M.C. Ratheesh turns used blades into interesting works of art

There is something different in the curios lined up in his house. What strikes you is not just the range but the material used for making the artefacts. There are traditional lamps, goblets and many such artefacts all made of sharp-edged stainless steel blades. M.C. Ratheesh, a barber by profession, has been crafting these artefacts from the blades used and discarded from his own shop.

“It took two to three months to finish most of theses models. Disposing of the waste material, especially these sharp blades, was a problem. That was when I struck upon the idea of reusing them for my hobby. For the two-foot traditional lamp I have used around 500-600 split blades,” says the 28-year-old who owns the ‘New Style' saloon at Kunjatttukara, Pookkattupady near Aluva.

Ratheesh believes that this skill is inherited. “I don't have masters in this field of craft. Perhaps, it is inborn. My father and brother are good artistes. My father (P. P. Chandran) is a popular Kathaprasangom artiste, while my brother (Rajesh) is part of a mimicry troupe.”

Apart from blades Ratheesh also makes interesting models using spadix, tin and light metal sheets. A houseboat using spadix and that of a JCB using tin and metal sheets are proof of this artist's perseverance and talent.

Though many people have interest in buying these artefacts Ratheesh has politely turned down these offers. “For me these are priceless products, especially those made of blades. They are rare and so much of effort has gone into its making.”

The process

Ratheesh first makes a detailed sketch of the object he plans to make on paper. Then he uses PVC pipes and rods as a base on which he sticks these blades. Though it sounds easy, it requires imagination, skill and one need to be prepared to end up with bruised fingers.

Ratheesh usually works at night, after he reaches home from his saloon. He does not sit for long hours and is content to finish them in phases. Many a time they need modifications. This calls for more time and of course, extended patience. Once the models are complete Ratheesh gives them an aluminium paint finish. This gives them a glow and also prevents it from rusting for many years.

His mother Savithri remembers that her son had this artistic inclination even when he was a child. During his primary school days Ratheesh had made a clay replica of the famous temple at Thrikkakara. And this he did after he had taken just a passing glance at the structure while travelling by the place one day. Another striking work is ‘Shakuntala' made out of thermocole.

In his small village Ratheesh is not only the favourite hair dresser, he is a self-trained artist and also one that most students turn to when they need to make their school projects.

Ratheesh was recently felicitated at the Vallathol Library, Pookkattupady, where he held an exhibition of his artefacts.

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