Deft fingers and undying spirit

Deft fingers and undying spirit

From tatting to nail art to cross stitched wall hangings — Mallika does it all.

There are some people who prove that age is just a number. 68-year-old Mallika Jayaram is one of them.

Embroidery, tatting, cross stitch, nail art — her list of interests is varied and extensive. “I grew up watching my mother do embroidery and knitting and picked up these skills from her right in childhood. I used to do embroidery for table cloth and later progressed to working on borders of saris. However, I started actively pursuing these skills only about 3-4 years ago.” 

Tatting was a more recent discovery, taught to her by her neighbour. It is a technique of handcrafting lace by knotting and looping thread.

Nail art is another of her unique interests, where she places iron nails on a cardboard base according to design and winds thread around it to complete the picture.

Her favourite creation till date is a tatting Ganesha, even the design of which was conceptualised by her. However, flora and fauna are constant muses. “When it comes to clothes, floral designs work best. Animal motifs challenge you and are fun to work on,” she says. 

Her most recent pieces of work have earned her fans across the globe. On a recent visit to USA to see her sons and daughters-in-law, Mallika turned to YouTube to kill time.

“My daughter-in-laws did all the work so I had nothing to do. After seeing a video, I started making earrings and bands using tatting. I made about 50 pieces and distributed it to all our relatives there. Everyone loved it and my daughters-in-law say that their friends have been asking for similar pieces too. So much is the demand they are now planning to sell my creations there,” she says with a smile, adding that the only challenge she faces is not being able to devote too much time to her hobbies. 

“I can’t strain too much; I have to go easy on my eyes. Otherwise, I feel very satisfied once I finish a piece, especially since I am fully supported and encouraged by my husband and family members.”

She points out how tatting is not as popular as crochet so there are not many takers for this. “Children these days don’t have time to learn anything, there are so busy with their studies. I am thinking  of making some earrings and distributing it to the people in my colony during Navaratri, just to get them interested.”

(Mallika can be contacted on