From Depression to Colourtales | Changed Swati’s Life

Depression to Profession: Here’s How Art Changed Swati’s Life

From Depression to Colourtales: Here’s How Art Changed Swati’s Life

India is a country with numerous art forms that have cultural and regional significance. Art gives us space and freedom to express ourselves.

Swati, the founder of Thecolourtales, revealed how art helped her come out of depression.

The tragedy of her mother’s demise created a void in her life that propelled her to search for something to fill that void.

This is when Swati’s childhood interest in art led her to express herself through shapes and colors that filled her life with joy again.

Depression to Profession: Here’s How Art Changed Swati’s Life

She established her brand Thecolourtales in 2018 and since then she has been delivering happiness in the form of art. Apart from selling her art, she organizes workshops to coach others for the greater good.

Swati proudly believes that people are returning to Indian handicrafts now and #VocalforLocal campaign is an encouraging step towards a self-reliant India.

Read her complete interview to know how she transformed her Depression into Profession, how she plans to promote the local culture of Uttarakhand through her brand, and her message for the readers of DehradunTales.


FULL INTERVIEW – From Depression to Colourtales | Changed Swati’s Life

Q. Tell us about Thecolourtales and how it came into existence?

I was inclined towards art, drawing, and painting since I was a child. Initially, I didn’t think it would go somewhere. I just did it as a hobby.

Due to time constraints, I could not pursue it in college life. After college, I started working in ICICI bank and life took its course.

Meanwhile, a tragedy happened in my life: my mother passed away. It gradually created a void in my life, and I succumbed to depression. I started to search for something to fill that void. This is when my passion for art came into the picture.

I started to make dot mandala drawings and embroidery to keep myself away from negative thoughts. My canvas and colors used to bring me relaxation.

I started making a lot of art pieces regularly and a lot of people appreciated my creations. I also got married around that time to an army officer after which I moved to Hyderabad.

Depression to Profession

There, I met a prospective client who suggested me to create a brand for my artwork. Since she was into marketing, she also suggested me to create an Instagram page.

I wasn’t so sure about it and I told her that I just did such drawings to break free from a bad mood. Still, she was kind enough to help me create a page because she believed this talent could really amount to something big.

I have my friends and family to thank for motivating me without whom I could not have even thought of starting my own brand.

Finally, after being on board with the idea, I started making more art pieces. I also held a workshop to teach embroidery and other forms. For a beginner like me, it was a shock that around 20 people attended that workshop.

This is how Thecolourtales came into being in 2018.

Q. Can you tell us about your artwork and what kind of products do you make?

I started with embroidery, then created dot Mandala drawings, and then delved into the Decoupage Technique which you will find in many of my art pieces.

A dot mandala drawing (or painting) symbolizes the universe. It includes a circular symmetrical design with repetitions of patterns which creates an illusion of motion. It is made by drawing (or painting) dots of different sizes with different shades of colors to create shapes and patterns.

Let me explain how I started working on Decoupage. My husband is in the Indian Army, so we used to have a lot of parties at home. We had many spare wine and beer bottles lying around which I loved to decorate. I searched how to decorate bottles on YouTube and came across this technique.

It is a French technique that includes decorating an object such as boxes, furniture, utensils, etc. with paint and paper cut-outs or special tissues called ‘German’ tissues which we can paste with the help of glue making many layers.

In this, every layer is wrapped with paints and coated until it starts looking like a part of the object. I started with bottles and then teapots and other objects. Not just glass, but we can do it on steel or other bases as well.

These are the main artwork techniques that I work with.

Most of my pieces are customized according to the need of the customers. People share their ideas, themes, occasions, or pictures that I can customize in my products.

My product line as of now includes handcrafted Kettles, wallets, cushions, wall hoops, wall plates, bottles, bags, pouches, passport sleeves, etc.

Q. What do you think your brand stands for or represents?

As I talked about my depression earlier, I believe that art is something that can help people not only grow as a person but also come out of a negative lifestyle. I used to feel so much better once I started drawing.

Moreover, I would say that whenever I take a workshop, many people enjoy it, but only a few show enough interest to continue learning dot mandala, embroidery or decoupage.

I met one such lady who continued learning this for a year. I was told by her daughter that her mom was depressed for a long time and learning this form of art really helped her cope with such problems.

This is what I believe we stand for; not just selling products and earning money, but also to help others. 

We continually pay attention to our physical health, but seldom do we think about what’s going on inside the head. We must focus on mental health.

