Tasteful twist to waste

Tasteful twist to waste

All of us have tried our hand at art and craft during our school days, whether it’s paper mache, pottery, origami or just plain old paper painting and drawing. But these classes are usually left behind, along with the school, when one graduates. For Rini Joshy, however, her art classes were just the beginning — now she’s the proud owner of ‘Chamkeley Cheez’, a portal for her to share her artwork.

She likes to convert everyday dry waste into beautiful products. “I turn old unusable things into arty, quirky, home decor and gift items. I believe in ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’,” she says. From empty bottles to pickle jars, ceramic pots and disposable cans, she uses everything she can lay her hands on. “My mother encourages me because she doesn’t like to throw things and my father won’t let her keep everything. Now she makes me paint everything, from old pickle jars to kerosene lamps, so that we can display them in the house instead of trashing them!”

The communication consultant takes orders to customise items as she thinks handmade goods are special and unique. “If anyone has to gift me anything, I ask them to make it themselves because I want everyone to do this. Unlike gifts you buy in stores, which are mass produced, these items are one-of-a-kind.” It is this belief that makes her not sell any product that is readymade. “If I have a product lying around, I don’t let people pick it up; instead I ask them what they have in their mind and paint it for them.” This is why none of her products have a fixed price on them.

Rini’s love for art began when she was in primary school. “I was introduced to pot painting in fifth standard or so. The rest of what I’ve learnt is self-taught.” As she grew up, she started collecting pots with a mind to paint them but never quite got to it. “Soon, I had so many pots around the house that I had to paint them. Even now, this is what keeps me active as I’m a lazy person,” she says.

At first, she didn’t have much success but she never gave up. “I started using enamel but a friend suggested I try wall paint. So I went to small shops and got paint samples from them. They don’t have many colours, mostly black, red, green and yellow, but it lets me experiment with different types of paint.” When her house was being renovated, she picked up broken tiles and began working with those. “I made a painting of ‘The Last Supper’ with tiles and enamel. That’s when my family and friends suggested I take up painting more seriously.”

The love for upcycling is something that started of late though. “I have friends who party regularly so that left me with many bottles. Every week, I would ask them to give me empty bottles, and I would convert these into desktop planters and other home decor items. I strongly feel that reusing things should be practised and encouraged as a way of life.” When she gifted her two-year-old niece a painted pot and saw how happy she was, she realised there’s a market for planters. “Right now, there’s no place in Bengaluru to keep pots, let alone have a garden. This is a way for people to have plants as well as make their house look beautiful,” she sums up.

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