The Artisan Corina

I first met Rohinni Juneja (The Artisan Corina) when a quilting friend brought her home for her to see my looms. Thankfully she’d been forewarned that I’m eccentric, and we hit it off quite well.

Her aesthetic is so different from my own (non-existent) one, as you’ll see from the images of her work that she’s shared with us here. Delicate shades of pastels and pearly hues, and an immense attention to detail mark her output. She’s also an ace at photography, so I’m thrilled to be able to show off her work at its best.

In addition, she appreciates the same sort of absurdity and hubris in human nature as I do, so we’ve chatted late into the night on many occasions.

When first it occurred to me to have a gallery of my favourite craftspeople, she naturally featured, and despite a brand new baby, she very kindly answered all my questions and supplied images. My attempts at illustrating her crafting story likely do not bring out all aspects of her creativity, but I hope they draw you to her. I’ve given her social media links at the bottom of the post for you to explore her oeuvre yourself.

How would you describe yourself?

A highbrow eccentric with an eclectic mix of belongings (material and otherwise). (laughs maniacally for a good 5 minutes)

No, I’m not all that. I’m a simple homebody who finds joy and peace in sewing, embroidery and most other forms of handicraft.

Why do you craft? And why the specific craft(s) you pursue? Was it a straightforward journey, something you always wanted to do?

I craft because working with my hands brings me joy, the repetitive nature of the work brings me peace and the predictability of the result keeps my anxiety at bay.

I craft because working with my hands brings me joy, the repetitive nature of the work brings me peace and the predictability of the result keeps my anxiety at bay.

The final product will maybe warm someone’s home and heart (I’m hoping, most times, since I generally give away most things I craft as gifts).

Flower pouches
Made for my sister’s engagement

 

I’ve always believed that life must not have space for regrets and that’s why I make it a point to try/learn everything I’m given a chance at. I started when I was 6 maybe. My father bought me a wool weaving kit (because I threatened to HELP him with some bits of a hand knotted carpet he was working on) and that was it, there wasn’t any looking back from there. My mother taught me to knit, crochet, sew and whatever else she knew. As simple as it sounds, it wasn’t always so. Raw materials and most basic crafting supplies weren’t easy to find. Oftentimes we’d have to substitute and improvise.

Are you a process crafter or a product crafter? Do you do it for the joy of making something, or to enjoy what you’ve made?

I’m a bit of both. It’s mostly about the process. As someone who suffers from anxiety and insomnia, I find the process very soothing. Also, I’m extremely critical of everything that I make (I don’t eat when I cook (laughs) and it’s not because the food might be horrid) so I don’t think there are too many things on the list that I’ve actually enjoyed.

What has been your most rewarding crafting moment so far? Can you reproduce it, do you think? Have you tried to?

I haven’t gotten there as yet. I don’t believe reproducing items interests me in the least, and to be honest I wouldn’t even try. I am a sloth!

What normally gets you down or stops you in your tracks when you’re in the middle of a project? How do you then overcome the hurdle or circumvent it?

MATH!! I’m horrible with numbers. Of course, my sense of direction would like to compete. Almost always, I calculate and recalculate before I cut for any project. With all the calculation and recalculation (this could last a few days) I have always ended up with pieces of fabric that make no sense when sewn together.

I then recalculate (laughs) and cut the pieces that have already been cut and sew them anyway. So the idea, the interpretation and the final product are always VERY different.

Has your craft changed you? In what way?

Yes, it has. Patience, calm and tired fingers it has gifted me.

Does your craft define you?

It is a large part of who I am, but it does not define me.

(Ed.: The bag above was made for someone in a swap, who later sold it. The buyer was Shamlu Dudeja, known for her role in reviving Kantha.)

Some advice you wish someone had given you when you were still in the beginning of your journey as a crafter?

I wish someone had told me that it’s OK to give up sometimes. That it’s OK to put down that crazily failed product into the prototype bin and move on. That doing and redoing the “imperfect” bits may not always give you the desired results.

That doing and redoing the “imperfect” bits may not always give you the desired results. That it’s best to start over sometimes.

That it’s best to start over sometimes. And, that being stubborn isn’t always good.

Are there still horizons for you to conquer? Which ones, specifically?

I can’t even begin with that list (laughs). There is so much out there to learn. First on my list, at the moment, is to learn to organise my workspace. Once I’ve conquered that, I can’t wait to travel and meet the world.

Mixed media mini quilt
Mixed media mini quilt

There you have my tiny snapshot of a crafter who amazes, enchants and inspires me. Before you go, I can’t resist sharing what might be my favourite example of her work.

 

Cross stitch owl
Cross stitch owl

You can find Rohinni on Instagram and on Facebook.

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In love with sewing, weaving, crochet, and with bags and pouches and fabric. I love colour and pattern and texture. I love having my hands busy. Some day I hope my craft will become my day job.

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