“Someone may look great on the outside, but you never know what’s happening to them on the inside.”

Art is a brilliant form of meditation as we are completely and solely focused on the art that we are indulged in. It is also a great medium to express oneself.

My objective is to help people bring that peace within themselves with the help of some form of art.

Q. What kind of workshops have you held online? How has it been different from offline workshops?

I have held workshops for Dot Mandala art and Decoupage art workshops online which have been great.

I have not held an online embroidery workshop yet as it is practically challenging to demonstrate the method online. However, under the given circumstances of the pandemic, I am planning to organize an online workshop for embroidery as well.

The response to online workshops has been better than expected. In the offline mode, we can surely engage with people better, but the benefit of an online workshop is that people can join from anywhere and everywhere in the country.

I held many workshops when I as in Hyderabad. Now, I am in Dehradun, but I don’t have to worry about people from Hyderabad missing out on my workshops since they are online.

The turnout has been amazing! So, in a way, it’s even better than offline workshops.

Q. Is handicraft a financially viable option? How is the response from the market?

I am getting a great response from the market and it is financially better than my banking job. Surely, I enjoyed my job in the bank as well. But there is nothing better than doing what you really love and turn it into a full-fledged career.

Most of the products I make are home décor products and they are trending in the market. I have collaborated with certain home décor enthusiasts on Instagram who advise on how to decorate your home.

Q. What marketing strategy do you have in order to approach customers?

We have a website, and an Instagram handle named the-color tales for the marketing of products and reaching potential customers.

These customers help in expanding the brand and reaching more people through mouth publicity. There are no other marketing strategies as of now.

Q. Are the products offered in specific regions or on the pan-India level?

The products are sold all over the country. We are not shipping out of India as of now.  I have held exhibitions where foreign nationals do buy the products as memento and souvenirs.

Q. Are the products offered in specific regions or on the pan-India level?

The products are sold all over the country. We are not shipping out of India as of now.  I have held exhibitions where foreign nationals do buy the products as memento and souvenirs.

Q. How has Covid-19 affected your business?

Shockingly, the pandemic has not affected the brand much. I was getting orders regularly during the lockdown as well.

Even though it was a challenge to ship the products, the customers were patient enough to wait for the lockdown to end to receive the products.

Q. Do your art pieces represent the culture of Uttarakhand? If yes, how is the response from the state government?

My work includes all sorts of designs as of now. Soon, I am planning to create Uttarakhand specific themes. For example, I have thought of creating a doll through embroidery, representing the local culture.

As I said earlier, I am planning to employ a few people to work for my brand. For that, I would like to impart my techniques to the local women that will reinforce the regional themes into the products. It will help me raise a cause to avail of support from the government. 

Q. How has the #VocalforLocal campaign helped the brand?

Well, to be honest, everyone was aware of local brands trying to make it big for a long time. I remember when I was young, my father used to say that we should buy from local brands to help them make their living.

So, yes, people were always aware. But this movement has surely provided the required momentum.

Moreover, it has inspired the new and young entrepreneurs to start their own brands who were afraid of the existing big ones.

Q. Do you think the local art and handicraft are losing their charm in the modern era?

Quite the contrary actually! I think there was a time we were influenced by the west in terms of clothes, art, and other things but times are changing.

We are now appreciating and valuing our indigenous culture, tradition, and art. Handcrafted items such as soaps, beauty products, usage of traditional clothes like silk, etc. are coming back into usage.

I believe India will surely become self-reliant soon.

Q. Where do you see ‘Thecolourtales’ ten years down the line?

This brand has achieved more than what I expected in just a matter of one year. In the near future, I plan to establish it into a large-scale brand.

I wish to add many more varieties of products and organize many workshops to impart techniques to other people as well. 

Q. Your message to the readers of DehradunTales?

First, ask yourself: What’s my strength? Whatever comes to your mind, is your personal calling, and you should work on it.

For me, the tragedy of my mother’s demise pushed me into depression. But I turned towards art which was my strength that helped me come out of despair and set up the brand.

Most importantly, this is nothing that you can gather from outside. It must come from within. Find out what you like, what you are good at, and then find all the possible ways to do it.  There are, not one, but many ways to do something once we put our minds into it.

I would say it, especially for women that doing nothing can cause mental blockage to your creative abilities. It’s not about earning; finding your identity and proving yourself is paramount. Money and fame automatically follow.

Depression to Profession: Here’s How Art Changed Swati’s Life

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