“I have a strong desire to constantly express myself creatively – Be it through gift wrapping, or making crochet toys for my kids. I’m always using my hands.”
Two kids, two Masters Degree and two crafty hands has 43 year old Zereh Lalji from Gurgaon occupied and satisfied with what she creates and constructs. Meet this self-taught artist with a prescribed passion for craft where she reveals that the magic lies in the ‘making’.
Zereh is into making lovely little doll houses and miniature models that started off initially by building cardboard houses for her kids, later developing into a full-swing hobby.
- How did the craft scene enter your life? Tell us something about how it all began.
I’m a maker and have this constant need to make stuff. I love things that are handcrafted and beautiful. My mum used to design clothes and my dad was very good at fixing and making stuff – doing things with his hands. Maybe that’s what influenced me. As a teenager I made a lot of small things and sold it to earn extra pocket money.
My daughter was gifted a tiny toy mouse and I made her a very basic room box for the mouse to live in. She then got a hedgehog family and told me, that the hedgehog family needed a home. I started making the house for the hedgehog family out of a Hopscotch delivery carton. I worked in the evenings after the kids went to bed. It felt like the shoemaker and the elves story – They would come running every morning to see what else was new in the house.
I’ve been fascinated with minis since I was a little girl and remember spending hours looking through this one book on crafts in my Grandfather’s library that had a section dedicated to making miniatures.
- How did your craft develop to the next level?
After that was done, I decided to make more realistic looking minis and started on a little cottage in shabby chic style. Being a mother is a full time job and I mostly work on it after the kids go to bed or when they’re at school. This is my creative outlet, a way to unwind, and relax at the end of the day. The work is so tiny and detailed, it makes me completely zone out and I love it.
- What are your sources of inspiration?
When it comes to creativity right now, my kids are a big inspiration. My daughter is six and my son is four. I love making things that will put a smile on their faces.
I appreciate designs that are simple yet clever. I love rustic, cottage, farmhouse and shabby chic style for my miniatures. Initially, I used to go through a lot of miniature work that people had already created as inspiration. However now, I find myself browsing through home decor magazines or looking online for images of interiors of real homes for inspiration.
- What do want to achieve through your art and how do you share it? Is it available for sale?
On a personal level, this is a means of catharsis – A way to channelise and express my creativity. At a professional level, I don’t know yet; this started as a hobby. Making miniatures is very time-consuming and I’m not sure if there is even a market for it here.
I’m working on something for a friend and there’s another project for my mother but these are gifts. Having said that, recently I have been asked frequently if I have a blog of my own or if I sell my work or if I have an Etsy store etc. So, that has got me thinking.Experimenting on a collaboration with other people is in the pipeline so let’s see where that goes. That might be a start for something commercial.
Follow updates of interesting miniature craft models by Zereh on Instagram!
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