Meet these talented people who spread Christmas cheer by making candles, greeting cards and ornaments for the festive season
Greeting cards to spread the Christmas cheer, candles that glow with warmth and hope, beaming figurines of Santa Claus…Christmas is in the air and in the shops too. However, nothing makes Christmas more traditional than homemade creations. Beena Enose, Fini Jasmine, Usha Sam, and Boban Jude are some of those in the city who help spread the festive spirit with their Christmas designs.
“Although e-cards are convenient, there is something personal in sending and receiving a greeting card and there are many who feel the same,” says Beena.
She should know, for she has always been fascinated by the greetings cards that made their appearance during the time of Christmas and New Year. She made it a habit to buy the cards she fancied. Eventually she began making her own cards and that’s when she realised it was not all that difficult. “That was in the 1980s. I made a few pop-up cards for friends and family and soon started making and selling them.”
Not satisfied with just cutting and pasting cards of all kinds, she decided to embellish it with hand embroidery. Plain wedding invitation cards were decorated with embroidery. “It was tough at first as the cards tore if the needle was pushed too hard. But I soon learnt the trick of getting it right,” says Beena. Basic stitches such as running and hemming are used with back stitch and satin stitch for her cards. She occasionally embellishes her cards with tiny sequins. After the motif for her card is stitched, she pastes it on another card to cover the thread work. As youngsters form a large half of her clientele, she stitches popular cartoon characters in ‘Christmasy’ attires and settings for them. Then there are cards with Christmas motifs, like the Christmas tree, Christmas bells, girls with hands folded in prayer… She occasionally frames her favourite pieces for sale. Wordings for the cards are usually inspired from the Bible. Beena says Christmas is a busy season for her as she sees a rise in demand for her cards. She also receives orders during the wedding season and other festive occasions. The price for her cards starts from Rs. 100.
Beena will be displaying her cards at Women’s Club today. Time: 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.
Fini waxes eloquent while talking about her hobby – making candles. For the last eight years, this homemaker has been making candles and selling them. Her candles for the season capture the moods and colours of Christmas. It’s her creative streak and her love for the art that has her creating masterpieces out of wax. From artistically decorated candles to ice cube candles (where you pour hot wax over ice to create a candle) to frosted candles, she makes them all in various shapes and sizes. She started out by making fancy candles for friends and family. Today, her decorative candles are part of weddings, baptisms, Holy Communion functions, Christmas decorations…
“I was more into arts and crafts as a child and learnt various crafts such as making cloth flowers, for instance, from various teachers,” says Fini.
Deep red Poinsettias and silvery pine cones adorn many of her candles. “I adore flowers and use hand painted dried flowers and even flowers made from cloth to decorate my candles. I also make wax flower candles in shades of blue, green and red, which are popular amongst my customers. I procure the wax and the colours used locally,” says Fini, who is all geared up for the upcoming festive season.
“Friends and neighbours have placed orders for candles that have a ‘Christmasy’ feel to them, so candles in reds, blues and greens, are popular. Silver and golden hued candles set inside Christmas wreaths are in demand too.”
Her daughters Samantha and Sandra help her in making the candles. “They have a good eye for colour and give me unique colour combination ideas to try out,” says Fini, who enjoys experimenting with candles. “Right now, I am working on layered coloured candles with a twist. These are however time consuming, so I am not introducing them to the market until I have perfected the technique. I am a stickler to attention.” Her candles are priced at Rs. 250 onwards.
Christmas isn’t complete without Santa Claus and his bag of goodies. Usha who is rather fond of jolly St. Nick brings him to life with the help of cloth, cotton, needle and thread. A registered teacher of Fevicryl, Usha makes figures of Santa in various sizes. “I started making Santa figures 15 years ago when I made a few for a Christmas sale at church and have been making them around Christmas time ever since.” In her kitty are Santas standing with their arms clutching their bellies with laughter, Santas with rucksacks filled with presents over their shoulders, Santas sitting comfortably… “I must have made around a hundred Santa figures over the last few years. Making Santas is time consuming as I stitch each doll and its costume by hand. The materials are all available locally. I use satin cloth for the Santa outfit to give it a ‘rich’ look. While working on a Santa doll, I pay close attention while working on the face and its expression.”
Medium sized Santa figures are popular amongst customers, she says. Her Santa figurines are priced from Rs. 150 onwards. Apart from Santa toys, Usha also makes greeting cards and wall hangings featuring St. Nick.
Collecting candles was a hobby for florist Boban; he loved the forms and colours they came in. However, when he discovered that he could make his own candles, he decided to learn the art. “I learnt how to make them from arts and crafts teacher George Fernandez,” says Boban, who has been making and selling candles for the last three years now.
His tryst with making candles for sale started when he made a few for a Christmas gala at his church in Murukkumpuzha. “They were sold and many asked me for more.”
Although Boban makes rainbow-coloured candles for different occasions – baptisms and weddings being some – Christmas is usually a season when he gets bogged down with orders.
“Most of my customers are neighbours and those who have heard of my work. I have also supplied candles to two or three churches near Murukkumpuzha.”
Right now, his candles with layers of different colours are popular amongst his customers. “I create and decorate candles of all shapes and sizes and also design and customise according to client specifications. I have moulds of various shapes, which I bought while in Switzerland and I make pyramid-shaped candles, candles shaped like a Christmas tree, ball-shaped candles… I use regular wax to make the candles; for colour, I use food colouring, soap colouring or wax crayons,” says Boban. The artiste charges his candles according to weight and the amount of labour that goes into them.