'I never have to use paint'

'I never have to use paint'

'I never have to use paint'

Malathy Kumaran can’t bear to sit idle for long. Ask her to and she’ll probably give you a deep frown. She hates to while away time and prefers spending every second with care.

That’s how the teacher and academician stumbled upon the world of craft — she had some time to spare and wasn’t ready to bin in right away. Instead, she decided to start making beautiful accessories.

Her products, made from polymer clay, are dipped and dyed in a rainbow and reflect the creative spirit in her. “I have always been interested in crafting but it wasn’t until our move to Egypt that I took it seriously.” Around nine years back, she and her family moved to the African country when her husband was transferred there for work. “I couldn’t continue teaching because the medium and method of teaching there are different. Most schools use Hebrew as the base language to teach in. Since I was left with so much free time on my hands, I decided to do something; I couldn’t sit idle for that long.”

It was there that she found her poison — polymer clay. Unlike natural clay, which has its limitations, polymer clay is more versatile. “I prefer synthetic clay because it comes in different colours. I never have to use paint. But with natural clay, I’ll have to use paint to give it colour (and I love colour), which doesn’t come out as intricate. All the work and detailing you see on my polymer clay works are done by just understanding and bending the material,” she says. It’s this ability of Malathy’s to understand colours that allows her to bring out the best in her works.

After a four-year sojourn in Egypt, she came back to India but her nomadic life didn’t end there. “As we were constantly travelling, I couldn’t go back to teaching. It isn’t right to leave your students mid-way through a year and I’d have no choice because of my husband’s work. So I decided to give crafting a serious go,” she explains.

What started out as a hobby took on a more serious avatar. “I started making these items, from earrings to neckpieces, to give to friends and family. But then I decided to make it more commercial,” she says. Why does she make only jewellery? “Like I said, it started out as a hobby and jewellery is the most welcomed gift. Some people might not have space for home decor items and jewellery pieces are easier to store,” she adds.

She home bakes the pieces so they are not only colourful and intricately designed, but also sturdy and strong. They aren’t likely to break easily when dropped. Inspired by nature, she says, “I love nature. I see a flower and would want to make, and this is why I use polymer clay. Natural clay can’t capture the little details.”

For more details, visit her site www.athenahues.com.