They say necessity is the mother of invention… well, I don’t know if my bottlecats can qualify as an invention, but they were surely born out of necessity. When I was a resident Bombayite, a trip to Goa always yielded far too many liquor bottles. Wines, Vodka- you name it… what followed was one continuous party for spirit-deprived friends- I mean, 30 ml of the cheapest wine costs you 200 bucks in Bombay; you cannot blame my friends for expecting drunken orgies every time I returned, well stocked. So what do you do after a drunken orgy, when there are too many bottles lying around? How do you hide the evidence? Quick, turn them into bottlecats!
This is probably the most difficult and most time consuming of all things that I make out of papier-mâché. Sculpting with papier-mâché requires that you make an initial skeleton with wires, chicken mesh or any other base that will take the weight of the mache applied on top. It takes a full 24 hours or more- depending on the complexity of the piece, to make this. One has to be adept at using pliers, drills and cutters- did anyone say being an artist was for genteel, delicate types? After I’m done with constructing the base skeleton, my hands look like a war zone. I have to wait for 3 days minimum before I can subject them to the additional torture of mixing the papier-mâché dough. Ever tried applying fevicol on open cuts and wounds? Not good.

My Dream project- A study in pain. I will be making a collection of sculptures for which I will use barbed wire to make the skeleton. The process of making it will be as painful as the end result. Any takers? Don’t think so! Watch out for it.

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