Society

A rainbow on my bottle

The Colour Company takes used old bottles and turns them into pieces of home decor

Aarthi Sivaramakrishnan, started The Colour Company because she was stuck with a conservation conundrum. The man who collected recyclable waste from her, was leaving piles of bottles outside her door, because he had no facility to recycle them. Aarthi couldn’t let the bottles sit in a landfill somewhere. So she tinkered with the idea of painting these pint bottles.

In 2015, she got her first order: a pint bottle with an acrylic rendering of Shiva. In May that year, she established The Colour Company, as a hobby page on Facebook, simultaneously teaching herself decoupage via Youtube videos.” I also took an intensive one-day course with Yelling Yellow, run by Divya Thallap in Bengaluru,” she says.

The next big step was starting a company, leaving behind an illustrious career as an HR professional, with an impressive resume across the corporate sphere. “I thought the time was ripe for me to start something , instead of looking at stability now, and pursuing my passion only after retirement,” sums up Aarthi.

A rainbow on my bottle

Once The Colour Company was up and running on social media, there was no looking back. Orders started pouring in: from tokens at a TED talk and corporate gifts, to birthday and festive giveaways, her hand-painted bottles and home decor products were all the rage.

But then, Aarthi’s back gave way. “I was told that my posture while painting could further hamper my recovery, so I focused on workshops, where I could stand and teach,” says Aarthi. Her student strength surged past 400, for decoupage courses, as well as Kirigami, dot painting and other artistic collaborations .

Vaishnavi Raghavan, who took a decoupage class with Aarthi, has now joined the company, as it looks to expand its vision. “ For me, the next big leap is e-commerce. I won’t be able to offer customisation, but stenciled trays, coasters boxes and other reclaimed wood products will be a great avenue to showcase our work,” says Aarthi, optimistically.

Her most memorable projects to date? A bunkbed splashed with galaxy colours, and hand-painted lamp panels for artiste Chinni Jayanth and his wife Jayashree. “I have collaborated with Aarthi for art workshops at my institute Kalamanjari. When we renovated our home, we wanted to personalise a lamp with monochromatic silhouettes of our favourite artists, and Aarthi captured their essence beautifully,” explains Jayashree Chinne.

But commerce isn’t the only thing on Aarthi’s mind. The Colour Company wants to give back to the community, making art accessible and inclusive. “I have worked with transgender groups, and people with hearing and learning disabilities. A foundation to carry that forward is in the works. I want to provide them with the materials and space to express and heal themselves. Colour is so therapeutic,” she muses.

To arrange pick up or drop off of bottles, or to place an order, contact thecolourcompanyin@ gmail.com.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:58:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/colour-company-takes-used-old-bottles-and-turns-them-into-pieces-of-home-decor/article26111908.ece

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