Life beyond advertising: Agnisha Ghosh

('Life beyond advertising' is a weekly feature, where we feature advertising's interesting people; people who do crazy, creative things after working hours. We try and understand their passion and drive for what they do, what makes them tick and what it takes to wear multiple hats.

If you pursue a passion despite having a full-time job at an agency, we would love to speak to you. Do drop us a mail at

This week, we feature Agnisha Ghosh, group account manager at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide and a self-taught quilling, decoupageand glass painting artist. Firstbiz spoke to Ghosh where she revealed her journey with craft, her inspirations, her favourite quilling artists and why she would never take up her passion fulltime.

Ghosh works with Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

Ghosh works with Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

How did you start off on the quilling, glass painting and decoupage journey as an artist?

I have been dabbling with craft since I was very young. But my inclination towards quilling and decoupage came about a couple of years back, when I was gifted a beginner's kit. I was amazed at the beautiful designs in it and wondered how it was possible to make them with thin strips of paper. Obviously I had to find out for myself. Next came looking up and reading about quilling, and before I knew it, I was absorbed.

Ever had thoughts of taking this up full time?

I really don't think I want to. I have a very satisfying job that matches the education that I have worked hard to get. I look at my creativity as a means of relaxation. If I have a bad day at work, I know I have my art to come back to. But if my art becomes my livelihood, then what do I do on those bad days? I get requests to teach beginners, which I am open to. But that is as far as I am willing to go!

Where do you get the drive to pursue a hobby that requires a lot of patience, energy and time, especially with a full-time job?

You have a whole design in your head each time you begin quilling a new piece. You also know that it has the capability of being a beautiful, physical piece of art and the only thing getting in the way of that is no push from you. That is my motivation. I keep chanting 'Just another hour. Just some time more. You will finish soon' in my head to keep going, sometimes. But my passion is simply a way of escaping the madness and drudgery of a routine.

What is your favourite part of what you do?

The shopping for craft material is easily one of my favourite things. Apart from that, I love how everything I read, see around me inspires me. The fact that I make things that I can gift to people is another aspect I love; the joy of gifting handmade things will never go out of fashion. But perhaps the biggest joy I get out of my art is singlehandedly creating something new from scratch. And of course there is the appreciation I receive from friends and family, the minute I post something on my Facebook page!

If there was one reason you'd turn your back to quilling what would it be?

The mess gets to me sometimes. When you work with paper it is bound to be on your person, all over the house, on the bed, under the table, everywhere! But that is a part and parcel of having a hobby like this, I guess.

What is the one piece of your art you love the most? And if you had to part with it, who would you give it to?

The butterfly is one of my most favourites pieces. I want to put it up in my new house and it is not going to anyone! I have been obsessed with butterflies ever since I was a child; even today I keep doodling them. It took me a lot of time to make it, with its intricate pattern and the mirror image.


But if I absolutely had to give it up, I would give it to my parents, so it stays within the family and I can see it often.

Favourite artists whose work you follow?

When it comes to typography quilling, I follow Yulia Brodskaya, a Russian artist. She is almost an inspiration to quillers all over the world. Then there is Ada, who specializes in floral and nature-related quilling. And another favourite quiller is Manuela Kosch.

How do you balance work, your hobby and your personal life?

I get this question a lot. I avoid wasting time as much as possible. I try and read as much as I can, but spending too much time watching TV and social media are a waste in my opinion. I would rather spend all that time and more creating art which I see as a personal achievement. There are some days when work is hectic and I don't get time to quill for a whole week. But being away for that long kills me. Also, I think it is easier to maintain the balance when you have a supportive husband.

How has your pursuing your passion helped you as a person? Were you a different person before you began quilling?

It has helped in more ways than one. Firstly, it has made me very patient. When you work by yourself, you can't vent out at anyone else for your mistakes; that helps you calm down. Secondly, my aesthetic sense has sharpened considerably; I have a better understanding of colours and shapes now, which helps me think better when I am looking at a piece of work my creative team at work has made. I find my feedback to them being more valuable. It earns me respect among my peers.

Glimpses of Ghosh's work



A quilled mask

A quilled mask

Typographically quilled 'Zara'

Typographically quilled 'Zara'

Published Date: Apr 23, 2014 05:36 pm | Updated Date: Apr 23, 2014 05:36 pm