Paper made from cotton waste, not dead wood

Paper made from cotton waste, not dead wood

Kavya Madappa's installation on a 300-ft staircase has a message conserve trees for birds

Kavya Madappa has discovered new ways of making paper.

It took two years for Kavya Madappa to research how to make paper without chopping trees.

And when she did, she was unstoppable. She had discovered a whole new world.

Kavya makes paper from cotton waste. “We collect cotton bits from garment factories. We then sort it all out, cook it and beat it. We make paper sheets and allow them to dry in natural sunlight,” says Kavya.

Her installation at UB City, ‘Stop and Stair,’ depicts an abstract image of paper birds glued to a staircase, and soaring upwards.

This, says Kavya, is an attempt to educate people about conserving trees for birds, and finding alternatives to manufacture paper.
“We were given the staircase as our space. We realised the span was huge, so we had to do something that made the installation look like one whole design. That was a challenge,” she says.

When she started working on the installation, it looked like as if the birds were going out into the light. “You will see that the top cluster is crowded but the bottom is sparse. This shows how the birds escape into the light. When the birds are flying together you notice they narrow down as soon as they arrive at their destination. We have depicted exactly that,” says Kavya. The installation is 300 ft high, and the total area covered is 3,500 sq ft.

“We have used at least 1,000 sheets of paper and 1,300 birds, all handmade. There were 35 labourers who worked on the project,” she explains.

Once the design festival ends, she plans to recycle the paper and make something new.

The festival focuses on demystifying design and making it more accessible to the public through installations, exhibitions, workshops, conferences, events, screenings, pop-ups, talks and more. The 10-day design programme is on till December 2. It is being held at UB City, St Marks Circle, Yelahanka, Electronic City, VR Bengaluru, Kafnu on Residency Road, Shristi School of Art, Whitefield and WeWork. It is open to public. Entry is free.