My name is Rajan Koshy and I am a leaf artist. I lived in the beautiful Galveston island for the last 40 years. Practiced nursing for 35 years, retired and involved full time with the passion of my life rice straw art. The first half of my life I practiced saving human life and the second half I am trying to nurse the dying ancient leaf art, the rice straw art.I am trying to Preserve, Protect and promote this ancient leaf art from extinction. At present there are only few artists (Less than 100 rice straw artists) around the world. I believe I am the only one practicing this ancient leaf art in USA. About the leaf art. Rice straw (Leaves of the rice plant) art is an ancient art form which developed before our existing knowledge of color application became known to man. The art consists of using the natural colors and hues (Light yellow to dark brown) of the rice plant to forma straw collages of unsurpassed beauty. No color, paint or dye is added to the natural color of the dried leaves of the rice plant. This unique art form is on the list of endangered art and only a few people in the whole world knows this artistic procedure. All the tools for this art are also from the nature like glue is gum Arabic, sap from a tree and primitive tools like double edged razor blade or any sharp stone to cut and shape the leaf. Rice straw art was practiced by artists in Kerala, southern tip of India , where it originated centuries ago and stayed in the family, handed over from father to son. In recent years not too many sons are willing to learn this time consuming, tedious art and find other better paying jobs. I knew about this art and enjoyed the beauty and uniqueness of this art while growing up in Kerala. But only after immigrating to USA about 35 years ago I went back and studied this leaf art. On my vacation I went and stayed with the master artists and spent many countless hours learning this art. Then I opened up a FREE museum in Galveston and now on the internet to introduce this ancient leaf art to America and the world. Apart from creating leaf art, what do you do? I enjoy the morning walk on the sands of the beach and evening stroll with my beautiful wife for the last 40 years on the longest sea wall in USA. We like to believe that the United States of America starts from the beautiful beaches of Galveston, Texas. After the walk we go to the gym and do work out for an hour to keep up the shape and stay healthy. Please describe your creative process. I go and collect the dried leaves of the rice plant from Alvin and Winnie Texas, the rice capital of the world. I select and separate the different colors and shades of the rice straw. The unique aspect of rice straw art is we do not add any color, dye or paint to the natural colors of the rice straw. I flatten the rice straw using a primitive tool and apply the glue on one side of the leaf and put in place and cut it with a double edged razor blade. The glue I use is called gum Arabic and it is sap from a tree. All the items used in this leaf art is natural things used by the artists centuries ago. (Different colored leaves of the rice plant, sap from a tree called gum Arabic, a natural glue, sharp primitive tool to flatten rice straw, double edged razor blade or any sharp stone to cut the leaves etc) The creative process continues the same way it was practiced in the past and creating beautiful pieces of art like sail ships, birds, buildings, animals, people etc. This ancient and endangered leaf art is our heritage from the past and need to be saved from extinction. That is the reason I am trying to preserve, promote and protect this beautiful art from extinction. Handmade possession do you cherish? I have a rice straw art of the Last supper created by my master Guru Victor about forty years ago. The faces of Jesus and his disciples with the expression created by Leonardo Da Vinci is clearly visible on this rice straw art rendition. I framed it and kept it as my most valuable piece of my art collection. What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see? I enjoy seeing the member created Treasuries and occasionally featuring my handmade items on these treasuries. I also like the activity, your circle etc. I am amazed by new features almost. How do you promote your work?. At present I don’t have much time to promote my work but involved in creating new art works. I am thinking about social networking like starting a blog, facebook page, tweet etc but I need some help in doing that. By trial and error I will find the right niche blog for advertising and marketing of my leaf art. In ten years, where would you like to be? I hope to increase awareness in this beautiful, ancient leaf art by promoting, protecting and preserving rice straw art. I hope more people will be interested to learn this unique leaf art and it will be saved from extinction.
email: rkoshy9622 [at] aol [dot] com
1214 church st