A feast for the eyes
Saiju P Simon’s miniature art is mouth-watering. From Kerala cuisines to gourmet dishes, she crafts them all into miniature wonders
Picture this. A scrumptious feast of Pathiri and full chicken sits tucked well on a platter, ready to be munched down. Then there is the gulab jamun that looks delectable floating in sugar syrup. Mulaku baji rests on a piece of paper drenched in oil, just like your favourite tea shop. But these aren’t the preparations of a chef, rather the work of a 20-year-old artist.
Saiju P Simon creates a miniature world where food is scaled down to a tiny fraction of its original counterpart. Her brand Chachz World is all about such mouth-watering miniature wonders. Saiju scales down gourmet spreads with cuisines from around the world into a minuscule size. It all started during the lockdown when she took up clay to pass time. The self-taught artist was always into painting and bottle art, but now she has turned to polymer clay.
It were her brothers who first suggested that she try creating clay art. Her artistic journey soon turned into a business venture. What began with a miniature Dosa has grown and broken many boundaries of culinary delights. “At first, I thought of making around 100 Kerala food items using clay. But then orders started coming in and I have never been able to complete it,” says Saiju, a native of Chalissery in Palakkad. An ITI civil engineering graduate, Saiju loves designing new things. It was love towards the art of making and building things that got her hooked onto the miniature clay art.
For her, the main focus is ensuring that the work is as realistic as possible. With heavy detailing, she ensures that the food miniatures she creates are exact replicas of the delicious platefuls. Her miniature artworks come either as fridge magnets, key holders, or key chain holders.
“My focus is to make my art as enticing and as appetising as it would look in real life. You may not be able to eat it but it should look appealing. Perfection is key,” says Saiju. She prepares garnishes such as lime, onion, coriander leaves and so on in advance to ease the work, just like in a restaurant. “Those are all stocked up here. So I can use them readily,” chuckles Saiju.
According to her, working in the miniature world demands a lot of patience and focus. “It is a lot of strain to the eyes. You have to focus a lot. But I am highly passionate about it and the end product makes up for all the effort,” says Saiju, who is striving towards achieving a few world records.