Meet Rehana Badat from the new DIY series ”˜Making it Australia’

By Neeru Saluja

Have you been finding solace in crafting during the lockdown? Do you like to sew, saw, sequin or sculpt? Then get ready to meet your makers on Channel 10’s epic new crafting and DIY series, Making It Australia.

We got talking to one of the makers Rehana Badat, a graphic designer from Sydney with an Indian and South African background. When Rehana is not working as a graphic designer, she’s whipping up cakes, painting, crocheting, paper craft and making fabulously creative earrings.

”˜Making it Australia’ is a new DIY series for Australians, tell us a bit about the show and how did you come to know about it?

The show is absolutely amazing. When I first heard about it, I saw it as a MasterChef with more craft supplies. The show has it’s own challenges, but by the end of the day we all are just trying to create something beautiful. I saw a link on Facebook and one of my friends tagged me and said this show is totally for me! I didn’t expect to go all through.

In your introduction, you mention that your love of craft comes from your siblings. Where do you get your creativity from?

I am the second daughter in an Indian South African family with 7 kids. As you can imagine, my mum always had her hands full! A lot of the times keeping the kids entertained became the responsibility of me and my elder sister. I learnt knitting, quilling and how to arrange flowers from my sister. It would be my Barbie doll’s birthday, and we had to make party invites and the barbie doll had to have a special dress!

I belong to a family of crafty women. All my aunts, mum, my grandmums, we are all crafty. All my aunts are accomplished seamstresses. When my parents migrated to Australia, my mum studied to become a pastry chef. My dad found an industrial oven and my mum used to make these amazing cakes, pastries, tarts and my parents were always entertaining. Therefore creating, crafting and cooking was always in my blood.

What were the challenges you faced on the show and how was the camaraderie with the contestants?

All my fellow makers are like family to me. When you first apply for these shows, they tell you it’s a competition and you start strategizing your win. But when I met the other contestants I realised it doesn’t feel like a competition, it feels like a group of friends coming together and creating something beautiful. We would teach other skills and everyone was really helpful.

The challenge was telling my own story. As a graphic designer, I have always told my client’s story. I finally got the chance to tell my story, show what I make and represent my beautiful culture.

Will we see a lot of your Indian and South African heritage in the show?

It is so hard not to be Indian! My heritage is a huge aspect of my identity. You will see mehndi, bright colours, a lot of my South African heritage and aspects of every Indian growing up in Australia.

Suppose you are on a holiday, what are the five basic tools you will carry along to create a crafty item?

The five basic tools a crafty person will carry with them will be a sketch book, a marker, a cutting tool, glue gun and double sided tape. All you need on top of this is your phone.  You can be inspired by designs you see on Pinterest.

Since COVID has hit us, we have seen many people picking up the art of craft. Has it changed you and how will the audience perceive this show?

You are right that everyone suddenly has more time to become crafty. I think it’s a beautiful thing. A lot of times people are afraid to start making things, the thing about lockdown is we are trapped in our own houses and have no choice but to become crafty. People are going to love this show and get inspired. Anyone can pick up a glue gun and become crafty, you don’t have to be an expert or specially trained. You have to be willing to take risks and let your imagination run wild.

Your creativity comes out in so many forms ”“ you can paint, quill, bake ridiculous cake, create wild jewellery. What craft do you enjoy the most and what is your favourite medium to work with?

My favourite medium is crochet. It’s such a versatile art and you can give it away. When the show asked me to show examples of my art, I found it quite hard as I normally give my creations to people whom I care for and who have inspired me to create the artwork. Crochet is so functional, you can make hats, beanies, sweaters and when people wear it they think about you. Regarding mediums, currently I’m enjoying acrylic. I’ve bought myself a laser cutter that allows me to cut acrylic really quickly. It’s another versatile medium that you can cut and bend into different forms. You can make it look like metal, glass or stone, the possibilities are endless!

Do you think craft is an expensive hobby and how can craft lovers make the best of creating stuff within a reasonable budget?

Crafting does not have to be expensive at all. My motto is to buy the cheap tool first and if it breaks buy the expensive tool. Hit up Facebook, GumTree and get your tools second hand. You don’t need any formal training.

Do you have any advice for the budding artists who will be reading this interview and watching you on the show?

Don’t be afraid to try things and add your creations online. Don’t be afraid of doing things wrong as there is absolutely no way of doing craft wrong. If you enjoy doing it, you are not wasting your time. You are creating something beautiful and telling your story.

Premiering Wednesday, 15 September at 7.30pm on Channel 10, the top Makers will need to saw, sequin, and sculpt their way through a series of challenges for their shot at the $100,000 grand prize and title of Master Maker.

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