Aditi Babel is passionate about books; not writing or reading, but making them...
It’s post-lunch on a lazy Saturday afternoon and book-lovers have arrived at Sri Parvathi Gallery, Eldams Road, to soak in the art and craft of book-making. I step in and find a group huddled around a walnut-coloured sleek desk and hear a voice that says, “Please notice carefully as I run my thread across,” in a tone that’s suave and stern at the same time.
And it is an appropriate blend because to juggle between three roles — book artist, graphic designer, teacher — you need to be able to strike the right balance between delicately crafting fine pieces of art and vigorously enhancing others’ with similar interests. Aditi Babel, 28, Udaipur-based book artist, has got this one just right.
“I was always interested in the process of book-making,” she says. “After pursuing my Fine Arts in ICJ, Jaipur, and Masters in Visual Communication from IIT-Bombay, I went ahead and did an exhaustive six-month long course at Florence in book-making and binding. And by the time I was back I was totally in love with the art.”
After an entire year of testing, trying and experimenting with the art, Aditi began exploring other avenues to reach people with an eye for aesthetics and enhance their learning process by equipping them with the craft (of book-making and binding) that she feels leads to a wholesome learning experience. “People in the country are unaware of the art and even if they are aware, they perceive it as a very minute element, against the backdrop of design,” she says.
“I tell people to just try their hand at it before shunning the idea. I feel, it’s important to really meet the right bunch of people and I must say that IIT-Bombay (Department of IDC), where I also teach (as a visiting faculty), has given me that sort of a platform. To meet and connect with people who appreciate and value the craft. One student even suggested that we must make the subject into an exclusive course.”
More in store
At around the same time, Aditi also started creating pieces of books and book sculptures and selling them through various retail stores (Pappadum, itshandmade.in, Aniika.com) that eventually mushroomed into a brand called ‘Babel Books’.
At the moment, Aditi is collaborating with a bunch of artists and publications to create book sculptures (art pieces) and book structures (the functioning of a book). “I’ve been working closely with Tulika publications and my book with them is expected to release in a couple of months,” she says. An appropriate blend indeed!