja Nayyar.
  • Rina Dhaka.
  • Rohit Bal.
 
Education:    
 
  • Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi)
  • New Delhi Polytechnic for Women (Delhi)
  • National Institute of Fashion Technology (Delhi, Hyderabad).
  • Delhi College of Art.
  • Usha Sewing Schools.
  • United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI).
 
 

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS :

Hotel Industry :

• Design and development of fabrics for furnishing.
• Designing of carpets for corridors and public areas.
• Designing of Uniforms for Executive staff (Sarees).
• Advisory role for quality control and fabric selection.

Catering to the specific needs of the hotel industry regarding constraints of maintenance, wear and tear, as also keeping in mind specifically the ambience and services provided by the different hotels/ areas of the hotels, designing to complement these criteria. Liaising with Interior designers and manufacturers to extend support in the designing & development of products to overcome manufacturing constraints.

Organized Mill Sector :

• Print designs for Apparel, Sarees and Furnishings.
• Colourways for Print designs.
• Colourways for Woven Jacquard Fabrics.

Working with the Marketing teams of the specific industries to provide the interface between Design Development and Marketing. Designing collections based on interactive studies and also providing inputs for increasing market potential by highlighting salient features of fabrics designed, towards formulating strategies for marketing them.

Retail :

• Designs for Printed silk sarees and apparel fabrics .
• Exclusive Hand-painted sarees, salwar suits and dupattas.
• Colourways for print designs.

Created ranges of designs on paper (to scale and in repeat) for printed silk sarees and apparel fabrics for hand screen printing. This involved interacting with and working within the parameters of constraints of the small scale process houses for the implementation of designs, pertaining to the level of technology available to them as also knowledge of colour in terms of development of painted shades into printed shades, which then involved using forms and colours that did not require very intense and involved procedures to recreate on fabric. This Designing was done to cater for the market requirement of specific retail outlets that have a very specific clientele.

 

Export :

• Designs for floor coverings (handloom dhurries, rugs etc.).
• Designs for furnishing fabrics (handloom).
• Design and development of printed fabrics for apparel (hand screen printed).
• Designs for Made-ups (printed and woven cushion covers, table linen etc.).
• Designs for Textile Gift Items (Photo frames, boxes, cushions, wall art etc.)

Working for this area of the textile industry involved working with forecasting trends and creating designs for specific market areas as identified by the client and their specific buyers. (U.K., U.S.A., Europe, Australia and Hong Kong).These designs had to conform to the development constraints of the handloom/ handcrafted industry base of production as employed/ identified by the clients. For some projects my role was specifically to proved assistance in the implementation of the designs, to ensure accurate representation of art works (designs as conceptualized on paper). This involved considered interaction with the process houses to accommodate processing constraints, yet maintain, as far as possible, the essential character of the original concepts as per buyer/ client specifications.

Fashion Designers:

Designing and painting on fabric

Designing and developing Embroidery designs
Designing and developing prints.
• Sarees.
• Ensembles.
• Shirts
• Ties.
• Scarves.
• Dupattas.

Working in close co-ordination with established Fashion Designers in India to understand the nuances of the drape of the garment, the kind of textures to be painted, embroidered or printed. Creating imagery that would complement their design ideology and other garments in the collections, presented in a given season.

Handloom :

• Designs for Dhurries (cut shuttle, Punja).
• Designs for Treadle rugs.
• Designs for Carpets (hand knotted and hand tufted).
• Designs for Woven Furnishings (plain loom and jacquard).
• Designs for Hand Block Printed (kalamkari & vegetable dyed) furnishing fabrics, cushions .
• Designs for Ikat furnishing fabrics, cushion covers, table linen, bedcovers, etc.
• Designs for Sarees, Dupattas and shawls .
Colour-ways for floor coverings, furnishings and made-ups.

