Those are the cutest paper cats ever, don’t you agree? I commissioned Hina Nitesh to translate my Warp and Weft into images, and she lived up to my expectations with this wonderful reproduction.
I have the deepest admiration for creators who work with their hands to produce something so detailed and delicate.
We met when we began to participate in craft fairs together and I am thrilled to own a piece of her artistry.
Let’s hear what she has to say about her crafting journey.
Why do you craft? And why quilling? Was it a straightforward journey, something you always wanted to do? Or did you get there via other pathways?
Creating something with my hands gives me immense happiness and is also a stress buster. I love to experiment with different media, colours and techniques. I find it difficult to stick to one type of craft form for long so I keep on shuttling between different craft forms. I have tried oil painting, making zentangles, crochet, embroidery, decoupage, candle making, cold porcelain crafts, flower making – some learnt formally while others were self taught. These days (actually for more than a year, probably a record of sorts) I am quilling. It was not something that I started with the aim of making it my calling, but I find it fascinating and it has held my attention thus far.
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 feel that the process and the product are deeply interlinked and it is difficult to distinguish between the two. I enjoy the process of crafting and this is reflected in the product. The joy is both in the making as well as in the product being admired.
What has been your most rewarding crafting moment so far? Can you reproduce it, do you think? Have you tried to?
There have been many rewarding moments, for sure. There are two kinds of people whose appreciation is important to me – one is the total stranger who sees my work at an exhibition or on my page and admires it. The other is my own children who don’t mince words when it comes to ‘honest’ opinion. So, when my children want to gift their friends something made by me, I am over the moon!
I often think of reproducing products that are popular with people. I have tried it with jewellery, but ended with a slightly different product each time. And why not, one of the charms of handmade is that it is different and can be customised.
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?
Before we talk of ‘stopping in tracks’, let me talk about ‘getting started’ for that is the toughest part for me. I keep thinking about the different aspects, like colours, forms, fonts, etc. In case of a custom order, I also think of the person whose personality I try to reflect. When I am stuck in the middle of the project, unable to decide the way ahead, I look at images (not necessarily quilling) for inspiration. Thankfully, with my craft, the entire canvas is an experiment till it is glued down. This leaves me with a lot of room to experiment. I leave the canvas overnight (or days!!) with strips in place. If I still like it the next day, I glue it all down!
Has your craft changed you? In what way?
Quilling, as an art form, is slow and requires a lot of precision. I spend hours on a project but there is little to show on the canvas. So one of the things that I have learnt is patience. Cutting the strips, rolling them, gluing them down in the perfect place with forceps in my hand – it all makes me realise how important it is to pay attention to the details.
Does your craft define you?
Yes, my craft is now one of the things that define me.
Some advice you wish someone had given you when you were still beginning your journey as a crafter?
If you wish to make your craft a source of livelihood, it is a big struggle, especially in the Indian context. I would say, take pride in your work and demand to be paid for it. There will always be people who will appreciate and encourage you – count on them and forget the sceptics. Be a thorough professional and pay attention to everything, from the product to its packaging. Think global by being social media savvy and have an online presence.
Are there still horizons for you to conquer? Which ones, specifically?
Paper is an amazing medium to work with. One, it is easily available and pliable. You can explore forms and geometry, cut it, tear it, fold it, roll it and make it resemble just about anything. With quilling I am just skimming the surface of the immense possibilities that paper offers. Then there are artists like Yulia Brodskaya, Caroline Rose, Gunjan Aylawadi, Parth Kothekar whose work inspires me. So yes, there is a long way to go…