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    Aparna Vinod and Uttara

    The Craft Caravan aims to keep kids connected to their artistic side

    Aparna Vinod is a strong believer in the power of DIY. “Until age eight, parents actively encourage their kids’ creativity, but as they get older, stuff like abacus and Vedic mathe-matics, get more impor-tance. Even with medicine or engineering, a little cre-ative thinking can go a long way in improving efficiency,” says Vinod, the founder of Craft Caravan.

    A compulsive crafter herself, to the extent of painting her own furni-ture, it was only natural for her to pass on her skills to her daughter. Having opted to sell off their televi-sion set as it was ‘lying useless in the house’, Vinod turned to craft to keep her daughter, Uttara, entertained. So at one and half years, she was getting her hands dirty with paints and sketches, and now at three, she’s quite adept at cutting and pasting. Vinod even makes her own clay dough using completely natural ingredients like maida, salt and water and coriander powder, turmeric and food colour off her kitch-en shelf for different shades.

    Green connect
    The Craft Caravan focuses on using recycled material to craft everything from bunting and paper mosaics to puppets and even dollhouses. “It’s amazing how what we consider waste can be turned into beautiful things. For example, the gold choco-late bar wrappers can be flattened out and cut into stars or other glit-tery things,” says the young mum. Vinod provides crafting modules to schools in the city, conducting class-es on an hourly basis. Activities range from storytelling using puppets made by the kids to regular drawing, painting cutting and pasting. “My aim is to hone their observation skills. For instance, when they look at a tree, they should notice the various shades of the leaves,the texture of the bark and the colours of the flowers,” she explains. The former journalist works with schools from different economic lev-els. “The challenge is to see how they rise above their financial con-straints to create something beautiful — away from their iPads and PlayStations,” she reveals.

    Rs. 1,000 upwards per hour for a group of 10. Details: facebook.com/thecraftcaravan

    —Rashmi Rajagopal

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