Working with various agencies, under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles and private organizations; interacting with crafts people in the rural areas to develop collections in keeping with their specific skills towards increasing the market base for their products. While retaining the ethnic charm and character and considering the constraints of handloom products were designed to include these as part of the character of the product, for both the domestic and export market. This included working/ coordinating with buying houses/ stores for export ranges as also colour forecasts and trends and designing specifically for client participation in International Trade Fairs in U.S.A., Europe, Japan and India.

 

Education :

* History of Traditional Printed and Painted Fabrics
Creative Explorations with Fiber.
• Surface Ornamentation.
Colour Theory.
Drawing Skills.
Designing and Marketing as Interactive strategies.
• Principles of Colour and Design.
Design and Society: The Indian Context.
Textile processing techniques and fabric identification.
Hand painting techniques.
Lectures and talks on issues relating to Design.
Jury member for admission tests, interviews and student projects.

Designed and taught courses in Surface ornamentation, exploring surfaces and fibre for development of innovative fashion textiles and courses to inculcate basic skills in Colour and Design, with special emphasis on colour which is the primary consideration for the buyer’s choice of fabric. Formulating special exercises to enhance drawing skills in terms of observation, use of unconventional tools and uninhibited representations of observed details towards creating a vocabulary of creative expression, that is contemporary and therefore able to address the design needs of the market/ society.

Designing and marketing as Interactive strategies is a course/ workshop designed for students of Apparel Marketing and merchandising providing understanding and design awareness to the future marketing and management personnel of the industry, based on the premise that in a business where Design is the Value added to the product, unless there is sufficient awareness of the potential of Design this value cannot be realized for enhanced profitability. The students work in close co-ordination with industry to understand the client, the product and the customer, translate analytical details in terms of colour, form and texture and provide a brief for the designer.

Design and Society - The Indian context, is a series of 3 lectures that brings into the classroom various social and cultural issues that define design predilection while simultaneously questioning these in the larger framework of Indian society in an attempt to sensitize young urban professionals towards addressing issues of a larger social concern within the context of design.

The various subjects relating to design have been addressed to students of Fashion Design, Textile Design, Textile Technology, Apparel marketing and merchandising, Leather Apparel Design Technology and Fashion Communication.

 

ARTISTS STATEMENT

As an artist, I embroider as opposed to painting on a canvas. My training as a Textile Designer and subsequent exposure to the existing hand-crafted textile traditions of India, inspire and motivate me to work with the medium of textiles and hand embroidery, for I believe that Textile Art, in the Indian context, is a key element in the future of India’s crafting legacy.

I work with my hands, with needle and thread, exhibiting my work as an artist/ craftsperson in the environs of the Art Gallery to attempt to lend dignity to the notion of hand-crafting as Art, beyond skilled labour as it is largely considered today.

Embroidery embodies for me, the tactile quality of a constructed fabric, the subtle nuances of thread and the pictorial dimensions of a painting. This medium provides me with considerable flexibility to convey ideas in form and to also express nuances of feeling and thought.

The idea of Textile Art as a key element in the future of India’s textile crafting legacy and questioning the existing parameters of Art, have been much of what I have expressed through my creative work as Installations -gradually working to evolve a personal iconography through which I can express my identity in thought, the antecedents of my thoughts and ideas as belonging to this global society yet rooted in an Indian ethos.

Textile Art :

• Art for wear
• Painted textiles
• Embroidered Textiles
• Mixed Media
• Installations
• Video

 

PRESS REVIEWS

Exhibitions :

"In the exhibition “Drawn with Thread’, she presents delicate, materially ephemeral works not unlike the spider’s splendid web. These authentically creative works are not the bare sum of their sights and sounds, but also their pains. In adding this, they find relation with their universe and sing in unison……..For this artist the humble is the extraordinary. But we will see it truly only if we have the requisite eyes, because this creativity registers what really happens when we undergo affecting experiences. As though from leaves of grass, as by stocking up on their likes; Gopika Nath stirs pre-conscious memories in patterns on fabric."
— Keshav Malik, Art and Deal Magazine

"Nath drew on resources of the craft-based art practices - she used mixed media and employed the delicately stitched line to explore existential experiences of lasting value. By sensitively choosing fabric and threads she created honest but subtle textural interactions. Nath used lines that were harshly minimalist, proving that a disorderly world can sometimes be effectively probed using stark means."
— Ina Puri, Art India Magazine

"Gopika Nath endeavours to gently infuse fresh life in the famed textiles of the land, to help out the creative but mute oral India, threatened by demonic industrial forces."
— Chandni Nair, The Indian Express.

