TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Whatever happened to that cardboard carton which ferried your favourite article from the online shopping site? At Sarah George's place, you see them wrapped with jute ropes and laces, festooned with pom poms and being turned into works of art which are then put to good use as containers. The glass bottles that you tend to throw away are all resurrected. A coffee bottle gets a new lease of life and so does the Milma curd tub which now sits all prettily decked up in the 18th-century French art 'Decoupage'.
"It is a rebirth," she says. The mundane becomes a collector's item.
Three bottles wait in anticipation, all white and primed up for Decoupage. A milk can, kettle and glass bottles fight for space on the dining table along with other art paraphernalia. “It is just me and my son Dijo, so we make space when we need it. I have two huge boxes, to which these get shuffled into if someone comes calling. Otherwise, it is like this,” she smiles.
The room bursts at its seams with bottle artworks. Vibrantly decked up in myriad hues and festooned with jute ropes, laces, flowers, beads, glass flakes, and such, the bottles vie for your attention with their strikingly beautiful décor. Just one of these bottles can light up the room, imagine several of such artworks serenading you with their beauty and art. It is with this feisty flamboyance of the artworks that one is ushered into the living space of Sarah.
For this retired deputy chief engineer of Irrigation Department, bottles have been her weakness all along. She recalls how she took home a few glass bottles which were dumped near a dam when she went for an inspection. She has been holing up bottles and years hence, post-retirement the bottles are her canvas. They are all being up-cycled.
Sarah who goes by the label 'Bottle Art' sources the bottles from flats. “It is always difficult to dispose of the bottles in flats. Just imagine if everyone would upcycle and make use of the glass bottles,” she adds. The bottles have jute ropes of varied colours wound over it. “I saw this when I went to Malaysia. Most of their articles would have rings of rope strung around it. That intrigued me and I incorporated it,” she says.
Sarah sources all the articles to deck these bottles up from online stores. A delivery agent has just dropped in a packet. She tears open the packet with a childish enthusiasm and is pleasantly happy seeing its contents, neatly packaged bundles of thin, rice papers that bear gorgeous prints. “You have to choose which print can get well with which article. The colour, print, everything matters,” she says excitedly, flipping through the rice papers. Post-retirement, Sarah is leading a joyful life, one where her heart lies.
“I have always wanted to delve more into art. One should always keep working. In fact, it was my daughter Donna who persuaded me to get engaged,” she says.Her husband Mathew Daniel who works abroad would always nudge her to undertake work after retirement. “I would rather have it this way,” she smiles. “I get to do what I love. Everyone should do what they love, shouldn't they,” she adds merrily.