Udaipur-man Harsh Vardhan Chhajed is a painter, sculptor and craftsman has developed a unique talent of being able to carve drawings and paintings out of Sea Froth.
Sea Froth is made of Magnesium carbonate and Calcium. It has a hard shell and softer insides. The insides of sea froth were used for cleaning windows of heritage buildings.
70 yr old Harsh Vardhan has spent pretty much his entire life mastering this art. He picked up this unique skill at the age of 13 and has never looked back. He says that they used to have Sea Froth in their house for cleaning and he started playing around with it for passing his time. The delicate nature of this material is what attracted him the most in picking up and pursuing this art form.
Harsh maintains that he is a self taught man and had no one to teach this art form. He started making smaller models in early days and then graduated to making bigger and more complex and intricate models. Starting with 1-2 inch art forms, he went on to make panels as big as 6-7 feet using Sea Froth. Even the tools that he uses to mould the Sea Froth are all self made.
Harsh maintains that this material is extremely delicate and requires a lot of care else the art work breaks very easily. He says that when he is doing very minute work, there is a possibility that the art work may break even from his breathing out air at the wrong time. Because of this delicate nature, he says that there have been times when a particular art work has taken him more than a year to make.
His art work is so unique that a scholar from Indore ended up doing his Ph.D. on Harsh’s art form.
Harsh has been awarded National Award for the same and his admirers include Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.