Kusum D'Sa: Creating wonders with unique hobby

Florine Roche

Mangaluru, Jan 25: People often take to hobbies to avoid boredom and enjoy life. But what if our usual hobbies turn out to be bores or you don’t really enjoy indulging in it? With stress becoming an integral part of our lives in today’s competitive world we need a refreshing break that comes with pursuing a hobby. May be it is time to try out a new hobby which can relaxing, distressing, enjoyable, challenging with a novelty factor to it and with loads of fun.

That is what Kusum D’Sa did. She decided to take a sabbatical from her hectic job in the academic field to give more time to her college going children six months ago. She channelized her creative impulses when she felt that she had lot of time at her disposal after finishing her household and regular chores. So she took to newspaper weaving as a hobby and in the process learnt everything from scratch to creative some attractive and colourful newspaper baskets and artefacts.

The life of a daily newspaper is relatively short. Once we are done with it occupies a corner of our homes with an occasional use for cleaning a glass or spread on floor when the house gets painted. Otherwise the heap usually makes way to the raddiwala once a while during the cleaning spree. Just think what it would be like to recycle the newspapers by transforming it something, chic, solid and sturdy storage items like paper baskets, flower holders, boxes, chests or other artefacts. They can be fashionable and can add beauty and grandeur to your homes while giving vent to your creativity and ward off boredom.

Once at home she decided to divert her energies to get away from mundane and ended up in the wonderful world of artefacts made by weaving newspapers using little bit of creativity and oodles of patience. Even before she could realise Kusum was experimenting and weaving colourful baskets, trays, boxes, holders, lamp shades and other multi use end-products of varied shapes, size and colours.

Initially it was more of a trial and error method and the appearances of the designs had a jagged look. But within no time she was getting control over the shapes, designs and appearance of the product she was intending to make. “If you ask me how I got into it I really don’t have an answer. But I have been spending a lot of time and energy in making a variety of designs and crafts from different kinds of newspapers and even magazines. It is a hobby which keeps me hooked, is sheer fun and is an easy craft for any age group” she says with a grin even as she proudly shows me the attractive white swan she has made which serves as her paper holder.

Kusum did not have any formal training in the craft but did self-learning through internet. As a child she was good and evinced keen interest in painting, drawing and craft and that helped her quickly grasp the nuances of newspaper weaving. It is quite simple she tells me and demonstrates how she rolls newspapers into tubes that form the basic material required for weaving.

She cuts a newspaper vertically and uses a broom stick to place it on the cut paper in an angle and roll them tightly into tubes that become longer than the sheet of paper. She uses a drop of glue at the corner as she finishes rolling to hold the roll together. Plenty of paper tubes are required to make a basket. Once she has lot of tubes she is ready to weave the product. A cardboard can be used as a base or even the hard cover of the note books of children can form the base. The required number of tubes depending on the size of the basket is then glued to the base which is then covered with another cardboard piece to keep the paper tubes firm between them. Then the tubes are weaved into whatever she intends to do. Once the weaving is complete she slides the end of the tube into another to convert it into a long tube. This process is repeated till the whole basket is weaved.

Kusum has experimented with different weaves, shapes, sizes and designs. She also had to try-out a lot on the paints used to give a glossy and attractive look to the final products. “The biggest challenge was to zero in on the right kind of paint to use on the newspaper tubes. I had to keep experimenting and that entailed numerous visits to different hardware shops”, she explains. Finally she settled for wall paints used for painting walls and is happy about the result.

For a more colourful look the tubes can be painted by immersing them enblock in colour and then use the coloured tubes for weaving depending on the colour combination required. There is also the option of painting the end product once the weaving is complete. Paper baskets can also double up as unique gifts items for those who fancy being trendy and different.

Kusum now plans to come out with items she can use in the kitchen for various uses. She also plans to make Christmas or baskets. She also mulls making a Christmas tree by recycling newspapers. So for next Easter, Deepavali or Christmas we can expect some stylish custom made newspaper baskets for those who want to give gifts to their loved ones along with the basket to make it more memorable.

“My basic idea is not just to have eye-candy items but products that are beautiful, functional and environment friendly. Giving gifts in these baskets or trays will have a personal touch to it and will also be functional”, she avers.

Though her family is not able to help her much in terms of rendering a helping hand they all support her and tolerate the mess that comes with the hobby. She says her husband Dr Alwyn D’sa who is the Dean of Humanities at St Aloysius College Mangalore has been very supportive of her hobby. He even helped arrange a workshop-cum-exhibition at Aloysius College to demonstrate the art of newspaper weaving.


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Comment on this article

  • b k rao, Mangluru

    Fri, Jan 30 2015

    When I was in Ghana I saw something similar. an NGO selling bags made out of plastic trash.

    The shop was appropriately called "trashy Bags"

    I appreciate Mrs Kusum for pioneering this art and hobby.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse Agree [1]

  • Praveen Kumar, Udupi

    Wed, Jan 28 2015

    Kusum mam super..

