A colourful calling

A colourful calling

l Creative pursuits

A colourful calling

The satisfaction she gets from working with her hands is unparallelled, says Mita Majithia, a former software professional who now makes lamps using cardboard.

Like many others in the city who started off with other careers, it took her a few years to realise that craft was her calling. Hers is a journey that meandered through interior designing — even while she had many artistic pursuits on the side — before she started creating home decor items out of corrugated cardboard.

“About half my time is dedicated to ‘Corr Beauty’, my brand, and the other half to my projects,” says the interior designer. Her stint in the IT sector lasted about five years. “Had I still been in that field, I would probably have been getting bored,” she adds, 10 years since she moved away from it.

She first experimented with corrugated cardboard 15 years ago. “I used them for about five years,” she says. Does she plan to give furniture a shot again? “I don’t know. I know quite a few others in the country who are doing that, but what I’m doing is more unique. Moreover, I will have to get the cardboard cut at a factory for furniture — I can’t work with my hands much then.”

Mangala Madhuchand was also part of the world of design and architecture before she shifted her focus to art and craft. “I was always interested in painting, but as a student, I couldn’t afford to go for classes,” she says. “Perhaps, that’s why I chose architecture; I though it would keep me in touch with my creative side.”

This didn’t happen to the extent she hoped. “And once designing software came in, we didn’t work with out hands any more,” she says. So in 2010, she quit her job and took to blogging, painting, doing murals and other craft.

“Sometimes I help with my husband, also an architect, with drawings,” she says. However, from being her main focus, architecure is now one of the things she does on the side. “But art is not my profession,” she says.

A chance portrait commission from a friend while she was still working as a software engineer a couple of years ago turned Shantha Prabhu’s life around. “Art and craft was a hobby back then, but I didn’t get much time for it,” she says.

The initial year-and-a-half was not easy, she adds. “You’re used to a regular income; here, you have to invest a lot on your projects at first,” she explains. Nevertheless, thanks to her choice, she now lives the colourful dream she craved while she put hours at her desk. And income has stabilised.

“I know over 40 forms and styles of art and craft, including various styles of painting,” she says. She writes DIY pieces for a hobbies website for which she experiments with MDF, air dry clay and even does decoupage and mixed-media murals.  “It’s the wedding season now, so I’ve also made some wedding masks. From shopping to making these articles and teaching others (through workshops or DIY pieces), I enjoy every bit of what I do,” she adds.

MBA graduate Manveen Kaur quit her digital marketing job earlier this year to found her own business ‘Hobby in a Box’. Prior to that, she often conducted workshops in glass bottle cutting, glass etching, candle-making and the like. “But then, I realised that there was a lot of interest and people were willing to pay to do these things,” she observes. So the store makes DIY hobby kits for adults.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of DIY information available online — blogs and YouTube videos — are applicable to the only to the US. This is true of both the raw materials as well as the method,” she says. “Being someone who has the urge to figure out how to make anything new I see, this career path seemed a natural choice.”

And with craft, as she pointed out, becoming a more lucrative option, why not?