I was born into a family of goldsmiths and my introduction to materials and design started at a very early age. When my playmates were enthusiastic about toys and raced bicycles in the gully, I found solace experimenting with tools and materials.
Encouraged by this curiosity and my family’s apt guidance I enrolled for an extensive 4 year course on crafts and design at the Institute of Arts and Crafts in Jaipur, the city which also broadened my creative horizons.
The traditional craft of Dhokra forms a larger part of my design portfolio, my rendezvous with the traditional craft happened in my college days when I was focused on underutilised crafts and the skills of the artisans. I travelled to Bastar and met with artisans who were extremely skilled. They had been creating figurines and other products that could be used as decorative items.
I decided to stretch the limits of this craft and experiment. I stayed and worked in Bastar for almost six months. During this period I studied the local people, their lifestyle, their dressing sense, etc. and came up with concepts that helped me create a range of bar accessories, kitchen accessories, table wares and other utility products.
I worked with mixed material, mixing Dhokra with various other materials like wood, glass etc. I was amazed to see the potential of the craftsmen and their enthusiasm with the new developments.
I was awarded the 2009 Forhex Award for “Best Innovation in Crafts” for this project from the Government of Rajasthan. The work was and is still featured in many prestigious magazines and newspapers.
Another project where details of a product were important and what also shaped my identity as an artist was the project where I experimented with peanuts! I created a dry fuit bowl by joining small peanuts together. I paid a lot of attention to the minute details of a single peanut and the final form of the end product.
The Peanut was awarded the Livingetc New Designer Award 2010 in association with RSA (Royal Society of Arts, London) in India for “Innovative Application of Existing Material.”
The Indian cultural norms have always excited me and my design compliments them. The design of the ‘Pattal Plate and Bowl set’ and the ‘Banana Leaf and Bowl set’ takes its inspiration from the traditional dining system of India where in every auspicious occasion the food is served on a leaf plate.
In North India it is served in a pattal plate and bowl, which is made by joining the ‘sal’ leaves together with a small wooden stick, while in South India the food is served in a big banana leaf.
I studied the forms of these plates and redesigned them with metal. I refined the form with the techniques and finishes to suit the taste of my audience. These plates can be used for serving or could just be used as a decorative product. The story behind the product connects us with the glorious tradition we have while the approach is still modern.
What also inspires me greatly is the mesmerising world around me – the people in it, the flora and fauna it has! A lot of my design is inspired by the details that are present around us.
For instance if you observe your garden very closely you would be amazed at the various shapes, intricacies and colours it has to offer! I take into account these details and try to stay as close to nature as possible. The reflection of this can be seen in my products like the Lily Leaf Collection, Fan Palm Fruit Bowl, Drinking Gourd Leaf Platter, Feather Platter and the Lemon Leaf Tea Kettle.
The broad diversity of my work also allows me to work on commissioned projects as well as art installations.
As a designer I have emphasised on the fact that my products should detail the exquisite craftsmanship, thereby paying an ode to the craft and the tradition it espouses. My work also reflects the seamless synchronisation between an artist, a designer and a craftsman. I firmly believe that each product captivates the connoisseur with its tale and craft and a union of the two converts it into an work of art.