An IT professional, Nagendra Prasad uses his crafty hands and nimble fingers for more than just cracking codes on his computer. As a child, he had a keen interest in creating ‘rangolis’ during festivals and revamping photo frames. He turned his love for art and craft into a passion during his tenth standard.
Plastic dolls became a regular sight in his house, thanks to his creative mind and he began to look for scrap material with which he could decorate them. This included waste cloth items such as ‘zari’ and silk materials, earrings, studs, worn-out beads from necklaces, ‘jhumkas’, lace material, the shiny ends of ‘sari’ borders and ‘kundals’.
Over the years, he has created a number of innovative and beautiful dolls. He buys simple plastic dolls from the market and gives them a fresh look. He says, “My passion is to give these dolls a new life because I don’t like to see decorative items going into the bin. I was always into creating something new. Instead of throwing them away, I thought we could find sustainable means to reuse these items. Ninety per cent of my decorative pieces include items that lie unused at home.”
His creations gained more popularity when he started gifting them to his family members and showcasing them at weddings and during festivals. So far, he has created about 15 such dolls and the most cherished one out of his collection is the set which he dolled up and displayed during his wedding.
It comprises two dolls — male and female — with two guards pulling strings from them. The humble artist hasn’t displayed any of his creations in exhibitions or ‘santhes’.
He says that the dolls are merely a result of his love for the art. He utilises his time during the weekends and spends about 30 to 45 minutes on his hobby. “I am unable to devote much time to the craft during the week as I come back from work very late. The exciting part about weekends is that my daughter and I decorate the dolls together. She guides me through the entire process and gives me a lot of suggestions about the kind of cloth that I should use, the colour combinations I should try out and the jewellery I can work with. Though she is still young, she seems interested and I hope she takes to this passion when she grows up.”
Just like his daughter, the rest of his family members are equally appreciative of his talent. His aunt has been a big inspiration and his wife gives him many suggestions about the colours that he can mix and match.
Nagendra also refers to YouTube and says that it gives him unique ideas and innovative designs to work with, which he probably would have never come across otherwise.
He also watches many art-related television shows to understand how to make the best use out of waste.
“In the beginning, I faced certain challenges when stitching the cloth and cutting it out because the needle used to poke my finger. Even the execution would never turn out the way I planned. So, I would alter my design or plan and change the concept. Once, I wanted to give a set to my cousin and had an elaborate plan but limited time since I was in the tenth standard. I decorated two dolls with cotton clothes but had to change the set-up later. Despite such challenges, I pushed myself because the hobby is worth it. It doesn’t take time and is simple. One doesn’t have to invest in it as all the items are from home and most importantly, it enhances the look of the house in a cost-effective way.”
However, concentration and patience are crucial to maintaining the hobby. For him, it’s more than just a stress-buster.
Neither has he taken any craft classes nor does he plan to conduct any special session for students interested in art. However, he is open to sharing his ideas with youngsters who are interested in the hobby and is constantly on the lookout for new themes.