By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
Mridula Harihar is a Chennai based glass artist who works with Stained glass, Fused glass and Mosaic techniques. She focuses on creating functional art pieces. Mridula has spent 8 years practicing glass art, under the mentorship of the renowned glass artist Anjali Venkat.
Describe yourself in a few lines.
I have curly hair and that’s the first thing people notice about me. I go by several names- cotton candy, noodles, spring mudi (translates into ‘spring like hair’ in Tamil), to name a few.
Why is making important to you?
I like to build. I like playing with the roti dough, or fixing my cycle; I even like theatre and sports. It is that which constitutes me and I would not want to change that.
In 1983, Howard Gardner had proposed the ‘Theory of Multiple intelligences’ that talks of how intelligence cannot be measured by a single general ability. While some are quick to grasp things using logic, others learn through music, or through visuals and so on. Working with one’s hands (kinesthetic intelligence) is an example. I would say that it is important to recognize these abilities and to harness them.
What was the first thing you remember making?
I love colours. As a child, I would empty out a box of Robin Blue powder and throw it around. That was my first memory of creating art.
What’s your most challenging work so far?
I once made a stained glass lamp for my house and I learnt a great deal from that process about the relationship glass has with light. I also had to be very attentive about getting the structure right.
A mirror made with wood, paper and glass was another challenging piece. It was an order given to me and the client was very particular about how it should look. Through that, I learnt the importance of listening to the client and paying complete attention to fulfilling all the requirements.
How do you get around creative blocks?
I usually take a break. I either work on another idea, or cycle around for a bit. Sometimes it’s necessary to embrace that phase and to not work on it at all, for a while and to then revisit it at a later point. It is a process of letting go and often does not come very easily for me.
What can we expect to see from Full Fuse, this time?
I’m working on a series of framed pieces, some of which are mixed media and some are going to be made using the Warm Glass technique. Many glass artists have been creating pieces with inclusions. Some have used bubbles as a design element, metals such as brass and copper, and even fallen leaves. I will also be experimenting with inclusions to create my pieces. This is a series inspired by the five elements.
You have participated in an earlier edition of By Hand From The Heart; what was the BHFTH experience like and what have you observed?
I have gained many insights from taking part in the By Hand From The Heart Shows. It allows for my work to be showcased to everyone and I get some feedback on it. Also, it is very gratifying to have someone walk up to your table and be awe struck by your work!
Artists usually buy off one another and that is another fun and exciting thing to see. There is this unspoken understanding that exists between all the artists- they all know the effort that goes behind making the products as well as the joy in doing sales. I find magic in those moments.
About Chennai What advice would you give to other artists & makers to explore Chennai?
I have observed that people in Chennai love jewelry. I have also seen that the people like to buy simple/small things in larger numbers so as to give away as gifts.