Saturday, October 25, 2014

Diwali special - Tutorial for attaching studs to quilled tight coils......

Hello All,

Wish you all a very happy (though belated) Diwali. Hope you all had a fun and safe Diwali......

Here's a little tutorial (in response to the queries) for attaching a stud base to a quilled tight coil (as seen in this creation).......

This is bare basics and the material is mentioned in the tutorial, Please use your own ingenuity to try variations, and even better, coming up with your own methods that surpass this.......

Hoping that the tutorial helped.............happy stud-attaching :)

Happy Quilling


PS: If my posts inspire you to create something on similar lines, I feel highly flattered. But please, do respect the effort I take in conceptualizing and executing, please give a direct link to my work when you are inspired by mine. Thanks for understanding........:-)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Inserting head/eye pins in a Quilled Pendant - Tutorial

Hello All,

I am back (only to disappear again, after a while) with a tutorial. I've taken the bold step of making a video against the tide of slow Internet! :D Let us see after how many hours of "Trying to upload" does it go online :)

Many people had this question about how to insert the head/eye pin into a quilled pendant. So, here is how I do it (and it truly is very simple). This is only a guideline video and you're free to devise your own methods, based on what is available with you :)

With this tutorial, I am nearly touching a MILLION views on my blog :)

After a mere 3 years and 1 month of being in existence, I am fortunate enough to see this landmark on my blog. Thank you! Every single one of you :)

Loads of love and keep crafting............

Happy Quilling


PS: If my posts inspire you to create something on similar lines, I feel highly flattered. But please, do respect the effort I take in conceptualizing and executing, please give a direct link to my work when you are inspired by mine. Thanks for understanding........:-)

Monday, September 8, 2014

A blog hop with a difference

Hello All,

After a long long break from writing, I am back with a very unique blog hop, where I got involved, thanks to my College classmate and an avid crafter, Kripa Koushik. The number of years I've known her can't be counted on the fingers on our hands! We did Graduation together and then, recently got back in touch through the world of crafts.

She works magic with her mixed media layouts, and unlike me, cards! She has a distinct style, which often begs careful examination, for there are so many tiny details that add up to the big picture :)

I agreed to be a part of this hop because of the different format! This hop actually helps us all get to know each other better, as people and as crafters.............idiosyncrasies included! :D

More about me:

1. What am I working on?

A lot of things, like always. Quilled jewellery is something that always adorns my table. In addition, there are a couple of frames in various stages of non-completion. I just finished this jewellery piece (which took quite a bit of time, split over 3 days, to make). This is my attempt at recreating the ancient jewellery making technique - Thewa

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't know if there is a lot of difference between the work I do and the others do, but I try to play by my strengths, namely, free-hand drawing and an understanding of the chemistry of the materials. The combinations of materials become a lot easier to devise once you know how they work in tandem. I try to exploit that information to get better at my work.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

The simple answer is: Because that's what I can see myself doing day after day, for years to come. My husband once asked me: Where do you see yourself five years from now, and the only vision that I could come up with was: In a giant craft workshop, doling out really good craft pieces. I craft, because I live for it :)

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

This is a complex question to answer. Most times, the most difficult/tricky part is to come up with an idea. Often, ideas strike seeing something completely unrelated. And sometimes, something similar sparks an incremental idea. Often, it is the craft material itself that makes me think about how I can use it in a different way. 

Once the idea is in place, the first thing I do is a strength test. In my mind, I run through the process of creating it (earlier, I used to draw them but with experience, I am able to visualize them now). On the way, I look for loopholes like a hawk. I've an almost manic obsession with sturdiness. If my work is not sturdy, I take it as a  personal insult. So, making designs sturdy or devising processes to introduce sturdiness is what comes next. Often, I modify the design/idea to keep strength a priority. Once the process is clear in my head, I start with the actual execution. There have been rare times when I have been stumped by hurdles (largely, because of lacunae in my information database) but mostly, I've been able to foresee mistakes. If some mistakes get the better of me, I restart the whole process, subtracting the mistake.

I'll give one example. There was this one time I was making a yellow jhumka and no matter what I did, the yellow colour kept "leaking". It'd separate into a pale yellow part and dusty brown part. It took me 4 trials to figure out that it was the problem with the yellow paint (which I figured out after trying three different and top-of-the-notch brands) and the 4-step process finally because 7-step process to eliminate this pigment separation. 

