Beaded cutlery at your service...

Beaded cutlery at your service...
For some people, doing beadwork on different surfaces is a hobby. For others, keeping cutlery polished and neatly stacked into kitchen stands, is a pastime. 

But what happens when one mixes the two and creates beaded cutlery which can be used on special occasions? 

Sujatha Balakrishnan, a teacher and counsellor, developed this passion during a visit to South Africa. 

“Art has always fascinated me and I have never missed any opportunity to learn about anything unique that comes my way,” says Sujatha, who started her hobby in 2008. 

She explains that beaded 
cutlery is one such art, which is simple yet interesting. 

“Also, since this art is useful and not just something which lies unused in the house, it is all the more special. I have often gifted these on weddings, birthdays and even festivals and they are well appreciated because of their uniqueness,” she says.

So how did she develop an interest for this hobby? 
 
“In South Africa, I came across a store which had different curios. I spotted such cutlery there and though they were beautiful, they were expensive. To my luck, I discovered 
a class which taught the art. Though I was visiting the place only for a week, I enrolled for the class for a day,” details Sujatha. 

She says that after she got back home, she used to make these for her friends and relatives on special occasions. 

“I believe that any handmade art is priceless and love sharing my passion with those who are close to me,” she says.

It takes Sujatha almost two days to finish a set of 16 cutlery items that includes four forks, four tablespoons, four teaspoons and four knives. Talking about the art of making these specially designed cutlery, Sujatha says that first, holes are drilled into the cutlery and then they are designed with beads. 

“The number of holes depends on the size of the cutlery. If it’s a teaspoon, only two holes need to be drilled through the piece and if it’s a tablespoon, then three holes have to be drilled,” explainsSujatha. 

The other requirements for the hobby are coloured beads that she buys from Raja Market on Avenue Road. 
 
“I buy them in large quantities in various shades of green, blue, red and orange to make different combinations as and when possible,” she says. The thread used to string these beads is edible, she adds. 

“Since the artwork is done on tableware which is used to consume food, using edible thread is a requisite,” she clarifies.

Ask her which one is her favourite design and she says that she likes any design or combination that covers the entire piece. 
 
“It doesn’t look good when certain portions at the end of the spoon or fork are seen. It looks unfinished,” says Sujatha. 
 
“I love any piece that is done with orange beads since the set looks beautiful and rich especially when used for dinner,” she says. 

Cutlery pieces with filigree or delicate karigari work are often seen but such colourful work is a rare sight. 
 
“When we have visitors at home, especially guests from abroad, I gift them a set of four dessert spoons or mini fork sets,” she says. She adds that she has only received positive 
feedback so far. 

“Everyone is awestruck and some even tell me about the different combinations that can be tried,” says Sujatha.

Another suggestion she has received is that she should try this work on bowls and wooden spoons or ladles. 

“In Africa, a special type of wood is used for making these utensils and I want to get something like that. But I haven’t been able to find it here,” she says.

For many, a hobby is a way to discover themselves. “Apart from helping me explore my artistic side, this hobby has also been a stress-buster for me,” she wraps up.

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