Miniature is a thing that is much smaller than normal, especially a small replica of a particular thing. Introducing the Miniature Artist Shirali Patel from Ahmedabad, who is amazingly fascinated and bitten by the miniature art bug, since she was a child. A self-taught and a self-mastered artist, Shirali shares her story with Roots and Leisure on how the culture of India has become her inspiration towards the creation of her artwork Small Idea.
Share a little details about yourself and what you have been up to?
Hi I’m Shirali, a Bio-Chemist turned Fashion Designer turned Miniaturist. After working for over a decade in Retail Industry, I left my corporate job and pursued my passion for creating miniature. I am a self-taught and I have mastered this art after many years of mistakes and experimentation.
“It’s been 8 years now that I’m sculpting miniatures and my quirky little utility and collectable products bring smile on many faces.”
What initially sparked your interest in this field?
I just love miniatures. Miniatures fascinated me as a child and it still gets me excited as an adult!! Also my personal taste is more biased towards quirky and one of a kind products. Back in 2008, before I started working professionally, I had made customized pen-drives for myself and some gifts for a few friends. I tried my luck selling few pieces online and people did purchase them. And hence, there was no looking back for me.
What do you do full-time? If part time, how do you manage?
I’m a full time miniaturist, with a very quaint studio that has all kinds of equipment and raw materials ranging from wood-working, soldering to thermo-forming. I spend 8 – 10 hours daily working on miniatures in my studio. My work is my passion.
What’s your creative philosophy? Where do you take inspiration from?
I fall in love with the process of the creation to do a really great work and I let myself make as many mistakes as I need to, so I can learn from them. I like to get my paradigm shattered.
“Life is a teacher for me. All my inspiration comes from real life, real people, real situations; and of course not to forget, real food!”
What do you hope people take away from your art?
Love – your love for passion. Love for creation. Love in sharing. Love for humanity. Love is what I hope people to take away from my artwork.
What gets you particularly excited about your art?
Innovation! What I love about my work is that it helps me explore the unventured territories. It gives me an opportunity to create something that has never been miniaturized. It provides me with a wide arena to explore and engage in new things and grow as an artist.
“My work is my soul expression! It’s free-spirited, adventurous and undefeated.”
How has your roots inspired you to do what you are doing today?
My roots have a huge influence on my work. Though I am very versatile in my work and can sculpt everything from miniature books to shoes, my favorite genre to sculpt is food. And India is a culturally diverse country. With 29 states and various cuisines, it’s a rich source of inspiration for me!
“My goal as an artist is to create top 20 miniature staple food of every state and create a food trail across the country. I have started working on this project, and to my amazement, I found so many overlapping similarities in local cuisines from one state to another. Same food, similar recipes and yet different names!”
Can you single out an item from your work which you are particularly proud of?
Yes, I recently did a miniature food series on Mangalore, which had 15 local cuisines that I recreated in 1:6 scale. I have never tasted or seen these cuisines but it was a delightful challenge to recreate it in realistic miniature form. My next, work in progress is the cuisines of West Bengal.
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