She was brought up in a home filled with love — for each other and the arts. Even as a child, Swathi Swamy, an entrepreneur and marketing assistant, had a creative bend that was more flexible than in most people. Whether it was oil painting, 3D work, pottery or simple canvas art, she would spend long hours working on her passion. As she grew up, Swathi didn’t have to think twice before she took the arts more seriously. Whenever she isn’t working in her brother’s CA firm, she quietly sidles to her work room and journeys into a world that is magical.
“Since a young age, I have been pursuing art and craft as a hobby. Every summer vacation I would learn a new art or craft form from my mother or by attending interesting summer camps in my neighbourhood. This taught me a lot,” she says. Her mother, sister and she would sit together every summer and work on projects. “You could say that the love for crafting runs in my veins! My mother loves to sew, and although I never learnt it, we’d work on other projects together.”
While sewing never interested her, crochet and decoupage did. “In 2012, I saw my aunt working on crochet and that inspired me to take it up. I’m mostly self-taught, though I had a bit of help from my mother, who would help me whenever I got stuck. I also learnt a lot from online tutorials.” She began making doilies, stoles and cellphone pouches for her personal use, but after learning the basics, she moved on to something more challenging. “After a while, I began making crochet accessories for my friends and family,” she says. From earrings to clips, she knits them all to perfection.
The good response she received urged her to take her crafting a step further. “Over time, I ideated and created various designs and patterns of my own. Along with crochet, in 2013, I began making photo frame magnets, post-it magnets, greeting cards, bookmarks, tissue holders, coaster and trays.” This exploration began once she joined the Bangalore Craft Lovers group on Facebook. “When I joined the group, I met many other artists and saw the different kinds of work that were being done. I began to try out anything that interested me. If I saw something I liked, I’d spend some time on it. This was the time when decoupage was becoming popular, so I took to it,” she elaborates.
After a few decoupage classes, she went ahead to explore (yet again). “Most people use printed patterns for decoupage but I wanted to do something different so I made special, themed decoupage boxes, like a Ferrari box.” She has also made a box inspired by the movie ‘Planes’ and a ‘Frozen’ themed fridge magnet. “Decoupage is an art of decorating an object like wood, glass or ceramic, by gluing pattern paper with special varnishes and giving effects to it with paints and inks. I work on MDF wood products like boxes, trays, tissue box holders, coasters etc. Apart from regular floral and abstract designs, I do customised, themed items,” she explains.
Her friends and family have been more than encouraging. “They have supported and encouraged my passion. Their guidance and feedback helps me to improvise my work. I believe that learning is a continuous process and I like to keep myself updated with latest trends and techniques in the crafting industry. It is an amazing feeling to come up with an idea, gather the required materials and tools and create the desired product in mind. I do give a lot of attention to quality and precision to all my projects. As crafting is my passion, I get a lot of happiness and satisfaction in the things that I do.”
And when she says that she pays attention to detail, she isn’t kidding. She is specific to use MDF products because, although she could upcycle home products, she wants the items to look their best. For Swathi, this is more than just an art; it is something that gives her immense happiness and satisfaction.