Downtown

She sells sea shells

Out of the shell: Vasundara sources colourful shells from the coasts of Philippines, Japan, Andaman and Mumbai. Photo: R. Ragu

Out of the shell: Vasundara sources colourful shells from the coasts of Philippines, Japan, Andaman and Mumbai. Photo: R. Ragu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

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Seventy-year-old Vasundara unleashes her creativity through sea shells, writes K. SARUMATHI

When children her age would be busy building castles out of beach sand and paddling their feet in the sea water at Marina, Vasundara would be collecting sea shells. She was hooked on to the activity of creating craft out of sea shells. Vasundara, 70 now, has not lost her fascination with sea shells and continues to make display items with them.

She sources colourful shells from the coast of Philippines, Japan, Andaman and Bombay.

Her speciality is making flowers out of shells. But, she calls them a versatile object that can be used to create curios, animal and bird figurines, accessories such as ear-rings, hair clips, and, of course, key chains and pen stands.

“When I was young, someone presented me a shell doll from Pondicherry. I was so spellbound by it that I wanted to make something similar to it. I started collecting shells from the shores of the Marina. From then on, whenever we visited a sea shore, my only objective would be to get as many shells as possible. I have a few shells I got from the coral reefs long time ago, but they are banned now. I have them as keepsake,” says Vasundara, a member of the Craft Council of India.

She says her creations are long-standing and more durable and would not break even if dropped, as she uses a special adhesive called blue gun to stick the different shells. “There are beautiful shapes inside the shell. All you need to do is cut and stick them together. In a day, I can create 50 decorative pieces.”

She learnt the basics of shell cleaning and cutting from Abraham Raman, who has won a State award for his shell-based creations. Now she conducts workshops for interested participants.

“If I get at least 10 members, I conduct a workshop for them. They can choose what to learn such as making flowers or ornamental pieces,” says Vasundara, who uses no plastics, chemicals or colours for her art.

Besides this obsession with shells, Vasundara is interested in gardening and has a roof top garden with over 100 plants. She also composts her household waste, converting them into manure for the plants.

She also prepares and sells on demand herbal powders for cough and diabetes from the plants in her garden. She can be reached at 91766 20747.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:22:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/she-sells-sea-shells/article6227967.ece

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