Quilting her stories

Quilting her stories

Vatsala Kamat can't remember a time when she was not engaged in some kind of handiwork. Knitting, tatting, sewing, patchwork, macrame art, hand embroidery, crochet, tasselling - her repertoire speaks volumes about her 40 years of experience.

"I have been sewing all my life. Some years back, I reached a point where I was  fed up of embroidery and was looking at something else to occupy my time."

She decided to widen her horizons during a trip to Singapore in 2014. Knowing that she will have to stay there for close to three months, Vatsala looked up places to learn quilting. "Luckily, I found a Chinese female tutor close to my place. I attended her classes on a daily basis for one and a half months," she says.

"It was faster, I could finish a project within 10-15 days. And you don't become possessive about your creations unlike embroidery, where you don't want to give away your work to anyone," she laughs.  

The turning point came when her neighbour asked her to put up pictures of her work on Facebook. "I didn't know what Facebook was then. She showed me how to go about it. Then someone asked me to join groups like 'Desi Quilters' to meet more like-minded people. Soon I had members appreciating my work and asking me to teach them. While initially my feedback was limited to the comments from visiting relatives, Facebook  opened up a whole new world for me."

She also credits Facebook for pushing her to open her own studio. The space is called 'Tsala Studio' and Vatsala dubs it as a creative hub for anyone with a creative bent of mind. "It all happened quite quickly, I never thought I will own a studio. It's a lot of work but I am really happy now." She also conducts workshops by artistes from all parts of the country.  

"My children ask me to relax and enjoy life, rather than run after all this. However, I think this was all meant to be. Earlier, I was only known as somebody's daughter, wife or mother. I wanted people to know me outside of that and my hobby gave me a chance to do that," she adds.  

Tote bags, sling bags, wallets, clutches, scissor cases and much more forms part of her inventory. "Some women come just to learn my handwork; I am known as the hexi-queen because I have made a quilt with 16,000 hexagons."  

It is all a matter of interest, she points out. "I have seen working women, mostly software professionals, make time in their busy schedules and come from far away places because they want to learn something new. On the contrary, housewives next-door seem to be only interested in gossiping and kitty parties. However, I hope I can introduce the  next generation to this art form."

(Vatsala can be contacted through her Facebook page 'Tsala's Quilting Studio')

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