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Spurred by interest

Srilatha Santhosh's passion for Ganesha is visible in the 108 idols she has created out of "whatever material that was available at home."

Lord Ganesha is undoubtedly an artist's delight. Canvas, terracotta or ceramic... whatever be the medium, the "remover of obstacles" can be expressed in myriad delightful ways.

Attracted by the many forms of Ganesha and spurred by a creative urge, Srilatha Santhosh, a 41-year-old housewife has created 108 idols from "whatever material that was available at home." The task was by no means a mean one. For carving a single piece could take up to a few days for completion, as she had to do them in between domestic chores. And what's amazing is the fact that besides the assorted pieces, she has also created a number of Ganeshas based on myth. So there are the exquisitely crafted Nataraja Pillaiyar, Pancha Mugam, Navarasa Pillaiyar, Kan Drishti Pillaiyar etc.

The materials used by the indigenous artisan range from M.seal (black and white), chalk powder, soap, ceramic powder and sandal paste. In many cases, even discarded bulbs, bottles, CD and cassette covers and plastic wastes have come in handy. The soap collection in a burst of vibrant hues, all carved from single slabs of soaps offers visual interest. "It was a creative challenge to work on soap because of their delicate nature. Even a small slip while carving can affect the form," says Srilatha. Some of the pieces are suitably embellished with metallic colours like copper, gold and silver to give them a touch of rarity.

What began as a frivolous pastime has today become Srilatha's magnificent obsession. The result, she plans to explore new realms of creativity with newer materials. All from home, for sure!

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