Kabadiwali comes to town

Chennai-based glass artist Anjali Venkat plays Kabadiwali and brings functional art in mixed media to town this weekend

Make way this weekend for the quintessential Kabadiwali who turns scrap bottles and glass into pieces of art. Anjali Venkat, artist and designer is not made up of ordinary things.  She collects bottles, scrap glass and wood to up cycle them into luxury utility items.

Bottle planter

The self-proclaimed kabadiwali says, "I get calls from people saying we had a party last night and we are coming to drop off some bottles. I have literally turned into the locality's Kabadiwali. The name adds some humour. We take ourselves too seriously sometimes," adds the Chennai-based artist who works out of a small studio there.

Even though her forte is essentially glass art, the exhibition in town will feature a series that uses mixed media- wood, paper and glass. Vodka bottle dishes, bottle planters, assembled bottle diyas, wood collage tables, serving trays, wooden planter and tissue box covers will be part of a range of 45 different items.

Anjali, 46, began her experiments with glass in a rather small way. She pursued short term workshops in glass art at Corning Museum of Glass in New York, glass blowing in Norway and learnt lampshade techniques in Perth.
She then began melting glass in a kiln to make small objects that were retailed at a few galleries in Chennai in 1996 after which she left the city. Returning in 2005, she started her own little studio in a small housing society flat using it as a retail space.
Six years hence, she ships products to many cities including Bangalore and conducts an annual exhibition of her products in Chennai and follows it up with workshops for people who want to pick up the craft.

After years of working with glass and hand-making every piece that left her studio, she decided to make a foray into mixed media. "I wanted to work with reclaimed wood and met Shetal Parekk, a fine artist at one of the workshops I was conducting.
We decided to work together on the wood, paper and glass series.  Glass has a mind of its own. It has its own limitations and there is only so much one can experiment with glass. Wood, on the other hand, gives structure, while glass gives the object beauty. It works as a great combination," she adds.

Retailing through outlets is something she stands against, limiting her work to studio art. What she does plan for the future though is bringing to the city and exhibition of jewellery in glass. "I have always wanted to work with metal and will be doing that soon. I am waiting for somebody who can teach me metal," she says.

Where Gallery no 4, Chitra Kala Parishath, Kumara Krupa Road
On September 24, 25 and 26, 10.30 am to 7.30 pm
Call 9840076492
Log on to
For Rs 150 to Rs 9,000

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