Art

The craft of small things: Why A Mitralaxmi enjoys the challenge of creating miniature art

A Mitralaxmi with her work

A Mitralaxmi with her work   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A Mitralaxmi enjoys the challenge of creating miniature art from paper, be it a 2D likeness of actor Vijay Sethupathy or burgers and sandwiches

A Mitralaxmi remembers that afternoon when she received a message on Instagram. “It was from a close friend of actor Vijay Sethupathy who wanted to customise a gift to the actor on his birthday,” she says.

A model of actor Vijay Sethupathy

A model of actor Vijay Sethupathy  

It took her two weeks to make 2D miniature of the actor’s face and a 3D miniature of a vintage camera. “I traced his portrait on black paper and cut and paste it on a frame. The camera was fashioned out of wood and had a slot to insert photographs. Vijay Sethupathy loved it and I am thrilled,” she says. Mitralaxmi, who has a day job as an auditor at a private firm, has been doing miniature art for the past one year. “It all started when a friend asked me to source a few personalised gift tags for her wedding. I couldn’t find anything that suited my taste and finally ended up making 250 handmade paper tags,” she says.

Mitralaxmi says it was natural she should be interested in craft. “My father owned a printing press and I had access to different types of papers. I loved origami and experimented with folds and designs.” She says learnt miniature art by trial and error. “While there are many online tutorial videos on clay miniatures, I could not find any good ones using paper. So I developed my own ways of doing it,” she explains.

Miniatures of food items

Miniatures of food items   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Her first 3D work was done for Deepavali and it had tiny sweets and crackers made out of coloured chart paper. “It came out well and gave me confidence,” she says. She also recreated dumplings, noodles, burgers, sandwiches and French fries out of paper for a café. “They were put up in a photo booth at the restaurant and many customers took photographs of my products. I felt good to see my work pop up on Instagram the next day,” she recollects. Mitralaxmi’s most challenging work was to make a model of a Canon 5D camera. It took her a week to complete and she referred to multiple photographs to get the details right. “It was just two inches in height. I did the body with cardboard and covered it up with black chart paper. I later painted the buttons.”

She has begun to work with MDF wood. “It is sturdier and so easier than paper. I imported a machine from the US to cut the wood into shapes. Once done, I glue the pieces together,” she explains. “I work on my miniature art on weekends and in the evenings after work. Getting the shapes without crumpling the paper is the challenge. But once the final product is ready, there is no greater happiness.”

Find her works at
  • Instagram - miniatures.handcrafted
  • Facebook - @miniatures.handcrafted

Mitralaxmi says she likes to take part in exhibitions and pop up shows as she can get a sense of what people want. “I met a few collectors at my stall in Art Street and they suggested that I open a store here,” she smiles but says that is not yet in the pipeline. Mithralaxmi has just completed a miniature sewing machine made of cardboard for a knitting company in Tirupur. “My next project is to recreate human faces with paper. It is not easy, but I know I will figure out a way,” she smiles.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:18:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/a-mitralaxmi-on-the-challenge-of-creating-miniature-art-from-paper/article30901794.ece

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