The first art form Shethia learnt in 2004 was Warli, a specialised Indian tribal art, which depicts scenes of human figures engaged in everyday activities like hunting and harvesting.
She also learnt Indian Madhubani painting, an art characterised by tribal motifs and mineral pigments.
But it wasn’t till 2006 that a new art form intrigued her. It was daedal composition of quilling art used on a greeting card. “The intricacy of the designs was exquisite,” she says. So impressed was she that she asked the person who created the art to teach her. “But she wasn’t interested [in teaching]. I then spotted a brochure that listed quilling teachers,” she says.
Quilling, also known as paper filigree, is the art of rolling narrow strips of paper and then shaping them. Projects can range from simple gift tags and cards to elaborate pictures and 3-D models.
Quilling isn’t difficult to learn, but requires an eye for detail, time, patience and practice. “Quilling started with metal filigree, but scarcity of material popularised paper filigree,” says Shethia. After learning the art of quilling, which took Shethia a year, she decided to amalgamate her varied artistic knowledge to create unique artworks.
“I began to integrate painting with quilling. It doesn’t matter if it is a simple project like a card, gift box, photo frame or pencil decoration, or a large-scale project like an aquarium [pictured here]. Each creation conveys my personalised artistic message,” she says.
During one of her recent exhibitions at ARTE Soukh, a mother of two boys asked Shethia to create an aquarium for her boys. Impulsively she suggested an alien ship. “I used mixed media and quilling to create an alien world. I made use of different supplies like glitter, sequins, beads and colourful stones. I have even made earrings using the quilling technique!” she says.
Shethia, who first participated at ARTE Soukh last December, exhibits and conducts workshops for children and adults. “There is a sense of belonging, a sense of solidarity among this family of artists. The best part of the Soukh is the exclusive art pieces on offer. You will not be able to find them in regular shops or malls!” she says.
Quilling designs are made of rolled coils. Shethia says the technique needs only a few basic shapes like teardrop, rectangle, square, crescent, arrow, half circle, holly leaf, and triangle. “Once these are perfected, you can combine individual shapes to form anything.”
Interestingly, quilling can also be made to resemble other art forms like painting. “For instance, instead of a painting for a goldfinch bird, you can create the same figure by using quilling. It will give a stunning 3-D, full-bodied effect,” she says.
She enjoys the technique of combing in quilling. “It creates uniform cascading loops to make fluttering creatures or beautiful petals,” she says.
As an extension to this art form, she also learnt punch craft, and now uses both art forms. “For example, when I am making a Christmas card, I punch the Christmas tree and embellish it with beads, colourful stones and glitter. The gift boxes placed under the tree are quilled. This gives the card 3-D effect. Handmade cards express that rare sentiment not found in commercially printed ones,” she says.
– For further details contact Shethia, on firstname.lastname@example.org