Published: 09th July 2020
This mother-daughter duo is making lip-smacking food with just clay and creativity!
Sudha and Neha Chandranarayanan are creating clay miniatures of all your favourite dishes as fridge magnets and keychains
Imagine if the food inside your fridge was also stuck on the door. Confused? Well, that’s exactly what Chennai-based mother-daughter duo Sudha and Neha Chandranarayanan want you to see. The creators of Cn Arts Creations makes food-inspired fridge magnets and keychains out of clay that look oh so delectable and lifelike. Head to their Instagram page @cnarts_miniatures and feast your eyes on an array of dishes ranging from North Indian to South Indian and from Italian to Chinese that are just 5 cm in size on an average.
It all started two years ago for Sudha, a mother of two, when she decided to give her daughter a clay dosa platter on her eighteenth birthday. “My daughter is a foodie. When I gifted her the clay dosa platter and she loved it, we decided to create more such dishes with clay,” says Sudha, who has been working with clay for over 15 years. “Prior to the food miniatures, I was making flowers, bonsais, succulents with clay and have also conducted workshops,” she adds. Clay modelling was a hobby for Sudha and she never sold any of her previous pieces. But it was only when her daughter — a Computer Science Engineering student at Chennai's SRM Institute of Science and Technology — also began showing interest that they decided to turn it into an online business. “Neha picked up clay modelling as well and we collaborated to create an array of miniatures,” Sudha says.
Neha and Sudha Chandranarayanan
Their Instagram page, which was only created earlier this year, has almost 1,800 followers. Speaking about how they create these lifelike miniatures, Sudha says, “We refer to the dish in front of us or to pictures of them online. Then, we roll out every element of the dish, from the smallest grains of rice to the plate at the bottom, with clay. While it may look complicated, we only use air dry clay, paint and some basic modelling tools.” What was initially appreciated by only their family and friends, has now reached a global customer base. “We have shipped our miniatures to Singapore, Malaysia and even the USA. While a lot of clay food miniatures have been made by foreign artists, hardly anyone has created ones based on Indian food,” says the 50-year-old.
Sudha feels that it is people’s love for food that makes these miniatures so popular. “The right shape, texture and colour goes a long way in making it realistic. We focus on these aspects. The process involves trial and error and we have to keep at it till it looks right,” explains Sudha about how their miniatures look so realistic. “We never make it at one go. We start with the base, which is usually the plate, and then, the cups and bowls are made. Finally, we create the dish itself to place on top, arrange all the elements and shape them to make it all look real. A water-resistant coat is added in the end,” says Sudha.
Sudha and her family, originally from Tiruchirapalli, have been living in Chennai for the past seven years. “We have lived in Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. We have been exposed to both North Indian and South Indian food and that has helped us create more realistic versions of such dishes with clay,” says Sudha.
Some of their other creations: