Hey all! After my journey from Trivandrum (which was a break taken to reflect and rejuvenate), I feel splendid to meet you here :D Now, before I get distracted by any other topic… I will jump straight onto a maker. She looks gorgeous and has an amazing talent of beautifying things that can go unnoticed easily. Pebbles. I have seen pebble paintings before, but none were from an Indian. Though I am sure there might be many out there. But am so very pleased to have found one lovely enthusiast here in Pune. Swati has been a very jolly person throughout our interview and that’s how I came to know about her story, which I am sharing with you on this post.
Scoring great marks in her academics, she also managed to spend time with paintings and fine arts. Post completing B.Sc, she got married while she was pursuing M.Sc from Symbiosis. So it came obvious that she had never thought of painting to be taken as a profession.
In 2015, she created an FB page naming it “Let The Colors Speak“. And soon a friend approached her to buy a painting. She was constantly striving to make more and sell more but only 4 canvas/poster paintings were sold in a year.
Once, while a visit to a stationery store (Venus Traders). She saw raw, yet beautiful pebbles. Curiosity towards its usage, reaped inspirations to paint on them. “Unlike canvas paintings, I wasn’t at all getting bored with painting on pebbles” she filled the sentence with a boast of laughter.
To my grandest of surprise, she started pebble painting only a few months ago in 2017. She added, “PULA has changed my life. As soon as I joined this group even the small canvases with stands were getting sold out”. PULA is a group in FB, which stands for PUne LAdies. She wasn’t sure about exhibiting in flea markets initially because of the pricing of the stalls. Which I am very well able to relate with. And that’s why Fb groups that support the local artists are the best place to show up with your talents.
“People, who know me were a bit concerned towards who will buy pebble paintings? But then, since the canvas ones weren’t selling either; this was a different approach I had towards the art-form. I also have believed in this work, because it is unique and such stuff is still rarely been found in creative markets.”
“But am so blessed to have a strong support from my families. My father-in-law found a place to get the pebbles and the rest of the family is thinking of setting up a studio space for me”. I strongly agree that if you have support from your beloved ones, you really need not worry much about the venture. Just work more and make it better.
A whopping average of 30 painted pebbles gets sold each month. Pricing varies with the size of the pebble and complexity of the painting. Only river stone pebbles are used and only custom orders are taken. That directs to a unique piece for you by all means, right from the stone to the painting itself. Thereby, she expresses “Investment is time and detailing rather than money and materials”
“Paintings just click to me. There is no other outside influence I take.” She also admires the fact that there’s not much competition in pebble paintings, unlike canvas. She sportingly mentions “My passion is more towards pebbles than painting”
She is aware of pebble artworks that get framed and hung on walls. After finding it at someone’s house, she tried her potential in that. For that too, she started receiving a great response. But there is one negative point to it. Because of the weight of the stones, a lot of money gets involved into the framing part.
As much beautiful it looks, pebble painting though is comparatively a strenuous job. Since a pebble soaks moisture, multiple coatings of paint are required. Also, to hold a pebble and paint on it, is a difficult task. She states that “It takes a lot of patience in drying. Almost 2 to 3 days for one painting. And in rainy days it has chances to stick, even after one year. So I stopped marketing its usage as a paper weight.”
One can use it for styling purposes (on anywhere) and for pepping up terrariums. It is waterproof because it’s painted using acrylics. She clarifies “Decor items doesn’t require convincing. They have lovers and a great audience, so they’ll buy.”
When I asked about what she foresees in doing in this venture… She had a huge list of even being getting started on a noticeable scale. From trying a flea market to owning a website to acquiring an art-studio and likewise. It completely resonated with my thoughts. And so it feels good to connect with creative people to a maximum level.
I believe India still has a lot of gems that strives to surface up in the chaotic and hallucinating international market. I always ALWAYS will search for an authentic Indian maker before I would step on to buying anything from the market. On the hunt of which I am pleased to meet makers and doers like Swati, for whom each one of us must feel grateful and proud of. Have a lovely day forth my friend.
Photography Credit: Bimal Nair