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The Art of Miniature Carving On Chalk

Art and creation has intrigued and fascinated me since my childhood days. As a child, I would gather all my stationery and doodle random things, colour them and unleash my imagination. I had never thought my creativity could go beyond a sheet of paper and few colours, but creativity never fails to surprise you!

On a random day in school, during a free class hour, bored and restless, I just picked up a blackboard chalk and started fidgeting with it. With less idea of how to pass my time, somehow, I ended up engraving my name on the chalk piece with a thumb pin. And in that very moment, my imagination took off the runway of my thoughts and opened gates for greater possibilities. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on more chalk pieces and explore every idea that crossed my mind.

The soft nature of chalk makes it seem an easy job to carve, but the same poses great difficulty in the process of carving. Due to the soft nature of chalk, it tends to break at the slightest bit of extra pressure. The chalk dust from all the chiselling, scratching and filing spreads all around the place and the person around to end up in a continuous cycle of sneezing. The chemical composition (consisting largely of Calcium Carbonate) of the material also poses other problems – continuous exposure leads to skin dryness, hardened or even chapped skin if proper care isn’t taken. But despite all these factors, one must not let go of something that keeps you going. It has been six years since I started miniature carving, and I do try to take out time from my studies to create miniatures.

Eventually, in the process of creating miniatures out of chalk, I started experimentation with carvings on other materials as well. This talent enabled me to further explore my creative spirit, paving ways towards a plethora of endless possibilities. This finally inspired me to choose a career in the field of Art and Design.

Despite the difficulties brought about the COVID-19 Lockdown, it gave me enough and the perfect time to explore my imagination, thus bringing life to my ideas. I took into the process of carving an entire set of Black and White Armies from chalk pieces; only to realise it wasn’t as easy a job as the thought of.

The task to make each piece identical was tedious and involved a lot of care while the application of pressure on the soft chalk pieces. The whole process was made up of many repeated attempts till the time when one almost feels like giving up.

In totality, this whole journey of creating the chess was nothing less than a roller coaster ride. Although it took me more than 20 days to achieve the entire set along with the chequered board, these days helped me grow as an artist, thus motivating me even more.

I believe art continues to teach you throughout your life. It doesn’t matter what kind of an artist you are, art will continue to inspire you, motivate you and most importantly, art will continue to teach you something new every time you push yourself a little more for something that keeps you going!

A resident of Chandigarh, Avani Sharma (21) is a final year student of Bachelor of Design, at NIFT Gandhinagar.

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