By Hand From The Heart is a curated makers market event in Chennai, South India. UPCOMING EVENT: 24th – 25th, AUGUST, CROWNE PLAZA, CHENNAI
My name is Ramani, I run a small handicraft unit in Nagpur over the last 25 years.
In our unit we make paper mâché handicrafts. We specialise in making paper mâché costumed dolls, which depict Indian culture and tradition. We are the only Manufacturers of such papier-mâché costume dolls. We produce around 200 papier-mâché costume dolls, per month.
Traditionally Paper Pulp in the rural India was used for filling gaps in the cane Baskets, Supa etc. We found papier-mâché is a better media to work with, as it is light, strong, durable and finally Eco friendly .
I did my graduation in Science, then M Phil. in Public Administration. I started this as a hobby . My mother is the main inspiration for me to get into this field. She inculcated interest in me. My mom taught me stitching, which later helped me. She use to make dolls with cloth and cotton and using clay. I always admired her creative skills. I developed this art by trial and error basis.
I am a registered craft person with –
Office of the Development Commissioner Handicrafts, ( Ministry of Textiles)
South Central Zone Cultural Centre, ( Ministry of culture)
Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation
NSIC – National Small Industries Corporations,
MSME – Micro Small Medium Enterprises.
I was the former chairperson of Vidarbha Industries Association’s, Lady Entrepreneur Wing.
Today my work is highly appreciated in India as well as abroad. My family, friends, relatives support me in this venture of mine.
We make dolls depicting Indian classical and folk dance forms, indian brides and bridegrooms, Indian tribes, men and women in traditional costumes from different states of India, village men and women at work, Indian Gods and Goddesses, thematic scenes from Indian mythology, Indian history,Indian villages and Indian weddings and festivals.
We make dolls in various sizes, starting from 5 inch,7 inch, 9 inch,11″ and even life size dolls and statues.
Other than dolls we make papier-mâché murals,statues,pots, vases,wall hangings, bells, bowls, pen stands, candle holders, key holders, torans, masks, partitions, corner table tops, animals, birds, rangolis, photo frames, etc.
Events & Exhibitions
I have been exhibiting this craft in different places in India. I have exhibited my work in US, Dubai, Italy, Canada, Norway and Denmark. I have participated in various National and International craft melas organised by the Government and private shows.
By Hand From The Heart was my FIRST exhibition (2014) in Chennai.
Skills & style of doll making…
I had no formal training in any art form, earlier it was just a hobby to sketch and paint, small greeting cards, I developed it slowly by observing paintings of great artists, specially Raja Ravi Varma’ s works ,the way he projected the realistic expressions ,emotions, always inspired me . I developed interest in our Indian culture. I got interested in human anatomy, dress designing , jewellery designing, hair dressing. I was interested in using paper mâché . Slowly we have evolved the process of making paper mâché in different forms. Earlier we used to make paper mâché using fenugreek seeds as an additive. Then started evolving different techniques and processes of paper mâché handicrafts for mass production. And converted hobby into social service, and finally into commercial venture.
We use news paper ,saw dust, gum ,marble powder,chalk powder, wooden base, GI wire,oil paints, cloth,jute and laces as basic raw materials . We fix the wire frame on the wooden base , paper mâché is applied on the wire to give the shape, it is then painted, dressed and then decorated.
Training & Team:
Presently, I have 15 women working with me. Most of them are unskilled. We offer them training in making dolls. Earlier I used to recruit only Physically Challenged girls for several years . Today, I am proud to see some of them running their own units and are independent. One such girl worked with me for 21 years, now she is on her own.
I also conduct workshops for school children and ladies.
I am interested in training women, developing their artistic skills, and encourage them to be enterprising. I am keen about developing entrepreneurship among women.
I still feel I have miles to go. There is a lot to to create.
Many a times I can’t sleep; I keep visualising new creations. I wish to take this unique Indian art to the whole world.