To spur creativity people often derive inspiration from nature; within this lot, some tend to be more eco-conscious and try to be as nature friendly as possible – our specialist for this month heralds this unique trait.
A look at her designs and I am prompted to ask, “How did you imagine these creations which are alive yet serene?” Prompt comes the answer, “Nature, always nature, there can be no greater inspiration, because nature is everything at once: serene and calm, violent and harsh, nurturing yet unforgiving, unpredictable but infinitely beautiful.”
A day has dawned where I am having a conversation with Jenny Pinto at her studio at Harlour Road in Bangalore; at this juncture it would be fit to add that right from her studio to her products everything espouses an eco-friendly quotient. Her studio was one of Bangalore’s first green buildings whilst her paper lamps which adorn numerous living spaces, restaurants and hotels too do their bit to keep the planet happy.
An advertising professional who designed ads and jingles for almost 17 years, Jenny decided to move into nature’s domain and engage in something that would reconnect her with earth – that is how the process of papermaking began, the first step towards lamp making.
Most paper lamp artists I have met or interviewed prefer sourcing paper, (the core raw material required) from a third party but with Jenny it’s a different story. Jenny prefers making the paper herself; the paper is made from natural fibres generated from waste derived from agriculture and the rural cottage industry.
Jenny’s love affair with paper is nostalgic. “What I liked about paper is its ephemeral quality and its impermanence. Having said that paper can last for 400 years but as a material in our daily life, it builds up a nice relationship with us. The more you care for paper the more it gives you. A diary for instance, can be an intimate object in which you can pour your heart out, I find that with paper lamps as well. They adapt to your mood.”
When it comes to choosing the precise fibre for the paper making process Jenny informs, “The paper that I derive for my lamps are primarily from banana fibre and lokta fibre, but specially banana fibre since it is very strong and the paper has warmth that really adds a lot of character and texture to a room. The way I process my paper, makes the paper really tough. I also texture the paper so that even when the lamp is off, it has character and depth.”
The paper making process sets the stage for a well designed paper lamp. The fibre is immersed in an acidic solution and processed until it becomes a pulp. It is then “lifted” in a deckle and mould and pressed and dried.
To ensure that the lamps have the designs imprinted in them, the paper is textured and embellished in the wet stage. This says Jenny “adds to the uniqueness of the end product.”
To make Mother Earth even happier Jenny’s modus operandi involves the minimal use of harsh chemicals during the entire procedure of making the paper. Post this process the final design of the product is finalised in terms of the shape and the look. This stage too involves seamless co-ordination as she engages a team of artisans to help her design the end product.
Till date Jenny has designed many paper lamps for a number of well-known clients which include Serai Resorts, Cumins Pune, Informatics, Google, Microsoft, Cafe Coffee Day, Nandos, The Park Hotel, Green Park Hotel, TCS, etc.
Though paper can act as the genesis of a number of products, Jenny has set her sight only on lamps as she believes it’s a field that still has dimensions that she can explore.
Apart from her own designs Jenny also designs a lot of customised and site specific lamps for homes, hotels and commercial spaces. The time line depends on the work involved which ordinarily ranges from 4-6 weeks.
So if you are still looming in darkness in search of that perfect lamp for your table, wall ceiling or floor, turn on the switch and contact Jenny now. Let there be lamps!
Text By Vikas Bhadra