Quilling artisan & entrepreneur Gunavathy Chandrasekaran brings incredible patterns to life
For Gunavathy Chandrasekaran, quilling is more than a hobby. It is a way of life. A life she has created with beautiful patterns of colorful papers around her. Lovingly called Guna. this young woman from Chinnalapatti village in Tamil Nadu’s DIndigul district was affected with polio when she was a child. This affected her walk. Guna cannot walk more than 20 feet without help but she does her chores independently.
Guna was married off when she was young and had two daughters. She discovered quilling accidentally and that led her to explore the artist within her. She makes decorative arts, greeting cards, wedding invitations, miniatures, company logos, name boards, jewellery and a whole lot of creative ideas.
“Before quilling I was a typical housewife but I had a yearning to do something more in life. I started to help my husband in his work initially as I wanted to support him in taking care of the family. Once I started quilling I found myself. The art is so much more than a hobby for me as it has provided me an identity”, says Guna.
What is quilling
Quilling or Paper Filigree is the art made from long thin strips of paper. The paper is rolled and pinched into different shapes and converted to forms depicting an artist’s imagination. The art uses simple hand tools, no electric gadgets and is an amazing expression of creativity. To top it all quilling products are 100% eco-friendly and completely handmade.
Guna is now famous as a quilling artisan and her family is proud of her achievements. Quilling has helped realize her true potential and ability. Her work is unique and extraordinary. She has been awarded several rewards for her artworks, including a recent one from the Tamil Nadu government. Her quilling artwork is displayed for sale across the country through the handicraft emporiums of Ministry of Textiles. The Craft Council of Tamil Nadu and the Craft Council of India often invite her to conduct stalls at Coimbatore and Chennai.
“Guna is an extremely positive and talented artist. Her innovative business ideas are changing the lives of so many people around her. She is strong willed and motivated to keep going on the path she has chosen in life”, says her son-in-law Jagdesh Rajendaren.
Guna is entirely self-taught and relies on her intuition. She also takes workshops for other aspiring artisans and gives motivational guest lectures. She has trained thousands of women, enabling them to become financially independent. A journey that is truly remarkable and deserves to be celebrated.