For a peek inside color-loving UofL alumna Kaviya Ravi’s crafty talents, people can tune into NBC’s “Making It” summer series.
There the 2012 graduate is creating her heart out with fellow contestants for its “Master Maker” title and a $100,000 prize, which would come in handy for investing in her own store featuring her work and that of other creatives.
Each of the six episodes has themed and timed contests: a three-hour Faster Craft and a longer Master Craft, which will determine weekly winners who earn craft patches and also which contestant goes home. The quirky competition occurs in a supply-stocked barn studio and features two judges plus executive producers, hosts and comedians Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.
In the first episode June 24 of its third season, Ravi crafted a yak pull-toy with layers of textured yarn fur, gold-leafing and a sari blanket for the quicker challenge of making a toy that reveals something about the maker.
The longer challenge focused on techniques or materials meaningful to the contestant in creating a new take on a family portrait. For that one, the Louisville textile artist embroidered, sewed, beaded and stuffed shaped pillows that represented her and her husband, Guru, plus their dogs Zorro and Spock.
Ravi explained to the judges that when she was growing up in India, women were often in the background and encountered many boundaries, which are “out the window now.” She was blessed to marry someone who believed in her artistic dreams, she said, and encouraged her to study what she wanted, even though she had been trained as a biochemist.
“My husband saw in me what I didn’t see in myself,” Ravi said. When they moved to Louisville 15 years ago, he supported her in her quest to pursue her UofL fine arts degree focused on interior architecture.
Ravi works as a window display coordinator for Anthropologie and also has an independent online business, Khromo+philia, offering bright textiles, jewelry and mixed media items with the motto “unapologetically colorful.”
“Making things and creativity bring color to this world, and all of us need color,” she explained on the show.
A co-worked nudged her to consider competing on TV, and she flew to Universal Studios in Los Angeles after she was accepted.
“Until I entered that barn and I started doing my first challenge, it was so surreal,” she told NBC local affiliate WAVE-TV.
“I’m speaking from my own experience (which) might be different for every other Southeast Asian brown woman out there,” she told WAVE. “I don’t see people like me on the DIY-making community stage. It’s so rare. I’m hoping that by seeing me on TV to try, experiment and use those tools to learn, maybe there is another Kaviya that wants to be in the creative field.”
The hourlong “Making It” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m.