Meet The Maker: Ramani, Papier-Mache Doll Maker

5th -6th August  – 2022
Paper Mache Dolls by Ramani

 Display & Sale –

By Hand from the Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 32nd Edition

Venue: Mantra Garden,1st Main Road, Nandanam Extension, Nandanam, Chennai – 600035. Tamil Nadu. India

Time: 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m

LINKS: Facebook | Instagram

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a happy woman who is close to completing her half century on this beautiful planet. I am a very passionate person when it comes to my work and l love my family more than anything else in the world. I feel it is my responsibility to make this world a better place in whichever small way possible and hence I strive towards it every day of my life.


How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?

I am an artist who loves creating and experimenting with Papier-mache. But along with that, I also am an entrepreneur who runs a workshop where I train and employ about 15 unskilled handicapped/needy women. I have been painting and making papier mache dolls, murals and other craft items since last 29 years. I started this out as a hobby but after some really successful exhibitions in the Scandinavian countries and India too, I decided to dive into this more seriously. Initially, I used to teach a couple of handicapped girls papier- mache craft with a helping intent in heart and with a motive to help them become independent. Slowly, I refined my art and my work evolved into a business model and now I manage to provide employment and boost confidence of 15 odd needy women.

Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.

IMG_8464I specialise in making costumed papier-mache dolls, like none other in the world. I have always felt the need to promote Indian culture and traditions through my art. Though I also make foreign dolls, my main focus has been on portraying Indian mythology, values and tradition through thematic dolls sets. We make dolls showing Indian classical dances, Indian folk dances, tribal folk, women at work, brides and grooms of India, couples from different states of India, Dasavataram set, Radha-Krishna set, the nativity scene, the Buddha enlightenment scene, epic scenes from Mahabharatha and Ramayana, scenes from a typical Indian village and weddings etc. I intend to bring and showcase some of these at By Hand, From Heart.

Can you describe your work place / space? 

IMG_8863Our workplace is a small, comfortable place that we have built over the years. We have shifted base thrice in the same city but it is always stacked with loads of all the artsy things that we need to make the dolls-cloth pieces, laces, paints, newspaper, hard gum, wires and other raw materials. We have upgraded by bringing in some small machines like the attachakki, drilling machine to help us do the more strenuous work with a bit of ease.

But, it is the friendly banter of the women working here, the sound of tearing of the paper, the gum and paint smell and the whole positive vibe that this space has, that is worth experiencing.

What is a typical day at ARTEKRAFT like.

IMG_8822At Artefakt, a typical day starts at 10 in the morning and we wrap up by 6, but I alone sit late nights sometimes (read it as most times), my work and I are like opposite sides of a magnet, the attraction and pull is just too much! Or as my husband likes to say, I can get so engrossed that I would hardly notice the transition from the natural light to artificial light and vice versa. Jokes apart, we all at Artefakt have to look after and care for our families and give our cent percent to our work, it can get quite demanding and challenging with the orders pouring in but what fun is life without the hardships and the learning that follows. Our workshop staff is divided into groups which take care of different parts of the making of the dolls- making papier-mache, making the basic dolls structure, giving them the smooth finish, painting them, clothing them, decorating them and then packing them, all of this keeps happening simultaneously. And it’s actually quite nice to see at the end of the day how productive the day has been. Not to forget the overwhelming love and the petty disagreements and fights that the women have here each day which make the place more lively! 😀

What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?

1780618_802652183095535_650627401_nMy mother has been my biggest inspiration. It was her belief in me that helped me tread steadily on this path. I am a science graduate who did an MPhil in Public Administration; would have taken up a regular job too had it not been for my mother. She was the one who saw my potential in arts and encouraged me to follow my passion. She was the one who taught me to work for the greater good and today another big source of inspiration are the women who work with me at Artefakt, looking at them and what the art has given them is a great driving force too. Also, without my family’s (father, husband, daughter, extended family and friends) support I sure wouldn’t have been able to go this far.

Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?

FullSizeRender (14)When an idea in your head turns into a physical being, turns into what you wanted it to be like, all the hard-work that goes into doing so pays off. The creative satisfaction is what keeps the artist going. I am the one who does the ideating, the teaching, training and the finishing but I am proud of how far the others working with me have come. So, another rewarding part of my creative process is seeing the many unskilled women in my workshop doing their work really well, it revives my confidence in my decision of doing what I do and how I do.

What’s the best thing about being a designer?

You can turn your ideas into beautiful reality, having the ability to shape your ideas into art pieces that you can hold and keep, I think is the best thing about being a designer. Having the freedom of expression and the space to experiment are added bonuses!

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?

Being an artist you tend to get very attached to your work, but you have to remember that all good things in this world are to be shared, so is your art. You get emotionally involved in your art but sharing those emotions and spreading the joy is what makes your art noble. Selling your work only makes you capable of pursuing your passion further as it then feeds your stomach and family. And the happiness of an artist shows in his/her work. So, it is of utmost importance to be financially stable to keep your creativity going, do not ever hesitate to sell your work thus.


17 thoughts on “Meet The Maker: Ramani, Papier-Mache Doll Maker

  1. Hi Ramani, I have spend several days, nights searching for the maker of these dolls after seeing the images online. Please let us know how to contact you.

  2. Could you please share a video in YouTube how to do these kind of dolls with vgud finishing…. Its really superb madam nd its a god gift…. 🙏 pls make a online teachings website so that whole world can learn these.

  3. Hello,
    These dolls are just amazing and I can see how passionate you are with you work!
    Great Talent!!
    I am interested in ordering the dolls for my daughter’s party and would appreciate if I could hear from you the details!
    I would like to know the price per doll and how much time ahead do I have to place an order and the shipping method.
    The event is going to be in the first week of August 2016.
    Thank you so much!!

  4. Hi Ramani, I am a dolls collector and have 30 dolls from different countries in my collection. I saw your collection through whatsapp images and searched for you. How do I get in touch with you? Would like to buy some of your beautiful creations. Please share me a contact number and address

  5. Hi Ramani, the art is really mind blowing I would like to order few how to contact you and how to place the order.

  6. hi Ramani, we want to make radha and krishna in sitting posture. Want to know if you are still making them and if so what would be the cost

  7. Congragulations! It is really a ‘By hand from heart work.’ Also producing these dolls with groups of other women is a social support event that is another point to congragulate you again and again Dear Ramani..

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