Chisel the chalk, that’s what she does to create endearing motifs from them.
The firm hands of 30-year-old Yuktha Moukthik move with precision on a piece of chalk. And guided by the deft movement of her fingers, the shapeless chalk transforms into a miniature angel, replete with detailed engravings.
A small slip-up or an innocent gesture of the hand is enough to destroy hours of her hard work. At the end of it all, she holds up the figure of the angel proudly before tucking it away safely in a thermocol box.
“Chalk figures are delicate and have to be stored carefully. Four years ago, I lost 34 art works because of a mistake. Carving a chalk requires a lot of patience, perseverance and soft hands. I think God has given me a gift,” she says, while showcasing her other works which include a miniature statue of Radha-Krishna, a village belle carrying a pot of water, a bride holding a garland, angels with extended wings, faces of gods and goddesses, etc.
There is no school where the art of carving miniature figures is taught.
“It happened all of a sudden. A few years ago, I was holding an idol of Lord Krishna and abruptly I felt I should carve it. I drew a two-dimensional figure. The next day, I carved ballet dancers on a chalk and that came well. Then, I started to chisel regularly,” she recalls.
Given the delicate nature of the art, Yuktha points out that one should not be bogged down by frequent failures and be disappointed.
“There are instances when I managed to finish the statue completely before losing it just for one small mistake. It also depends a lot on the quality of chalk,” she says.
While strangers might need a magnifying glass to appreciate the intricate designs in her miniature art work, Yuktha says that she does not need them while carving.
“I have become accustomed to using just a needle to carve the figurines on the chalk. I don’t even wear glasses or take help of magnifying lens to carve,” she points out.
Creating carvings on chalk is child’s play for 30-year-old miniature artist Yuktha Moukthik