Stories in a bottle

Stories in  a bottle

For Malini Shetti, a homemaker, the world of art and craft was always the perfect space to be at. Inspired by the importance of ‘recycle, reuse and reduce’, this self-taught artist started immersing herself into bottleart and art on tin and boxes five years back. There has been no looking back since.

Malini was surfing online when she saw photographs of bottleart which were inspiring and that is what lured her to take it up. “I have been interested in arts and crafts from a very young age. I started getting interested in bottleart when I read about the concept of ‘art from waste’ and how one can reuse things like bottles and fabrics to make beautiful pieces of works,” says Malini.  While for some of the designs, she has used fabrics and tissue papers, others have strings and buttons on the designs. The designs are mostly nature-inspired.

“From the idea to the end product, working on a bottle could take around six to eight hours. I first come up with the idea and then the process gets completed within a day,” she says. Malini either sources used bottles from clubs nearby or from family and friends.  “I’ve also worked on tins and ‘Pringles’ boxes lying around at home. Apart from that, I have used ‘matkas’ that come with ‘rasagullas’,” she says. She explains that there is a process which goes behind each of the designs.

“The bottle needs to be washed to remove all labels on it. They have to be dried and cleaned with a cloth before starting the design. Once I get a bottle, according to its shape and size I plan the design,” she says. She adds that if the bottle is longer, she works on it with a textured cloth or tissue paper and if it is a wider one, she tries ceramic flowers on them.

“There is a mix available which is made into a dough. I use this to make the flowers, which are stuck on the bottle.” If she finds a coloured bottle, she does one-stroke painting on them. “The background colour adds a zing to the design,” she says. After the bottle is ready to use, she uses cloth or textures lying around and dips it into liquid Fevicol, before rolling it into designs.

“Be it a leaf or a flower, one has to have a clear idea of what they want to do before they set out to work. Once the cloth dries, I paint the design, the whole bottle and the cloth. Extra embellishments like beads or buttons are added to complete the design,” she says.  To perfect a bottle or tin, she even uses decoupage tissue or textured paste and works with an artist’s knife in it.

She uses acrylic colours in metallic shades to paint on the texture. “The sheen of the colours make the designs pop out and give it different dimensions,” she adds. The designs mostly comprise of flowers, which clearly show her love for them. “I love everything floral but I also find that twisting cloth and tissue paper into flowers is easier and looks beautiful.” The attractiveness of any design depends on your creative flow, vouches Malini.

“Though I do refer to designs and surf online on things people are working with, the idea is yours and that makes your craft unique. I just pick up a bottle and then my creativity flows. There is no point aping other people’s designs, thus I tell my own stories through my designs,” she says.   

While she saves some of these in her house, she loves giving these away as gifts also.“When my friends and relatives come home they ask me if they could take some of them and I give it. I love giving these away as this inspires me to explore new designs,” says Malini. Though Malini has been able to work on varied designs, she wants to work with funky designs on lampshades made with bottles. “I want to continue working with the craft as I know the possibilities are endless. This hobby of mine has made me a better planner and has been a great outlet for me,” she says.

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