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse Agree [1]

  • cyril mathias, udupi

    Tue, Jan 27 2015

    very creative and innovative.congrats

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse Agree

  • Fr Alphonse , Mangalore

    Mon, Jan 26 2015

    Ms Kusum and Dr Alwyn, congratulations. I have personally seen the wonderful art. We can draw inspiration from such creative works. Keep going. God bless you and your family.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse Agree [1]

  • Benson Fernandes, Udupi/Bahrain

    Mon, Jan 26 2015

    Awesome work,Dedication & passion can create wonders! Proud of you Ma'am!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse Agree [1]

  • sharlet mathias, mangalore

    Mon, Jan 26 2015

    Kusum, Beautiful Creative Art Keep It Up Good Job............. God Bless May I Join You ??

    DisAgree [4] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse Agree [1]

  • Mildred, Bantwal

    Mon, Jan 26 2015

    Very creative and good inspiration to home makers like me.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse Agree [4]

  • Subrahmanya, Mangalore/Muscat

    Mon, Jan 26 2015

    Dear Kusum,
    Congratulations. Keep it up. I 'm sure soon you can start a big venture and provide jobs for many.

    best regards

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  • fr. Juze Vaz svd, Uppinakote/Indore

    Mon, Jan 26 2015

    creative and excellent

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse Agree

  • Vincent Alva, Pamboor

    Mon, Jan 26 2015

    This is something out of the world. Awesome Kusum. Very inspiring.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse Agree [1]

  • Vishal , Puttur

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    all the best. Keep it up.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse Agree [2]

  • Dr.Flosy Dsouza, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Awesome creativity. Please send me your contact number.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse Agree [3]


    Sun, Jan 25 2015



    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse Agree [2]

  • Joel D'sa, Moodubelle, Bahrain

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Dear Kusum great going, caught up to almost perfection in few months. You were good at teaching and management, now you are very good at this unique art,Congrats for encouraging others with this unique hobby, hope many will be taking up few other hobbies they are good at to beat the boredom in life. hats off to you, and good wishes for the future.
    joel d'sa

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  • Fr. Melwin Pinto S.J. , Mangalore, Rome

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Dear Kusum, ...this is indeed very inspiring...! I wish many more would take a cue from you to really take time out of their busy schedules and give expression to the creative genius in them... May God bless you and make you a great source of inspiration for others...

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse Agree

  • Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston/Dallas, Texas

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Good job and creative job, dear Kusum. These kind of hobbies need to be encouraged in India in every sector of our communities so that women as well as men, young or old, can devote so much of their time and talents and provide interesting life for our vibrant society.

    There is so much to be created in our very neighborhood so that people can demonstrate their ideas and talents for the betterment of our families, our neighbors and our friends. Not only the money and ideas get into circulation but also enables people to get together for a common cause of sharing their thoughts and desires and make the society a better place.

    Different seasons in India can promote different activities that could also generate so many charitable and educational programs so that the society works together and helps one another.

    Thank you, Ms. Florine Roche, for your continuous gift of uplifting people of all backgrounds and talents. Keep up the good work. You are truly an asset for our community.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse Agree

  • Dr. Kusum D'sa, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Thank you so much for your appreciation. I learnt this from internet and there are plenty of videos available. A weaver named Elena has made it easy through her videos. When you come down to your hometown assuming you are from DK, do write to me at drkusumster@gmail.com it is difficult to teach through writings.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse Agree

  • MYB, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    yes indeed, it is unique. keep it up.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse Agree

  • Ninoshka, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Dear Kusum,Good going all the Best to you.
    Most of the time children show a lot of creativity and talent. But what is put in our minds that we have to concentrate on studies and not put in our minds into other things like music, art, painting, crafts.. its a very sad thing that is told that "oh a person cannot live on this income. use your mind to do better in studies and that will help you for your future.
    I was a lovely artist and painter but somehow this talent has died n me as I am now caught up in a 9-5 desk job and even if i get time to relax there are other responsibilities that need more of my time.
    The only reason I am happy is I have allowed my kids to grow in their talent for music and art and I see my second self in them.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse Agree [3]

  • joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    What a good hobby. What a good way to spend time usefully.

    A good way to get away from routine and use God Given talent for a purpose.

    Congrats to Kusum on her initiative.


    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse Agree [3]

  • Suleman Byari, Udupi

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Beautiful creative art,environment friendly...good job.. best of luck.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse Agree [3]

  • Harina, Dubai

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Dear Ms. Kusum, Well Done,I was really happy to see someone who has used creativity to transform throw away things to attractive & usable one. I'm a Housewife with 2 school going kids , spend lot of time doing nothing at home. I was really impressed to see your art. We daily order newspaper here & every 2 or 3 days it get piled up & end in the dust bin.Can you guide me how to start with making these things so that i can spent my time doing some creative things. Hats off to you Maam. Looking forward to hear reply from you.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse Agree [8]

  • Dr. Kusum D'sa, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Thank you so much for your appreciation. I learnt this from internet and there are plenty of videos available. A weaver named Elena has made it easy through her videos. When you come down to your hometown assuming you are from DK, do write to me at drkusumster@gmail.com it is difficult to teach through writings.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse Agree [1]


    Sun, Jan 25 2015

    Nice Job.From Wastage To Wonder...

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse Agree [7]

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