My name is Meena Kumar and I am the artist behind SwirlyGarden. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of creative energy so this shop has given me the best of both worlds. I once had a job and a lifestyle that didn’t allow much room for art or creativity in my life and honestly, it made me cranky. I guess you could say that making art an integral part of my life is a favor I did not only for myself but also for everyone around me. I feel so fortunate that it is starting to really take off. Each time I paint a wine glass, coffee mug, platter, etc.. I get giddy just picturing it at a couple’s wedding, a mom’s birthday, or at someone’s dinner table, as a part of a very special moment or celebration. I feel like I am vicariously traveling the world through my art pieces which just makes what I do even more amazing.
How did you start hand painting dinnerware?
My creative energy is very restless so it’s hard for me to just stick to one thing. Needless to say, I get very distracted at arts and craft stores. I’ll stop in hoping to just grab a packet of rhinestones and will end up spending hours browsing all the different materials and mediums while conjuring up the possibilities (should I start making bird houses? painting shoes? knitting?) That’s how I stumbled upon glassware paint a couple of years ago. I didn’t even know it was out there and when I happened to find it, I realized I could turn my art into functional dinnerware. I started experimenting with different types of glassware paint and it took me almost a year to discover my personal style and niche, which I’m still exploring today.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Nostalgia, nature, romance, the general feeling of love, cultures around the world, and fashion have all partnered up with my quirky sensibility that have resulted in my designs. Some of my best ideas will also just pop into my head out of the blue when I’m half asleep or in la la land during the day. I keep a notepad and pen under my pillow and in my purse at all times for moments like these.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not creating?
I enjoy cooking and baking (okay, I guess that’s still creating) and I really enjoy eating. I stay pretty active with running, yoga and swimming. I’m addicted to traveling and am currently trying to learn to speak Korean. I like to read and am also a bit of a movie geek. I hope to take up piano in the near future too. Really, I aspire to be somewhat of a renaissance woman… either that or I have creative ADHD. To let loose a little, I enjoy sangrias, fresh mojitos with friends, listening to rock and techno music, and retail therapy (though not always at the same time).