Published: 16th June 2021
Wood and illustration come together beautifully in these creations by a 28-year-old from Vizag
The Paper Garden, run by Soundarya Gottapu, will become your go-to place for cute wooden decor pieces the minute you check out their stop. 'Wood' you like to take a walk in Soundarya's Paper Garden?
Though Soundarya Gottapu took the long and winding road to arrive at her passion, it was worth it because all the learnings she picked up on the way made the destination so much more worth it. So, let us see. First came the move to Mumbai to pursue Fashion Design at Pearl Academy, followed by working as an Assistant Designer, until she left Mumbai in 2018. She continued to design ensembles for others, but when she realised paper and wood are a few of her favourite things, she took to illustrations with great gusto and started Paper Garden in October 2020. "I've loved illustrating since they taught it to us back at the academy, so I spent a lot of time brushing up my illustration skills before launching Paper Garden," explains the 28-year-old who is now back in Visakhapatnam, her hometown.
Coasters, key holders, calendars, notepads and a lot more — there are several products that feature in Paper Garden's catalogue. Whenever she requires woodwork, she enlists the help of a local carpenter and gives him the exact dimensions and leaves the rest to his expertise. She uses pine wood or the wood from pumpkin trees and then, the tough work starts — she hand-draws all the products. Describing how it all started, she says, "Wood was behaving a lot like paper, in terms of absorbing and blotting. That's when I discovered pyrography, a method of burning a design into wood. It took me several months to master, but the beauty of it is that no two designs are the exact same." Talking about the designs themselves, they are customisable and pretty cutesy. Her first collection, Returning Home, alludes to the feeling of comfort and familiarity.
Soundarya also confesses that being the Type-A person that she is, she goes to great lengths to get the packaging just right. "Sometimes I think I like packing the merchandise more than running the actual business," she jokes and adds, "I even add a little personalised note and put everything together. That's the beauty of small businesses, I don't have an overwhelming number of orders so I can focus on every order. Plus, many of my customers have gotten back to me to say that they enjoyed the process of opening the package.”
The next material Soundarya is planning to target is clay or maybe even her long-time favourite, fabric. "Fabric is something I am familiar with, given my fashion designing background. And clay is something I have always wanted to work with. If it wasn't for the pandemic, I would have learnt it by now," shares the youngster with a smile.
Check ou their Instagram page @papergardenshop