Kirti Basal spends her days surrounded by food. Plates of crispy dosas, fluffy idlis, syrupy gulab jamuns, colourful cupcakes, and of course, the ubiquitous instant noodles abound in her workspace. But where cooks rely on ingredients and kitchen equipment, Kirti uses polymer clay, soft pastels, resin and a set of tools, including a toothbrush for texturing, to create miniatures of popular dishes.
The 30-year-old Bengaluru-based miniature artist, who was earlier in digital marketing, says that she started making these miniatures last year, beginning with one of a dosa. Initially just a hobby, she would post photos of her creations on Twitter. “One day, I posted a photo of a banana leaf meal and it went viral. It got over 11,000 likes and was liked and shared by some celebrities. So, then people motivated me to make my hobby my profession,” she says.
Kirti, who is self-taught, spends about 10 hours a day creating miniatures in her home studio. She says: “The time it takes to create depends on the design and the detailing of the product. Rice dishes take a lot of time; around one or two days. But it takes half an hour to make dosa, idli or vada miniatures.” And as for why she decided on food miniatures, Kirti has a simple answer. “I’m a foodie so making food miniatures makes me happy.”
Talking about her best-selling creation, instant noodles (around 100 sold so far), complete with the packaging, she laughs, “It’s a two-minute recipe for everyone but not for me. It took me around five hours to create one packet and bowl. I roll out the clay as each individual thin strip of noodle. Everything is handmade; I don’t use moulds to make miniatures. I sculpt everything.” And it’s not just the food, Kirti even fashions tiny spoons, forks and plates from clay and resin.
On for what it is about making miniatures that gives her joy, Kirti says: “The effort of making the miniature is all worth it when it reaches the customer and I get that feedback. They appreciate my work and that makes me happy.”
HelloMiniverse products include fridge magnets (₹500), earrings (₹300), and figurines (₹2,500). Prices can vary depending on the design.