To pass this baton on, I choose two of my favourite crafters: Manuela Koosch and Cecelia Louie.

Although neither of them need any introduction to crafters and quillers alike, I'll go ahead and introduce them (pardon me if I sound like a star struck teenager, but both these women are my role models!)

Manuela (or Manu, as I call her) is a crafter with superlative capability to transform the mundane to magic and if you think I am exaggerating, drop by to and see for yourself :)

Cecelia redefines "Design isn't when you can't add anything more, it is when you can't take anything away". She gives simplicity an elevation the way I haven't seen anyone do. Minimum talks maximum is a quote written for her.

Happy Hopping and thank you for dropping by!

Happy Quilling


PS: If my posts inspire you to create something on similar lines, I feel highly flattered. But please, do respect the effort I take in conceptualizing and executing, please give a direct link to my work when you are inspired by mine. Thanks for understanding........:-)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vrrroooom vrrroooom...........

Hello All,

A very quick post (while I nurse myself back to health) about a very interesting and different frame I got around to doing :)

Profile: A car lover's B'day, and he has a long name :D

So, I got to work. When I got this order, I had a very different idea in my mind. But when I aligned that idea on the frame, it just wouldn't work out properly. So, I had to abandon that and start afresh. And this is where I landed up! :)

Happy Quilling


PS: If my posts inspire you to create something on similar lines, I feel highly flattered. But please, do respect the effort I take in conceptualizing and executing, please give a direct link to my work when you are inspired by mine. Thanks for understanding........:-)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A dainty butterfly - quillography style :)

Hello All,

After a long break (and tons of orders to make), I am back, thanks to Shyla Shree and her request for Guest Designer in Indian Quilling Challanges Group :)

I'd never quilled a butterfly before and when this request came my way, I knew one thing for sure. I had to do it through quillography because I am pretty bad with loose coil work :)

So, I set out to quill and because of some mess-up I did, I had to improise upon the design as I went along :D

At the end of this, this is how the butterfly looked (before and after cutting it off the background :)

Happy Quilling


PS: If my posts inspire you to create something on similar lines, I feel highly flattered. But please, do respect the effort I take in conceptualizing and executing, please give a direct link to my work when you are inspired by mine. Thanks for understanding........:-)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sleepless for Seattle - A world Record of Many Things for us :D

Hello All,


This post is for a project that took us 368 man hours to finish, so I wish to spend at least 2 hours writing it! :D

Basic facts about the painting:

Size: 5.5 feet by 3 feet
Time taken to finish: 368 hours
Total number of quilling strips used: ~ 27000
Total beehived surface area: 4850 square centimetres
Artists: Nitesh, Richa & Pritesh
Other material: Gesso ~ 750 ml, paints (all volumes combined) ~ 500 ml

In a true thesis style, let me split this into "Chapters"......

Chapter 1: The Beginning

When I finished the Rapunzel Project and sent the preview images to my friends, I received a call from Suchitra saying her family wouldn't believe it was quilled. They were really impressed and would like me to make something for them when they returned to US. I was glad to hear such kind words and didn't give it much thought until she followed up on it, asking me for suggestions for the project she wished me to make. I suggested many things but nothing really struck us as unique enough. A Bangalore move happened and the thread was lost again, only to be resumed and "Seattle Skyline" emerging as the preferred image.

One look at it and I went, "I can't make THIS, it is too complex and not translateable to quilling". But as far as Suchitra is concerned, I have no right to say no. And then started a long process of decoding the image and planning for it. To do justice to the painting, it needed to be made on a large scale and what scale! I zeroed in on 5.5 feet by 3 feet and ordered the plywood base......

