The world of warli

The world of warli

Unique hobbies

The world of warli

Poornima Kothandharaman was always an artist and crafter, but she had to suppress that creative side to make way for something more mainstream.

   “Back then, about 20 to 25 years ago, you only crafted in school; it was considered a waste of time beyond that,” she says. However, with changing times and aspirations, she decided to give it another shot.

Now, she upcycles anything she can set her hands on and gives them a traditional touch with warli designs.

    She also experiments with other forms of art, but on dry waste again. “I used to craft and paint in school but I gave it for 15 years. It was different back then, art was considered a distraction after a point. And we spent most of our time studying.”

But why did it take her 15 years to get back to her passion? “I went abroad and did my PhD in Physics. And I taught for over a decade in Singapore. Since I am back to Bengaluru now, and I have time to spare, I thought I’d give it a try (again),” she explains.

Calling art and craft “a stressbuster”, she adds that she prefers to keep it a hobby though she could make a career out of it.

“This is a way for me to break away from the monotonous routine of daily life. I can’t just sit at home and do nothing, I don’t like to be idle!” That’s why she began picking up old CDs and cardboard boxes and revamping them. “These pieces are used to redecorate my house or are given away as gifts.” Poornima even teaches and guides those interested.

Another change Poornima noted, along with people’s reaction to art, is, “Art supplies were hard to come by those days and that was a crutch. That has changed and it’s easy to find anything you want. It’s not even difficult to import material, if you want. And it’s nice to see so many people showing interest in art — there are so many ideas and patterns to learn from. People are opting to do things on their own, walk down unconventional paths.”

While she primarily works with acrylic and glass paints, she also uses rangoli and oil paints.

    And she turns old boxes, vases, tin cans and glass bowls into something beautiful. Along with creating something stunning, her aim is to make a product as utilitarian as possible. The life of a product doesn’t end when we stop wanting it, she mentions.

Poornima spends at least half an hour crafting everyday. “Sometimes, when I’m really interested in something, I’ll spend around three to four hours on it,” she says. And apart from art classes when in school, she is self-taught.

On why she’s attracted to warli, she elaborates, “It’s a simple and straightforward way to tell a complex story. You can narrate a person’s daily life through these paintings. And they are easy for the viewer to understand as well. Whenever I see warli artwork, I pick up something from it, or I come up with my own designs.”

(Poornima can be contacted on