The paper trail

The paper trail

The paper trail

It were the regular summer classes that first fuelled her interest in the creative field. Though her mother kept asking her to focus on her studies, B N Nagashree was fascinated by the world of arts and crafts that she encountered during those lazy summer afternoons. She took up home science later on and went on to get a Diploma in fashion designing but eventually came back to her one true love - crafting.

"I am interested in anything that involves creating with hands. While I used to do only fine arts earlier, today I am proficient in different techniques like mixed media, polymer clay jewellery, paper quilling, decoupage, album making and so on," she says.

"I am enchanted by paper. If I see anything made of paper, I immediately want to try it out myself. While paper may seem quite ephemeral to us, in reality anything made of paper lasts for a lifetime," she adds.

Her present favourites are the customised albums. "I feel quite fulfilled when I make an album for someone. When they send their personal pictures and share anecdotes, you feel closely connected with them."

Nagashree credits her family for being very supportive and thinks of this as her "second innings". "I couldn't focus on my passion so much earlier because of family commitments and because my husband had to keep moving places. Now my son has grown up and we have settled in Bengaluru, so I have time to take this up once again."

Nagashree takes classes at home throughout the year and has many students of all age groups. However, despite being closely associated with the sector, she prefers not to get complacent and keeps updating herself about the different and new trends.

"I keep trying out whatever is the present trend. Right now it's mixed media. This is more popular in Mumbai and Delhi while people prefer fine arts over crafts here. I feel Bengalureans want long-term satisfaction. For crafts, you don't need much skill while for fine arts, you have to learn properly. But crafting is slowly picking up here as well," she says.

Her favourite themes revolve around the spiritual. "I did a 'Navadurga' series for 'Navarathri' and I read up a lot about each Durga to decide how I wanted to depict them."

Though the internet has an undeniable presence in her creative journey, she prefers to engage with the modern world for both ideas and materials. "I keep going to 'Itsy Bitsy' all the time. Though it is somewhat expensive, you get whatever you want and there are some things that I want to touch and buy rather than just see on a screen and decide," she notes.

Though only praise has come her way, Nagashree is her own biggest critic. "I take criticism in a good way; I see it as a way to improve. But when I finish something, I can see for myself what all needs to be rectified and refined."

Her future plans include exploring more of folk arts like Kerala murals as well as reaching out to senior citizens or mentally challenged children in an effort to bring art to them. "I feel art helps one get over their problems. I am looking at tying up with a few NGOs in this regard."

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