By Hand From The Heart is a curated makers market event in Chennai, South India. UPCOMING EVENT: 24th – 25th, AUGUST, CROWNE PLAZA, CHENNAI
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Mridula, I’m 25 and I completed my Master’s Degree last year. I enjoy working with my hands and it is not restricted to the medium of glass alone. I also love the outdoors, I play Ultimate Frisbee and I’ve represented Chennai before. I go on treks, often. I don’t own a Driver’s License; I cycle or use public transport to commute. I have many interests, and Full Fuse has helped me be in touch with all of them. For instance, I enjoy taking pictures. I do my own product photography. I designed my own website, too. By running Full Fuse, I have had a chance to try my hand at new things as well. I am constantly engaging with something or the other.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
I have been Ms. Anjali Venkat’s apprentice for 8 years (since class 11). She is also a glass artist and had moved to Singapore now. She continues to work under the label of Anjali Design out of her Singapore studio. I began my career last year. Initially, I thought I would help handle the Indian segment of Anjali Design, for Ms. Anjali Venkat. I spent the year trying to understand the various aspects of running a business- right from learning how to write a business plan, to sourcing materials, and familiarizing myself with the techniques. Upon spending a year of doing some research on my own, I decided to come up with my own line of products, Full Fuse. I am very grateful to have the guidance and support of a mentor. In fact, I am currently working out of the studio in Besant Nagar, which belongs to Ms. Anjali Venkat (equipment included). I don’t pay her any rent. I work with different techniques of glass to produce an array of home décor products and jewelry. The techniques include Mosaic, Warm Glass/Kiln Forming, Stained Glass.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
As I have worked with Ms. Anjali Venkat for a while now, my style was very similar to hers. I am only familiar with making the products that she has been creating. It took me a while to come up with my own style and range of products.
My name boards have become quite popular and I’ve been able to create a distinct style of my own, while creating them. The owl tea light holder (my logo) is also quite popular. For the artisan market, I have tried to create a range that would showcase the different techniques of glass art. Kiln forming is a fairly new concept in India, so the focus would largely be on that. Also, the most interesting aspect of glass is the way in which it plays with light. I will be largely showcasing diyas of various kinds. I have tried to make an effort to create items meant for the indoors, the outdoors, table pieces, wall pieces, and so on.
Can you describe your work place /space?
The studio is a house which has been converted into a workshop. The hall area is for display, and for informal discussions/client meetings. One bedroom is the room for furnace, the other one comprises of the work table and the kitchen and bathrooms have turned into storage spaces.
What is a typical day at Full Fuse, like.
I found it necessary to earn a steady income to help meet my overhead costs, at least. Hence, I work part-time for another start-up called Kabadiwalla Connect, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The rest of the 4 days, I concentrate on Full Fuse. As I am still in the process of fully establishing my venture, I do not have a typical day at work. I structure my day only after I wake up in the morning. The venture has really taught me to live by the moment and to be tolerant to a lot of uncertainty.
What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?
I have many friends who live on their own or share an apartment. I’ve noticed they all have an interest in decorating their homes. I often imagine decorating my friend’s house. That helps me come up with functional art pieces that are both funky and personalized. The internet also helps- Pinterest, Etsy, Facebook and several YouTube glass art tutorials. I find inspiration from streets, bazaars, places of worship, too.
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
The reason why I chose to take up glass art, is because there is a lot of Science in this form-Physics, Chemistry, Maths, etc. I found that the concepts in Science would stay in my mind better, because of it’s practical application. By understanding the way in which the material behaves scientifically, I have an understating of which ideas can be translated into products and which require reworking. This has brought in an interesting discipline of thinking and this process is perpetual.
What’s the best thing about being a crafter/ designer?
I get to do everything on my own. I am never bored.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
The durability and finish of the product is key.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
I recently signed up with two retail stores in Chennai; they will be stocking my products soon. You can look up by Facebook page for details.
Mridula Harihar, will be featured at, the By Hand, From The Heart Artisan & Farmers Market
7- 8 August 2015 | 10 a.m – 8 p.m | Hanu Reddy Residences,
41/19, Poes Garden, Teynampet, Chennai.
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/791353340961431/