Handcrafted, upcycled products for Deepavali

Tamaala hosts ‘Earthern Lights’ celebrating nature. In its third year, Earthen Lights combines works from more than 60 urban and rural artisans from around India.

The transformation of newspaper into baskets, bags, and lampshades is an expression of one of the artists Vidya Nag’s love for art and the environment.

From the process of rolling paper tubes to lacquering, the artist aims to give people an alternative to wood and plastic, sold under ‘Aardra’. Her products include shopping bags, trays, and fruit baskets and will be available at Tamaala Art Gallery’s Earthen Lights show this Deepavali.

Vidya stresses the importance of upcycling newspaper instead of breaking down a bamboo tree to make her products. “We don’t need to go for new things all the time. If we can give things new life in another way we can save space and save things going to the dump,” she says.

She adds, “Even with recycling paper there are so many resources needed, and it’s expensive. This is a way to make paper real again.” Running ‘Aardra’ for the past four years, Vidya gave up a nearly 10-year career in IT and engineering to pursue art full-time.

After exhibiting her paintwork she discovered her love for weaving; recruiting a group of women - including senior citizens - who help her roll the tubes and come up with ideas.

It’s a therapeutic process, she says. “It’s exciting, it’s such a beautiful process to be in,” she adds. Along with Vidya’s newspaper creations, handcrafted items of earth materials like glass, metal, clay and wood will be available for purchase at the exhibit.

Suvarna Kamakshi, the artist coordinator for Tamaala, works with artists to help them use their skills to market their items.

She wants to help bridge the gap between what urban customers want and what rural artisans make and encourage the younger generations to pick up crafting. “India is so rich in its skill sets and culture and there are so many art forms that can take a lifetime to fully understand each of them,” she says. Suvarna says, “It would be very sad if the next generation is not interested in it if they can’t go back and help their fathers and mothers that’s very sad.”

Tamaala’s co-founder Vinay Prashant says promoting work from local artisans at lower prices by a handicraft emporium is important. “This is a sustainable revenue source and we believe in the storytelling format where customers can understand the story and history of the art. It’s not just about receiving an item but learning about the work that goes into it and the struggle in the creative process,” he says.

Earthen Lights is on till November 8, 11 am to 8 pm at Tamaala Art Gallery, 24th Main Road, J P Nagar.

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Handcrafted, upcycled products for Deepavali

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