A hint of tradition

A hint of tradition

Craft love

A hint of tradition

She best suits the phrase ‘Being creative is not a hobby, it’s a way of life’. She is an architect by profession and works with an MNC specialising in commercial interiors.

Siddhi Jaguste Natekar’s love for art and craft has seen her exploring and experimenting with various forms of art. From quilling to painting, she has now mastered almost every kind of craft.

“Ever since I was a kid I had a liking for art — quilling, origami and painting — which grew over the years. During school days, I participated and won several prizes in state and national level painting competitions. This craze continued throughout my graduation days too. That was when I learnt warli and madhubani painting techniques and attended workshops to learn more about these traditional art forms,” says Siddhi.

She adds, “After I moved to Bengaluru three years back, I heard about decoupage and decided to explore it. On a recommendation from a friend, I attended a workshop on decoupage and took an immediate liking to it.”

Giving a name to her talent, she started ‘Craft Curry’, an online start-up, in 2014. “‘Craft curry’ is a name that my husband and I came up with to help promote the various artworks, especially my decoupage art. After I attended the workshop, I immediately started making my own pieces and shared the images with friends and family. Gradually, they started asking me to make some for them too. Once I started getting a steady stream of requests, we decided to create a Facebook page with the name ‘Craft Curry’. I do most of the craft work alone in my free time, usually during the weekends,” she says adding, “We thought ‘Craft Curry’ is an apt name since my art has a traditional flavour and is an assortment of madhubani and warli paintings along with decoupage art.”

She says that her mother-in-law and cousin Vrushali are a constant help to her and she mostly goes to them for any aesthetic inputs. “My husband also helps me with the pricing of the products, online promotion, procurement of raw materials and logistics.”

According to Siddhi, craft is a channel to express oneself and give some kind of form and shape to one’s thoughts. The several opportunities that she got to visit tribal villages and learn art and other techniques from them deepened her interest in arts and crafts, with her latest interest being the wood burning art.

As for the materials that she mostly uses, she says, “Initially I worked with the medium-density fibreboard (MDF) products. However, later I started using materials like glass jars and plastic plates. Once I got a good hold over MDF, I moved on to wooden boxes, as they are more durable and the texture of the wood adds more finesse to the product. Over time, I started using everyday materials and from these, I moved to craft paper and decorative tissue papers. For most of my orders, I use paper based on the theme and the concept of the project.”

She has exhibited her works at flea markets and home decor and handicraft shops in the City. She says, “Most of the requests I get are either through word-of-mouth or they are repeat orders. For me, that’s a great encouragement. Decoupage product is a novel gifting solution as it is customised according to the individual demand and occasion. Sometimes, people say that the prices are higher than most similar looking products. What they don’t realise is that these are customised and handcrafted, and not machine-made mass produced products.”

Working on every new piece is a challenge for her as she makes sure that each design is different and unique. “People like to possess a unique personalised piece. So each piece is a challenge but it is fun too.”

As for the other challenges that she faces, she adds, “Since I work alone and only during my free time, I have to turn down quite a few large orders for corporate events. Moreover, I get lots of requests from other cities like Delhi and Mumbai, hence logistics becomes a big issue. Transporting the delicate items has to be done with care and adds cost and time which sometimes discourages my customers from going for it.”

However, it is the joy and contentment of doing something she truly enjoys that keeps Siddhi going.