Unavailability of resources makes mosaic an expensive art to pursue in India, but the passionate continue to make paintings in glass worth checking out
Mosaic artist Shilpa Dalal has heavy tools and glass supplies stored in two cupboards of her Tardeo home. From trays to chairs, mirrors, lamp bases and carpets, Dalal has made many a small and large glass mosaic artwork using opaque stained glass. "The carpets are a real joy to make and have. I often scout the lanes of Chor Bazaar for restro furniture to mosaic on. Earlier, I was into florals. Now, I seem to prefer geometrical designs," she says.
Sharma's Marylin Monroe
While a Commercial Art degree from Nirmala Niketan set the tone, Dalal is largely self-taught. A weekend course in stained glass during a stay in London back in the 1990s is what got her fired up. A chance encounter with Leponitt cutter manufacturers introduced a whole new world of mosaics while she was in Belgium. When her husband was transferred back to Mumbai in 1998, Dalal had to start from scratch.
Recently, Pinterest and YouTube have opened a whole new world of ideas and tutorials, but the greatest challenge in India for mosaic artists is procuring high quality material in small quantities. "Mosaic is an expensive hobby and can put people off. A stained glass of 3 mm thickness is not available in India, which I means I have to depend on imports from USA or China. Luckily, I found a supplier but he won't give me less than four square feet of each colour," she says, adding that good glass cutters and grinders are tough to find. For someone looking to acquaint themselves with the art, Facebook group Mosaic India is a good place to start. It even has lessons on how to fashion your own creation.
Larger than life
A painting in glass is how artist Renu Sharma describes the experience of creating mosaics. "Not too many clients are appreciative of the hard work that goes in. As a result, prices tend to be conservative. I am not able to take my art to the level I would like to," says Sharma.
Cost: Rs 7,500 per sq ft
Aashika and Tanishaa Cunha
The Cunha siblings, Aashika and Tanishaa, specialise in bespoke mosaic and transform it into modern artwork. "The only restrictions are the colours available, especially colours of the skin. Mosaics aren't as easy to do as paintings, where you can make changes with the stroke of a brush. It's time consuming," says Aashika.
Cost: Rs 10,000 per sq ft
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