Dr Shalini Gupta is an artist of many shades – she is a painter, mosaic artist, poet, compere, and dancer all rolled in one. But one of her favourite skills is mosaic making for which she often spends days together to deliver fond gifts to her near and dear ones.
Mosaics have been a popular art form in several cultures around the world, she says, pointing out that the earliest known mosaics were found in a Mesopotamia temple dating back to the third millennium BC. (Mosaics are the assemblages composed out of tessera - small pieces of glass, stones or other naturally-existing materials).
“I used to admire mosaic works wherever I traveled (fortunately, I have been to 34 countries) in great monuments, temples, mosques and other architectural structures around me since childhood. I still remember those beautiful jewelled mosaic tiles in the interior of the Taj Mahal, in Agra (India) when I first saw it when I was a child,” says Shalini disclosing how she developed a liking for creating mosaics.
Three years ago, she learnt mosaic making from an artist friend during a workshop at PDO art center. Since then, she bought loads of material to fuel a new craze and prepared a range of household articles and table décor for her home, from wall hangings and frames to table mats, trays, coffee coasters, wall clocks, name plates and other decorative stuff for children to play with.
“I innovated new styles of name plates where I do mosaic work around a strip of mirror and write the name of the householder on the mirror with acrylic paint,” she said, adding that in December 2019 she held a solo art exhibition at City Seasons hotel wherein all her artworks, including three mosaics were sold.
“For mosaic art, we need only a few items - mosaic tiles, a tile cutter, grout, glue and hardwood or any material base. Working on mosaics together in a group is great fun, too. One can choose any design, pattern, picture and any material base for mosaic art,” she said.
During the COVID-19 lockdown last year, Shalini found more time to pursue her passion for mosaic art. In fact, she had started holding mosaic classes at home, for ladies and children, since 2019.
“Once you learn the basics of mosaic art, you will discover that the sky is the limit with what you can create,” she asserts.
One of the items in good demand from Shalini is the 'name plate' which many friends have ordered from her.
Tips for beginners
Start with simple patterns and learn the art of cutting tiles safely. If possible, attend a few classes to learn the basics, Shalini says.