Caapter 2: Hurdles

Once the plywood base arrived, there arose the challenge of printing the reference image in such a large size. Being unfamiliar with Bangalore and its printing circuits made the task of locating a printer tough. Throw in a toddler and it was compounded as I couldn't leave the house for any reasonable length of time. With luck, I managed to spot a printer who was close by and off I went with my son in tow. Unfortunately, all he had was black and white printing in those sizes and in the middle of trying to keep my son from destroying his expensive equipment, the print came. The full intensity of the work ahead hit me full force yet again, and I did have cold feet. But well, a commitment is a commitment :)

I had never worked with wood as a direct base for a quilled painting. Rapunzel was on wood as well but there was a paper to buffer the wood-quilling gap. After struggling with various permutations and combinations for how to get the outlines on to the board, I gave up and just drew the "skyline outline". This is pretty much the biggest canvas I ever handled and the inexperience was a real problem. Naively enough, I painted the sky directly on wood, which led to a dull blue colour (much like someone had splashed mud on the sky). You can see the dullness very visibly here......

And just then, came a blessing in the form of Hussena's post. She mentioned the use of gesso (a primer) and voila! That is when light bulbs went off! I immediately went online and read about the chemical composition of gesso (a compulsive need to know the chemistry is hard to get rid of! :D) and how exactly it functions. I read reviews after reviews of which gesso primer is better and zeroed in on my favourite Art Material brand - Daler & Rowney. The cost was much steeper than the local brands but well, Daler & Rowney has never disappointed me. It turned out that ordering was the easiest bit! The product is imported from UK, so it took almost 3 weeks for it to come :( Time was slipping out of my fingers at an alarming rate! I did the gesso layers (it took 4 coats to cover the blue and wooden colours completely) and boy! The painting drank up almost 1 litre of gesso!

Then, came the painful task of painting the sky! I had not painted with acrylics in years and never on that scale! So, I had to once again go online and see what skies looked like, how I could merge colours and saw one video on Youtube as well (I have no patience for video tutorials but desperate situations call for desperate measures). After a few iterations, I kind of got the blues right. For the sky, I have used Mont Marte Cerulean Blue, Daler Rowney Ultramarine Blue, Daler Rowney Titanium White, Sullivans Titanium White Satin Finish (shade 104), Mont Marte Brilliant Red and Daler Rowney Lemon Yellow. Since I ran out of white paint somewhere in between, a bit of patching up had to be done with Fevicryl White paint. Search as I may, I couldn't find PLAIN WHITE paint anywhere in the neighbourhood for almost 5 days!!!! So, there went 5 days more!

Chapter 3: The Making

The painting did scare me for a while and I was stuck at this stage for quite some time! :( A flurry of orders wasn't helping either! It was around this time that I decided that if the painting had to be finished, I would have to ask for help! When I left from Pune, the thing that hurt me to MOST was to let Richa go! And there is no one else I had ever met who had the commitment, capability and drive to undertake something of this magnitude! I asked her if she could come and help me with the painting, and she did! She stopped her own work and came to Bangalore to help. We didn't make much progress during that stay of hers though, solely because my fear was still holding me back from working with the painting........

And then, walked in my sister! She scolded me for not having progressed and imposed on me that I should send her a daily update! God bless small sisters! In true sister style, she sat with me and got me working on the painting all the time she was here.........

Within 4 days, we had made progress that I didn't manage in 4 weeks! We had finally gotten STARTED properly! And this was May 4th! Exactly 3 weeks from the May 25 deadline.........I had told Richa I will let her know if I need her help by 10th May. By 10th May, I not only needed her help, I needed her to rescue me from an impending crisis!!!!! But Richa being Richa, came once again (without a return ticket date specified) and we got cracking.............

As of May 15th, this is how the painting looked, less than 10% complete..........

Chapter 4: Race against time............

It was then that Richa and I took on a full-fledged war against time...........we were racing, and racing to lose, by the looks of it. The painting had to be built in layers, to get the three-dimensionality of the real city on the canvas.

I hope I have taken layer by layer photos. This is Layer 0, the buildings that are made with just sticking strips of paper directly on the board, the ones farthest away from the viewing point.

In order to build layers, the most daunting task was to make thousands and thousands of tight coils, which were to act as 'spacers' and elevate the buildings. Richa rose to the occasion and worked at a break-neck pace!

Around 15th May, we were working 10-11 hours a day each. By 20th May, it was 12-14 hours and by 23rd May, the work would never stop. We were taking turns sleeping (in bursts of 3 hours at the most). Everything in my house came to a stand-still. Cooking was reduced to "One pot cooking" with every bit of nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and vitamins) thrown into a single vessel and cooked. For the first time since we got married, Ananth and I ordered food 3 times in a month! And I can never apologize enough to Richa for feeding her this riff-raff!

