Crafting Abroad: Rukmini
Hello! It’s Midsommarflicka again here. Last month you read a little interview with me about living and crafting in Germany, my home country. Today I’d like to continue this series about crafters abroad and would like to introduce you to Rukmini.
I hope you enjoy her answers about her life in India just as much as I did. And maybe you can also relate to some things just as I, if you’re somewhere abroad? Also, be sure to check out her blog Trumatter and give her some love!
In your own words, who are you and what do you do? By daylight & profession I am a digital content strategist. By midnight, and when no one’s looking, I am a religious DIY-er, blogger, décor enthusiast, beach house lover & a thorough foodie shuttling between pinstripe, polka dots and pink pajamas.
I live in an extraordinarily ordinary city apartment which I intend to turn into a beach house look alike, one DIY at a time.
Where are you from? I am originally from Darjeeling, a small town in the high Himalayas, but currently I reside in Mumbai.
What is the nearest “big” city or district to you? I stay in Mumbai so this is how big as it gets :) Although I am wee far from the main city which in local term is “South Bombay”. To be precise, I stay in Navi-Mumbai or New Bombay: A planned city outside main Mumbai.
What crafts do you like to do? I think I have a knack for playing with paints, nails and glue. In other life, I was a carpenter. Nothing makes me more happy than to turn roadside rescued furniture into something more purposeful. I use my signature ‘Old-White’ in furnitures I re-do: It’s 10 parts white: 1 Part yellow.
What craft supplies do you have a difficult time finding in your area? Oh, there is a plethora of things that I don’t find here. For example, sharpie, transfer papers, anything that has to do with transferring images to plates or fabric and a glass cutter! Phew.
But I think the problem is not that its not available. It is. I just don’t know what its called in local language. For example, a jar is called a “barni” here. Figured it out the hard way…but figured it out nonetheless.
Are the costs reasonable or is crafting very expensive in your area? No. Things are cheap but you have to know where to find them!
Do you use the internet or mail order products from other areas for hard to find items? All the time! eBay is my best friend and on close heels would be Amazon.
They say that with recent popularity, crafting is a revolution of sorts. Is crafting huge where you’re from? Or is it the movement gaining momentum? I think the above statement is very well put. To describe the crafting scenario here, I’ll take two words into consideration from above: 1) recent popularity 2) Gaining Momentum. That is precisely how crafting is in India at present. It is getting to that point where crafting is huge but not yet. It is like a slow bonfire gaining heat but its not yet ready to cook your rice. I think a set of certain quintessential Indian outlook is still holding it behind and also a certain lack of taste for good aesthetic.
I come from a family where crafting is huge. Grandmother used to sew drapes from old Benarasi Sarees and make her own POP planters back in the day. She was thrifty, she had amazing taste for décor and can I tell you that her home looked like a million bucks with little or no investment? She was a rockstar. I wish she could read this, it would have made her very proud to see how crafting is going and how we are talking about crafting around the world.
The environment is not so pro-crafting here in Mumbai, or atleast it was not when I began my own little DIY ventures, 7 years ago. I was possibly the only one I know who was collecting old crates off mango-sellers and painting them white. From bemused stares to, “you shouldn’t be collecting things from the street. What if it came from a sad family with a sad history”: I have had it all. I have also had “bhangarwali” which means trash-picker and “oh, is this from the road too”. But I never stopped doing what I love. It makes me extremely happy to see the same people rooting for me when recycling and décor is being talked. I am happy that they have their own crafting stories to share with me now, and I get photos on whatsapp all the time telling me, “This reminded me of you.” That I could create a niche for myself, influence people to do something good and inculcate a certain taste, though maybe in only a handful people makes me think that crafting has hope in India. It’s going to be huge.
Regionally, what type of crafts are popular? Where I come from, Crochet is very popular so is terracotta dolls. In Mumbai, people have no time for Crafts.
Are there any projects or genres that are specific to your region? In Maharashtra, a type of painting is very famous called ,‘Warli’. It’s excellent with its involvement of symmetry and I would love to somehow incorporate it in my beach décor someday. In WestBengal, where I come from, ‘Batik’ (Tie and Dye with wax) is typical and you’d find beautiful yards with ‘Batik’.
Anything you’d care to add about crafting in your area? We need more stalls like Walmart ;)
Share with us your three favorite crafts/projects you’ve created! Well, this is hard, but here are 3 projects that I think I absolutely loved: The process and the outcome.
- This Table Makeover. I totally loved the outcome.
- Next would be this kitchen that I transformed with Open Shelving.
- And third would be this. Oh, my love for crates will kill me someday.
Where can we find you? I blog at Trumatter, a little space predominated by my love for whites and all things beachy & vintage. Dotted here you’ll find DIY ideas, a whole lot of easy projects involving everyday & thrown away and ways to turn your apartment into a sweet refuge, but on a budget. Oh and a bit of easy cooking and home gardening too! Hope you enjoy being here.
PS. Midsommarflicka’s here again – if you know about or read a blog by someone abroad and would like to see them portrayed here, please give me a shout!