“Why does art belong only on a canvas?” questioned architect-turned-artist Rakhi Jha, who always wanted her milieu “to be a setting for blooming flowers in vibrant hues and spectacular compositions as found in nature. Bringing them indoors is my passion.”
With this as her focus, Rakhi set about learning and imbibing the skill of preserving flowers and capturing the life-like forms on furniture and utilitarian items used daily.
“I’m an architect – but at heart, I’ve always been an artist. Having doodled informally during my growing years, architecture seemed the ideal profession. It allowed my creativity to flow through style and design, for I could not imagine life without a form of art,” justifies the 50-year-old about her professional shift.
Fast forward 25 years over many fulfilling projects implemented in New York and in India with renowned architectural firms, Rakhi decided to explore her artistic side further to see where it led her to. “Being zealous about abstract art, bold colours, accent furniture and interior decor, I decided to marry all of them together. This led to my creating my first accent table. Simultaneously, my art brand Mohanima, was established. This is also a marriage of two names Mohan (my dad) + Nima (my mom), both of whom I had lost in the last few years,” she says.
For Rakhi, art has always been therapeutic. The planning, designing and visualisation being as satisfying as the ultimate executing and creation of ‘Functional, Fluid Art’. Here she uses the medium of preserved flowers and epoxy resin, and at times, acrylic paints.
What makes this Gurugram-based artist’s work distinctive is that she is able to preserve and capture memories of occasion-specific floral bouquets into keepsakes. This could range from a birthday or bridal bouquet to a traditional wedding ‘jaimala’ to decorative flowers from a wedding. Or, just a single, long-stemmed Valentine’s Day red rose.
The concept has appealed to numerous clients and pieces have been crafted to individual specifications. Sometimes these are purely decorative – or functional items for the home or even giveaways. Her favourite still continues to be side or occasional tables fashioned with the client’s special floral arrangements.
The procedure involved “designing the table and getting it made by a local artisan with locally available indigenous wood. In the meantime, I go through the meticulous but fulfilling process of preserving the flowers to remove all the moisture from it, yet retaining the colour and form as close to the actual. If the arrangement comprises one species of flowers like the ‘desi gulab’ or hydrangeas, then it is easier as the drying time is the same. A bouquet of varied flowers becomes more challenging as each flower has a different drying time. These are separated and silica gel is used to preserve them. This assures the flowers retain their true three-dimensional form and colour.”
Once dry, Rakhi samples with various floral arrangements on the tabletop. This she says is when she is at her creative best. There are challenges. These include “always keeping in mind that the depth of the flowers which requires being submerged in epoxy resin to give it a ‘flower submerged in water’ effect, means designing the table rim to an appropriate height. The biggest challenge is that when epoxy resin cures and solidifies, it generates heat which could potentially ‘cook’ the flowers even if they are dried and preserved. This entails pouring the resin in several layers. Recently I have started using a special type of resin which cures very slowly, hence producing less heat.”
The durable resin finish is heat resistant to a good degree, allowing a hot cup of coffee to be directly put on the tabletop without damaging it.
“On demand, my portfolio now encompasses wood charcuterie boards and platters, resin coasters, boxes, wall art and my preferred accent tables. Preserving people’s floral memories for posterity still makes my heart go flip flop,” Rakhi signs off.
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Text by Amita Sarwal
Photographs courtesy Mohanima
51 thoughts on “Artist Profile – Rakhi Jha”
Wow Rakhi Jha – beautiful thoughts and works! And beautifully captured by Amita Sarwal!
Thank you so much
Amazing work! Love the vibrancy of the colours used.
Artist, Rakhi Jha’s story is truely inspiring & motivating. Really loved the use of flowers in her art, all pieces looking so vibrant & colourful . Beautifully written piece by Ms Amita Sarwal who has not only introduced us to this wonderful artist but also her amazing art.
Rakhi’s work looks stunning and from the heart!! Such a beautiful concept! Very nice article by Ms Amita Sarwal!
Thank you Surbhi!
What a talented artist. Amazing interview!
Thanks so much
Beautiful art work Rakhee. Love the vibrancy of the bright colours!! Congratulations, you truly are an exceptional artist with an outstanding art work 👏 👏
Thank you Shraddha!
Amazing work Rakhi.Colours are so well preserved unbelievable. And as usual so well captured by Amita
Thank you, appreciate it!
Your work is exquisite, Rakhi, especially the “submerged in water” look is just unbelievable.
Thanks for bringing it out so well, Amita ji!!
Thank you so much!
Wonderfully and well researched article on Rakhee Jha’s beautiful work. Kudos to the gifted writer Amita ji and the artistic and lovely talent of Rakhee!!
Thank you so much!
Have been a long time admirer of rakhi’s artworks. They are so uplifting because of the wonderful play of colors. Amita has beautifully captured the essence of the artist and her works. Good luck to both the ladies.
Thank you Nupoor!
Rakhi’s work is exceptionally beautiful and it is her very charming and graceful personality that comes across in her work which further enhances the beauty of her creations.
Thank you Remi for the encouragement!
Both the creative Rakhi Jha & the great journalist Anita Sarwal.are to be complimented.
Thanks so much!
Awesome! Great interview and and beautiful work
Preserving flowers in a coffee table! What a fantastic idea. The meticulous process…and the tables look fabulous.
A Beautiful article for these gorgeous one of a kind artistic pieces and their wonderful artist/creator. Congratulations!
Stunning work. Can’t wait to display her art in my home!!
Creators imaginations brought alive in all the pieces. Great work , colourful bliss added to utility .keep up
Beautiful art! Congratulations!!!
Nice article and stunning artwork by Rakhi Jha. All the pieces are beautiful and perfect blend of talent and hard work!! Love her accent tables!
Thank you Renu, appreciate it!
Beautiful write up on Rakhi’s amazing work…I’ve been lucky to own one of her peices and it is a work of beauty. Her work and passion are so well captured.
Thanks so much Anjali, I’m glad you are enjoying your piece!
The concept of bringing nature in its originality in our home is beautiful . Nothing can match its beauty and attraction every time one looks at it. Thank you Rakhi and congratulations !! To Amita goes the credit of giving wings to this beautiful concept so well in her article .thanks Amita .
Thank you so much for encouraging!
I have been completely blown away by Rakhi Jha’s work and have had the privilege of watching her work evolve by sheer dedication and passion. Her art is rich in imagination, with each and every piece having its innate energy and beauty. Amita Sarwal has showcased her artistic journey beautifully.
thank you Suchitra for your beautiful words!
Lovely combination of nature and art. All the work has been amazing Rakhi, me and my friends love all the gifts from you.
Amita Sarwal has described the journey and artwork beautifully.
thank you Aparna, so happy to hear you are enjoying your pieces!
Very unique and interesting! Every utility piece is a work of art. Very well conceptualised by Rakhi Jha and nicely captured by Amita Sarwal. Great job!
A spectacular artist whose work truly embodies the beauty, warmth, love and passion of herself. Rakhi’s creations are unique. The pieces speak to you and capture your heart!!
Extremely well written article Amita ji. 👏👏👏
Thank you Simi for the encouragement!
Loved the depth in the bougainvillea table. Loved your idea too.