It was at this junction that I saw the Richa and I shared this common dream - the dream to see the painting finished and nothing would stop us, even tiredness. Towards the end, we even had C grade movies to keep us company, so that we wouldn't sleep! Ever watched Desi Spiderman? If you haven't, it's heavily recommended, for its sheer brainlessness.........

We were in a state of constant delirium by May 23rd and would talk utter non-sense but the work continued. The progress was phenomenal but our fingertips were dead (from all the beehiving) and our brains, fogged. The tight coils took a large chunk of our time as we got higher up in layers because of the increase in height. It was then that the idea struck. We should use taller tight coils instead of layers of 3 mm!

Some interesting photos from the "pre-revelation" and "post-revelation" stages :D

We were using 2 cm tall coils by this time, instead of 7 layers of 3 mm coils needed!!

Some more interesting work-in-progress images......

The only way to stay awake was to listen to Music

At one time, we were BOTH working on different parts of the painting

Laughter that springs out of sleepiness :D

Reviewing the tight coils.......

Richa, in her half-awake avatar

Antics to get the Space Needle in place

Juggling many things while trying to get the needle to stay
While the painting was being made, we had News 9 reporter and cameramen coming in for running a feature on it. This was our first experience of a news piece recording but we admit, Raghu and Pavithra did an amazing job of the feature that was telecast on News 9 on May 27.

To mark the occasion, my husband got us a (a gooey dark chocolate) cake reading "Congrats Girls" :) 

Almost simultaneously, the painting was covered by Deccan Chronicle and Darshana gave us a front page coverage (so utterly unexpected and heartily appreciated)

Finally, on May 28th at 5:30 am, the painting got over! Richa had to travel back to Pune on 27th May and boy! How I missed her for the final photoshoot! But Richa, you were very much there, this painting is as much yours as it is mine :) You were the true Hero of this painting, because for me, this was an obligation. For you, it was a sheer choice you could've walked away from!

It was just a coincidence that Sarah Yakawonis asked me jokingly, "Do you plan to set a world record?". That set the cogs in my brain working and well, I decided to register this painting as the largest beehive quilling painting :) I hope we make it, don't you too Richa? :)

Some "finished painting" photos now :)

Photography courtesy: Ananth

Photography: Abner Oswin Francis (Grooveab Photography)

And now starts my (rather long) list of thanks! :)

The first person I have to thank is Suchitra, for being a great friend, for being a great client and for putting her faith in me! :) It couldn't have happened without your faith lady :)

Next in line is Richa! Richa, there are NO words that can ever thank you enough. Thanks would be too small a word. All I can say is, you saved my life :)

I have to thank my husband and my son, for being the kind of support one can only dream of. Ananth took the kitchen over completely for almost 10 days (Richa will vouch for that!) and my son even understood I was busy. He kept my morale up with an occasional "Mumma, you're so beautiful". Baby, you mean the world to me, truly! :)

A huge and special thanks to Baba, my baby sister (not so baby anymore, I think), for persisting, for scolding me, for getting me started and for always expressing the most honest opinion one can get for one's work.

A big thanks to Pavithra Gowda and Raghu of News 9, for taking the time out and making a fantastic video of the painting. The only way to highlight the 3-dimensionality of the painting was to scan through it and Raghu, you did a SPLENDID job of that :)

A huge thanks is due to Darshana Ramdev of Deccan Chronicle, for having faith in us enough to get us a front page coverage :) We can never thank you enough for that Darshana :)

A big big thank you to Manuela (just Manu for me), for constantly giving feedback during the making of the painting.

A very big thanks to Abner, for taking time out of his manic schedule to come over, doing the photoshoot and sending the images promptly! Our painting looks completely different through your lens Buddy :)

Thanking all my friends and relatives, who supported in various ways, starting from appreciating to baby-sitting........all of it made a difference :)

And last, but not the least, to my maid, who somehow managed to clean the room in the middle of all the chaos :D :D

Happy Quilling


PS: If my posts inspire you to create something on similar lines, I feel highly flattered. But please, do respect the effort I take in conceptualizing and executing, please give a direct link to my work when you are inspired by mine. Thanks for understanding........:-)