"The most imaginative use of space was in the work of Gopika Nath who used the material aspects of living ..... to recreate a lower economic household environment, which pithily comments on the lives of the inmates. The impression that one comes away with is of the sheer materiality of human existence, its little and big needs, diversions and pleasures, all represented by the overflow of matter."
— Gayatri Sinha, The Hindu.

"It was a good reminder of whose effort has gone in to build the splendors others have appropriated her installation reminds us that times have changed and we have the right and power to look into the innards of every illusion."
— Suneet Chopra, The Hindustan Times.

"We have a darer on virgin ground, one who really thinks for herself. Refreshingly different as some of her own offering is, one is even more pleased that she is questioning the currently accepted parameters of art. Her intellected stance may well help make the act of art, socially more fractious."
— Keshav Malik, The Times of India.

"It was a good reminder of whose effort has gone in to build the splendours others have appropriated ....... Her installation reminds us that times have changed and we have the right and power to look into the innards of every illusion."
— Suneet Chopra, The Hindustan Times.

"Nath compels the viewer to step forward into her world, it is a world of weft and weave, of colour and textures and contour. The show ..... abounds in the beauty and harmony that can be spelt in the world of permutations and combinations ..... It is through a powerful process of recollection that Nath presents the conflict and cohesive nature of ideas........ The works on the wall are not just smashing, they seem to reflect facets of the world gone by and now just living...... Nath's show gives us insights into the world of Textiles as well as the experiential awareness about the totality of appeal in the world of design.""
— Uma Nair, The Asian Age.

"Gopika Nath's hand painting on sarees is yet another exercise in pure creativity from a woman with numerous firsts to her credit."
The Evening News.

"In what can be described as powerfully creative, Nath has created an ambience of a Dhobi Ghat...... these bright hand-painted scarves and dupattas reflect a strange rebellion of an artist with their free-flowing designs and colour combinations.""
— Navneet Kaur, The Indian Express.

"Designing sarees is her forte and Gopika has designed and painted several collections for well-known stores like Vichitra and Roop Saree Kendra."

Art for Wear :

"Gopika Nath's professional competence matched with her free expressive sense of styling and designing has made her new collection of saris quite unique."
The Stateman.

"Gopika Nath's hand painting on sarees is yet another exercise in pure creativity from a woman with numerous firsts to her credit."
The Evening News.

"Gopika Nath who has shown her expertise and versatility in designing for furnishings to apparel to bed-linen, sarees, scarves and wall hangings and also carpets! pattern making comes naturally to her...... her many faceted creativity is striking."
— Nilima Pathak, Mid-day.

"Designing sarees is her forte and Gopika has designed and painted several collections for well-known stores like Vichitra and Roop Saree Kendra."
First City.

"By no stretch of the imagination is this collection run of the mill......... Nath creates intricate patterns with delicious unconventional colour combinations..... Nath's modern concepts on the traditional six yard saree come close to being an art form."
—Neelam Mathews, The Hindustan Times.

"Her creations are so perfect that buyers cannot believe it is hand-done...... She is a painter, a designer, a colour specialist - all rolled into one."
—Meher Castelino, Mid-day.

"Move over Zandra Rhodes. Painter-designer Gopika Nath is here with an equisite collection of hand painted sarees."
The Indian Express.

"If you choose to wear one of Gopika Nath's creations, it would be a bit like donning an original painting except that the fabric is not canvas but six yards of either swirling chiffon, crisp tussar, delicate brocade or clinging crepe...... Gopika Nath's exclusive niche is well carved out. More importantly perhaps, is that she didn't have to be a Husain or a Bawa to do it."
—E, Jayashree Kurup, The Saturday Times.