Picture this. Petite Tanvi Shah standing on her two-inch heels, clutching a heavy-duty hand drill and powering away. That’s an image hard to conjure up, yes? But appearances are rather deceptive with the dainty Jai Ho singer, who insists that she would rather get up and ‘do it herself’ than be dependent on a workman who makes her wait. This reporter was recently at her colourful brand Tansha office to talk about her new line of ‘glass bottle lampshades’.
“That’s what I need that Bosch drill for,” she points to the machine that for the moment, is sitting harmlessly (thank goodness) underneath her work desk. ‘So why do you need a drill?’ “Oh to make a hole at the bottom of the bottles for the wiring to go through...” she explains casually.
Apparently, she does the wiring too with ‘how to’ knowledge straight off google. And just to wipe the wondrous expression off of this reporter’s face, she gets up to show how it’s done. After inserting the copper wire into ‘the choke’ which is then screwed on top, Tanvi proceeds to continue with a few handy electrical tips. And if all this isn’t enough, she adds, “See this wooden table that we’ve been working on. I waited for the carpenter for two weeks...” She goes on in a matter-of-fact tone: “Finally, I decided what the heck. So I rigged up my chainsaw and made my own table!” Good golly. A word to the wise: don’t mess with this singer.
But before any drilling or wiring came to be, one has to wonder – how did she chance upon the idea of lampshades using alcohol bottles as holders? While her bottle lamps cover all the top names – Jacobs Creek, Belvedere, Black Dog...it turns out that these upcycled creations were borne out of just the opposite. The 27-year-old reveals she has a rather unusual hobby. She laughs, “I have a thing for tasting water.” Apparently, with a couple of sips and no peeking at the label – Tanvi’s palate can tell the difference between Bisleri, Himalaya and Evian. Her quirky water tasting fascination quickly led her to as many fancy bottles she could get her hands on, on international concert trips. “So now I collect bottles too,” she smiles. As for her arty alcohol lampshades which are selling like hot cakes, several of the bottles have been given by friends and others even sourced from discerning visits to potti kadais in Teynampet. “You won’t believe I once found a bottle at one of these little shops dated 1887,” Tanvi reveals one of her treasure bottle finds.
For added aesthetics to her lampshades, this singer has tried everything from broomsticks threaded with beads in bottle to Christmas lights to handpainted warli art on glass. In the pipeline for her bottle lampshade line are glitter sand doused with a dose of citronella and lemon grass – “for that sweet scent and to keep away the mozzies,” Tanvi says with a laugh.
And for those for whom price is no boundary, the lamp artist lets on, “I’m also planning to do lampshade bottles with a base of precious pebbles.” Little Topaz rocks at the bottom of luxe lamp offering to your girlfriend maybe...how’s that for a message in a bottle?
(Lampshades are priced between Rs1,500 to Rs 2,800, subject to the bottle art on selection. For details, visit the Tansha Facebook page.)