Express news service
CHENNAI: The fondest childhood memory of 31-year-old Deepika Velmurugan is watching her mother and ammachi (grandmother) chalk the entrance to their house with rice flour kolams. Whether wavy but symmetrical sikku kolam, intricate pulli kolam, padi kolam, maa kolam or idai pulli kolam, the duo would create tangible poetry with a combination of arisi maavu, a matrix of dots and lines. geometric shapes, and love, she recalls.
“These kolams were not only an integral part of auspicious ceremonies, but also of daily life. Drawing the kolams at the entrance symbolized the invitation to abundance and prosperity. My mother passed on the art of kolam drawing to me and I took it back. But at no time did I think it would become such a big part of my life, ”shares Deepika, who in 2019 started a business, Home2Cherish, through which she specializes in painting kolams on sets. domestic and their sale.
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Growing up, Deepika has always been surrounded by antiques and brassware. “Even today, every corner and every shelf in my house is filled with brassware. I am a lover of all that is antique, unique and traditional. In 2019, while cleaning my house, I found an old crib divider (used to separate the ends of a fabric cradle). Being an art enthusiast, I decided to paint the divider. But I wanted to give him a different vision. So, I drew a kolam on it! Maybe that’s when I realized it could be a business idea, ”shares the Srirangam resident from Coimbatore.
Two years later, Deepika has her hands full. Orders for these uniquely painted home decor items are pouring in from different parts of the world. Its product catalog has grown from simple wall shelves to kolam padis (steps) of various sizes (used to hold figurines of gods and lamps), palagais (stools), wooden plaques with patterns, wall hangings , name panels, pallanguzhi sets and door panels. “Over the past two years, I have accepted and delivered over 600 orders to my customers around the world. I have also shipped my products to people in the US, UK, Norway, France, Germany, Australia, and Dubai. In India, I have received orders from every state.
But a large part of the orders came from cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru, ”she notes. Replacing traditional rice flour with paint may have had its challenges, at least one would think. But Deepika tells us the transition went smoothly. “It could be due to the years of practice I had in drawing kolams. Over the years, I have learned over 1,000 different types of kolams. And here, I only changed the mediums… the hand movements, the measures and the techniques remain the same. The same goes for the requirement to be precise, neat and focused.
I have not encountered any challenges in this process. Guess I like to create kolams wherever they are – the doorstep or the living room! it gushes out. However, she doesn’t let her overly familiarity with kolams affect the process. She makes sure to follow a well-established plan to achieve the best results. “I always measure the pullis spacing, I also draw the kolam with a pencil first, then paint on it. One mistake can make the whole piece of art shabby and I take extra care to avoid it. Kolams are important to me, ”she says.
The decor is in the details
The decoration of the house that Deepika has chosen for her canvas is entirely in wood. “The combination of kolams on wood gives it a very opulent feel. From mango to neem through teak, I work with different types of wood. Some people prefer teak wood especially if it is a decor for their pujai bedroom so I customize it accordingly. I work in synchrony with a carpenter on order, ”she shares.
Details and vibrancy play an important role in Deepika’s artistic process. For example, some of her decorative items feature shiny brass bells and traditional Marapachi dolls; its color palette is often vivid and striking. “I like to work with colors that are not dull. It inspires me joy and as decorative objects will find new homes, I wanted to sow happiness by coating them with these pretty colors. The brass bells and Marapachi dolls have also become a nice addition to what I offer. The idea is to integrate these traditional patterns into modern homes… they can either be a reminder of our heritage and our culture, or even a topic of conversation, ”she shares.
While it’s hard to pick a favorite from Deepika’s collection, ours is her version of the door panels, which in many ways act like a storyboard. “They are mostly three feet (in length) and two feet (in width) and encompass characters and stories from mythology. I have so far personalized three of these panels with different color combinations and themes. The first order I received came from a Tiruchy client for a panel with his favorite characters from the Tamil novel, Ponniyin Selvan. I also traced the story of the birth of Lord Ganesha and the story of a royal woman from Mysuru. I receive more and more requests, especially to paint the protagonists of Tamil epics.
But it is a process that takes time. It takes 10 to 15 days to make these door panels, ”she shares. His Instagram page currently has over 11,600 followers. “I try to respond to at least 10 direct messages about orders and other inquiries every day. But when time is short, I prioritize pending orders. Usually, it takes about 35-40 days to complete an order. All of my clients have understood very well the time it takes to work on a product. It’s heartwarming to see people appreciate not only the end product, but the labor involved in making it, ”she says.
With several pending orders, Deepika also plans to introduce aruvamanais (coconut vegetable slicer / grater), traditional spoon holders and anjarai pettis (traditional masala box) to the collection. “My house is located in the middle of a farm. Our family continues to farm, raise and raise livestock and poultry, and harvest our vegetables.
Kolams, brass clothes, and traditional housewares are what I grew up with. It’s wonderful to see the world notice and take an interest in these things even now, at a time when modernity has taken over. I hope to keep these aspects of the tradition alive through my art, ”she says.
The products are priced from Rs 800. For more details visit the Instagram page @ Home2Cherish