Meet the Maker: Ngqiqo and Aditi – Umthi

Recycled handicrafts, Found object creations, and Natural Jewellery. In a nutshell, that’s Umthi for you. You are invited to get to know Umthi better.

Recycled handicrafts, Found object creations, and Natural Jewellery. In a nutshell, that’s Umthi for you. Umthi is based out of Himachal Pradesh. It was founded by Ngqiqo and Aditi. In this blog, you are invited to get to know Umthi better. Welcome.    

What were you doing before you started doing this?

Before we started Umthi, I was printing clothes and working with grassroots social movements to better lives in sustainable ways.

Why did you choose to do what you do?

We find beauty in natural forms: in seeds, wood, and roots! We also are inspired by traditional crafts from the global south, and try and infuse our creativity into these. At the same time, our art is inspired by ghetto and township life in cities. We make art with recycled objects such as beer cans, pieces of wood, sack, etc. We like the contrast between natural forms and also the possibilities that waste materials/scraps give us for recycling and being creative.

African Seed And Wood Dolls - Showpiece

African Seed And Wood Dolls – Showpiece

We are fascinated by names. What’s the story behind your brand name?

Umthi means tree in isiXhosa language of South Africa

Which are your best selling products?

We are yet to make a sale on Engrave. However, in small flea markets our avocado seed pendants, seed earrings, beer can town-ship art does well.

What kind of people do you create your products for?

The jewellery is perfect for hippie, boho, and nature loving people. The dolls, township art, and imigongo (cow dung art) is perfect for people who would like a unique yet simple piece of art work in their homes.

What are the challenges you face in connection with achieving your goals?

The main challenge is to make people appreciate all the hard hard work that goes into making handicrafts. These days there are many industrially produced goods that sell for cheaper, and people rarely stop to see the handiwork that goes into making crafts.

Where do you see your brand three years from now?

We hope to make many more sales and even work more on conceptualising, creating, and delivering customised orders.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

Digging the soil in some way or the other! Or maybe hanging out with goats, sheep and dogs!


Visit the Umthi Shop on

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.


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