Art from nothing

Unique Hobbies

Art from nothing

Ceramic powder, dental powder and M-seal are as incongruous as chalk and cheese. But not in the hands of sisters — Rekha Paladee and Roopa Parekh — who began playing with these as kids till they managed to create an artistic symphony of the scrap material.

These two bright young women have created tiny pieces of art by blending dental powder or ceramic powder with Fevicol.

The decorative pieces of art range from religious symbols to intricately carved gods and goddesses to their interpretation of modern art.

Rekha recalls that as children, she and Roopa would spend hours drawing and making items from whatever scrap they found in the house.

“We just don’t know how we picked up this hobby. It’s all done through trial and error. All I can say is that even as children, we would experiment a lot and I think this is the result of that,” explains Rekha.

At first, the procedure may seem a little complicated and messy but the sisters love to dirty their hands, literally. Dental powder is first mixed with Fevicol to the right consistency and then slapped on the plywood to form the base.

“We never mix dental powder and ceramic powder together. It is always mixed separately with Fevicol and then worked on. We then take small pieces of M-seal, add water to it and some powder so that it doesn’t stick together. Then we make small shapes out of it.

It is painted when it is dry and mounted with Fevicol on the plywood to make a complete piece of art, which ranges from people’s figures, a village scene to buildings or just about anything we feel like making. Nothing is planned,” explains Roopa.

Rekha pitches in, “Dental powder is used more in our work because it dries faster. After the painting is done, we use varnish for the shine and a colourless shiny liquid called ‘hot’ to give the painting a shimmery look and feel.”

And these pieces of art last for a lifetime.

Rekha and Roopa’s art work adorn the walls of their living rooms, bedrooms and their children’s rooms which have been done up using different themes. “We’ve gifted the art pieces to family and friends. And we’ve worked on our children’s projects as well,” says Roopa.

So do they plan their work? “No, we don’t. We work together whenever we can grab some time. When we start on a piece, we work on it for about two hours. It’s never done at one stretch but in phases,” adds Rekha.

And helping the women cut the pieces of wood to the required shape and size is Rekha’s husband Shastri Paladee, who has bought all the tools required for the purpose.

 “We buy plywood whenever we need to work on it. I then cut it to the right measurement with the help of a saw and a jigsaw. It’s a good pastime for me,” says Shastri.

The two sisters have never thought of converting their hobby into a full-fledged business although a lot of people have advised them to do so, “This is something we picked up as children and can never imagine going into the market with.

It’s a passion that we have been pursuing for as long as we can remember,” concludes Rekha.

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