Small eats and veggies of clay

Small eats and veggies of clay

Umagayathri makes miniature food models of popular dishes out of air-dry clay.

Umagayathri Saravandas, a 30-year-old entrepreneur, has always been fascinated by miniature models. But it was while living in the UK that she actually tried her hand at this and started making miniature models of food and vegetables.  Inspired by platforms like Pinterest and YouTube, she started off with polymer clay in the UK for her creations. Now she uses air-dry clay here.  

“I remember my first model was a pizza which took around one hour to complete. Now I can make a miniature piece in 15 minutes,” she says.

In her culinary models, she has tried replicating items from North Indian, South Indian and Continental cuisine.

“In South Indian food, I have made ‘Idli’, ‘Vada’, ‘Dosa’, ‘Kerala Parota’, ‘Pongal’, ‘Kesari Bath’, ‘Bisi Bele Bath’ and Lemon rice among other items. In North Indian, I have tried ‘Pav Bhaji’, ‘Vada Pav’, ‘Pani Puri’, ‘Bhel Puri’, ‘Dhokla’ and ‘Gujarati Thali’. Pizza, burgers, French fries and Vegetable spring rolls are some things I have replicated from Continental cuisine,” says Umagayathri.

Think of any vegetable and she would have tried her hand at it. “I have made a variety of vegetables including tomato, potato, brinjals, cauliflower, cucumber, bell peppers, ladies finger, coconut and even chillies. They are as small as a one rupee coin; the chillies were the hardest to make,” she says. 

She has more than 100 miniature models at home, which also include sweets and savouries.  

The process of making each model includes identifying the colours to be used. “If it’s an idli plate, I make two idlis and stick them to a plate. I use Fevicol to stick the parts together and let the model dry for one hour. Other things like Bhel Puri, pizza take a lot of time as small detailing goes into it. I don’t use moulds and use sculpting tools and hands to make them,” she says.   

Umagayathri points out that she wouldn’t have been able to continue the hobby with her family’s support. “My family and friends loved the pieces. My husband particularly supported me through my journey,” she says.

She has a Facebook page ‘Mythri’s Gleams’ which showcases a lot of models. “I also take workshops for people who are interested in learning the craft. This hobby has woken up the child in me and has been a great stressbuster and I hope others also take fancy to it,” she says.

What more does she want to do? “I want to make soups and sandwiches as well as different ‘thalis’ from all states in the country. I also want to make models of a miniature hotel, boutique, flower shop, tea shop and more, which will have all the small details to people in it,” she says.

(Umagayathri can be contacted at 83000 34451)

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