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Behind The Design: Whirl & Whittle

Explore the artisan journey of Pooja Pawaskar, the creative force behind Whirl & Whittle. From her early inspirations in Mumbai to her passion for embracing the beauty of imperfections in...

From the vibrant streets of Mumbai to the tranquil corners of Canada, Pooja Pawaskar's journey is a tapestry of memories, experiences, and a deep-rooted passion for craftsmanship. As the visionary behind Whirl & Whittle, Pooja doesn't just create; she tells stories. Each piece, whether carved from wood or molded from clay, is a reflection of her philosophy: to find beauty in imperfection, to see stories in scars. Her childhood memories, filled with the meticulous sounds of her grandfather's carpentry, have deeply influenced her approach to design. But it's not just about the art; it's about the heart. Pooja's creations are a celebration of the unique, the unrefined, and the extraordinary tales that lie within the ordinary.

Dive into the world of Whirl & Whittle, and discover the soulful narratives that Pooja weaves into every creation. Join us on this intimate journey 'Behind The Design', as we uncover the essence of Pooja Pawaskar's artistry.

Can you share a little about your initial inspiration for your designs featured in our collection?


Certainly. The inspiration for my designs in this collection originates from a profound connection to the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, a concept deeply rooted in celebrating the inherent beauty of imperfection and the transient nature of existence. I'm genuinely captivated by the notion that what we often perceive as flaws in materials such as wood and stone are not mere imperfections to be concealed but rather unique qualities, like whispered stories waiting to be heard. It's a journey of finding the extraordinary within the ordinary, recognizing beauty in the raw and unrefined.

How did your idea evolve from the initial concept to the final design?


The journey from concept to the final design is a dynamic and organic one. It usually begins with the material itself – a piece of wood with intricate knots or grains or a stone with unique markings. As I work with these materials, the design process becomes a collaboration between me and the inherent character of the material. I sculpt, shape, and often allow the material to guide the process, resulting in a final design that feels like a beautiful dialogue between nature and artistry.

Are there any particular cultural, historical, or personal elements that influence your work?


My Indian heritage plays a significant role in my work. The rich cultural tapestry of India, where beauty is found in diversity, resonates deeply with me. It's also a personal journey; my experiences as a woman of color have shaped my perspective, driving me to celebrate uniqueness.

Could you describe the process of creating one of your designs?


Creating one of my designs is a multi-faceted journey. It starts with selecting the material, often embracing its imperfections. Then, it's a meticulous process of sculpting, carving, and shaping, all while respecting the material's inherent beauty. Each design has its own story, and I aim to let it shine.

What does your workspace look like, and how does it influence your work?


My workspace is, in many ways, a sanctuary of creativity. It's filled with the materials that inspire me – from beautifully aged wood to carefully chosen stones. The tools I use to shape and craft my designs are carefully organized. The workspace exudes a sense of peaceful energy, mirroring the serenity of nature itself. This environment plays a significant role in my work, fostering a deep connection with my craft and enabling me to bring out the best in each piece.

“I design pieces that tell human stories: stories about impermanence, scarring, fleeting moments, and imperfections. I believe my work has the ability to assist people in coming to terms with these aspects of our existence.”

Pooja Pawaskar

What were some challenges you encountered during the design and creation process?


Working with unconventional materials, like spalted wood, can be unpredictable. The challenges lie in finding the balance between preserving the material's natural quirks and crafting a functional piece. It's a delicate dance that sometimes requires adjustments along the way.

How does the environment and sustainability factor into your work?


Sustainability is at the heart of my artistic practice. I'm proud to say that approximately 80% of the wood I use comes from locally felled trees, a conscious choice that not only minimizes waste but also aligns perfectly with the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi. It's about breathing new life into materials that others might consider imperfect, turning them into beautiful and meaningful art pieces.

What do you hope customers will experience or feel when they bring your designs into their home?


I hope that when customers bring my designs into their homes, they feel a strong connection with the material and the journey it represents. I want them to appreciate the uniqueness of each piece, imperfections and all.


My ultimate goal is to inspire self-acceptance and self-love through my creations. I hope that interacting with my designs reminds them of the beauty in their own imperfections and unique life stories. It's about creating an authentic, warm, and inspiring atmosphere that extends beyond the art itself, resonating in the hearts and lives of those who welcome my pieces into their homes.

How do you see your designs interacting with the other elements in a home?


My designs are incredibly versatile and have the ability to harmonize with various interior styles. They bring a touch of natural authenticity to a space, creating a connection to the raw and organic beauty of the materials. They can serve as bold statement pieces that draw the eye or blend seamlessly with other elements in a home, adding a subtle yet meaningful, layer of character and uniqueness.

Can you share a personal anecdote or a surprising fact related to your design process or your journey as a designer?


Certainly! One surprising and deeply insightful aspect of my journey as a designer is that some of my most cherished creations were born out of what others might consider mistakes. There was an instance where I accidentally cracked a piece of wood while working on a design. Instead of seeing it as a setback, I embraced the imperfection and transformed it into a centerpiece of a collection. This experience taught me a profound lesson: that even in apparent flaws, there is a unique and beautiful story waiting to be told. It's a reminder that, much like my art, our lives are filled with unexpected twists and turns that can lead to unexpected beauty if we're open to seeing it.

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