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    Bring the cherry blossoms home this season with this intricate Japanese art form.

    pg18-3Come March and it is time for sakura (cherry blossoms) in Japan. Meanwhile, bringing Nippon’s pink flowers and other exotic blooms to Chennai at all times of the year is Jenifer Rajkumar, a connoisseur of Nendo no Tetsukuri.
    The first Indian student to learn the clay art in Japan, she has completed six of the 13 certifications required by the Deco Clay Craft Academy, Tokyo, and is now the first certified Indian instructor of Nendo no Tetsukuri. “The art of making flowers and floral designs out of clay was created by Japanese artist Kazuko Miyai 35 years ago. It only involves your hands and specially-made soft clay, called deco clay, which comes in different colours,” says the mother of two, who has been teaching the art for over four years, ever since she got back to  Chennai. She recalls how it had been difficult at first, when marriage took her to Japan in 2006. “I lived like a recluse because I was clueless in a country where people did not speak English. Gradually, I learnt the language and soon learned crafts like origami, ikebana and Nendo no Tetsukuri,” says the 36-year-old, who exhibits her art pieces at the annual Japan cultural festival organised by the Consulate-General of Japan in the city. “I make wedding gifts and accessories like corsages and  boutonnieres. But I devote more time to teaching the art,” she says, adding that she holds both certification and non-certification classes for students above 15 years.
    The art takes anywhere from five minutes to hours to make—depending on what you are making. Once the pieces are done, they are air dried. And for longevity, they must not be exposed to direct sunlight.
    Products from Rs 150. Classes from Rs 2,000. Details: 9600095632

    —Lalitha Ranjani

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