Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Calling all Gods and Godesses

Chitira Katha means Picture Stories. I my opinion the most impressive stories are often those which come with pictures. Inspired by the mythological picture story books of India, I present Chitira katha - a collection of necklaces and rings that could be a starting point for many a story telling session. Each piece narrates a story from Ramayana, Krishna and shiva puranas concluding with stories about Indian art and culture. These are not just jewelry pieces but stories of India that I hold close to my heart. 
Almost all festivals or functions in India, begin with the taking of names of Gods and Goddesses regardless of the religion.Calling out to the gods, is believed to create an auspicious start. In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha, is the God of beginnings and I pay obeisance to him with this first piece from Chithira Katha

 Ganesha cord necklace - Three different paintings of ganesh with his moushika (Rat) set in resin in round antique bezels on a hand made silk cord in orange and rust.  Length excl pendant -18.5" , pendant drop - 1.25-1.5"

Planetary Ganjifa cord necklace - Unique necklace with images of three benevolent graha or planets - Guru, sukra and Budd to bless you with all good things in life. These images are adapted from Rare ganjifa cards and are is unique due to the fact that the planets are seen riding their respective vahanas or vehicles. Set in resin in round shiny silver bezels these pendants are arranged on a hand made slik cord in maroon and beige. Length excl pendant -18.5" , pendant drop - 1.5"

TriDevi cord necklace - Feminine Shakti displayed through the images of Durga, Lakshmi and saraswati set in resin in round shiny silver bezels. The pendants are glitter with water effect and drop beautifully from a hand made silk cord in pink, orange and brown. Length excl pendant -18.5" , pendant drop - 1.25 -1.5"

Trimurthi cord necklace - Images of the Holy Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and shiva - the creaor, protector and destroyer set in resin in round and tear drop shaped shiny silver bezels on a hand made silk cord in green and beige. Length excl pendant -18.5" , pendant drop - 1.25-1.5"

As you would have noticed all four are handmade cord necklaces made with artificial silk (viscose) thread and further decorated with a thicker polyester cord. These pieces were inspired by the "dollar pendants" sold outside temple. These Dollars (pronounced Dallar) usually have a metal base with an image of a God or goddess in the center covered with glass or resin and could be purposed for a few rupees(or a quarter). These were immensely popular when I was kid  and people would wear them on a black cord or a metal chain around their necks as a talisman for good luck or protection. They slowly dropped out of the scene as a lot of people considered them to be cheap or tacky.

While looking for ideas for this collection, Chithira Katha, I thought, why not bring the dallars back by making them more contemporary and desirable; so here they are.  The first piece is sold, but the other three are available for sale.
I hope to showcase all pieces of this collection and the next one, soon, piece by piece :)

I hope you find it interesting
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Friday, 15 August 2014

We are all Ears - Twined earrings

Here is another quick post showcasing my earrings for the - We are all Ears - August challenge. This month the challenge is to create a pair of earrings inspired by this stunning installation thread art of Gabriel Dawe. Read more about his work here . As his work was centered on exploration of textiles and fibre I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to showcase one of my recent explorations in beads - Leather Art beads.
Yes, you read it right, Leather Art beads and not glass!! I am teaching a class on Leather jewelry to the final years leather design students and was asked to come up with a unique syllabus for the same. As the first lesson, when I suggested that we do leather beads, my seniors were surprised, for the usual leather beads they had seen was just leather wrapped around hollow beads, but I am determined to prove that one can indeed use leather to make mixed media art beads :)
These beads are simple, cylindrical with colored bits of  acrylic yarn - a true interpretation of the inspiration visual and because of their simplicity I thought that they would be the easiet to try as the very first project of the year by my students. I have created an Entire range of beads for the class using a variety of mixed media techniques which I hope to share soon, for your feedback.
For now, here are the earrings I created from these beads - I am calling them "Twined". I think that the earrings are similar but not exactly the same, makes it whimsical - Kind of how the installation is; What do you think?


Inspiration : installation art of Gabriel Dawe
I hope you find it interesting
Please visit all the other particpants blogs to see their beautiful creations. Participant List available at the  Earrings Everyday blog

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Metallic Lace Necklace DIY

Its been quite a while since I shared a tutorial here so I thought of sharing one to Create a stunning and intricate looking metallic necklace using lace and paint. This lace necklace is versatile and can be paired with a tee, shirt or even a saree.
I do admit that this tutorial was written quite some time ago for the Indian edition of a leading international Magazine which was never published as they wanted me to plagarise another blogger's work and I refused and changed the design inorder to make it a little more mine. The magazine then published the plagarised neon lace necklace by crediting it to another local blogger. I then wrote to the other blogger, Alessia of  MatterofStyle who handled the matter with so much grace. I showed her my derivation of her design and she permitted me to post it on my blog whenever I wanted to. But it didnt feel right, so I let it rest for a while And because some time has passed, I would love to share the tutorial with you as it is based on a lace as a follow up of the Haberdashery blog hop held recently

Metallic Lace Necklace

Materials required

Ø    Thick lace in 2 patterns
Ø    silver spray paint
Ø    gold & bronze paints, paint brush
Ø    metal chain, jump rings & a clasp
Ø    fabric glue, scissors
Ø    needle & thread or sewing machine


1.    Snip the lace into smaller pieces that have a distinctive pattern. I decided to go with scrolls and floral patterns
2.    Move the pieces around, until it forms a bib necklace shape and you are happy with the design.
3.    Glue the pieces together


4.    Stitch them together with a hand needle and thread or zigzag on the sewing machine for stability.
5.    Spray paint both sides of the necklace with light silver paint and highlight certain portions with gold and bronze paints to get a dual metallic effect.
6.    connect a chain with a clasp to the lace necklace using jump rings

7.    Glue on rhinestones and add a bead drop for extra panache. Your necklace is ready to be worn. Wear it with tube/ strapless dresses in the summer and turtle neck tees or dark collared shirts in the winter. Enjoy!!

 #TIP: If you want the piece to be stiff (like metal), spray it with some clear acrylic sealant when the paint has dried for atleast 24hrs
See Alessia's Tutorial for a Neon lace necklace here
I hope you find it interesting
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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Happy Rakshabhandan

Rakshabhandan is the Indian festival that celebrates the beautiful bond between brothers and sisters. Raksha means protection and bhandhan means bnod. On this day, sisters tie a string  (Rakhi) on their brothers wrists to remind them of this bond and to seek protection. In return Brothers send gifts to their sisters. It is more of a communal festival than a religious one, and spreads harmony and promotes brotherhood. History has it that the King Porus did not kill Alexander, the Great because the latter’s wife had tied a Rakhi on his hand, prior to the battle, requesting him not to hurt her husband. 
However Rakhis were not always tied by sisters;  Lord Rama wore it on his hand for strength during a battle and Lord Indra's wife tied one on his hands for his victory at Amaravathi.
Though I personally have not celebrated rakshabhandhan in a long time as I a designer I am delighted to create new designs based on this festival. This Year, Rakshabhandhan falls on August 10th.
To celebrate this bond of love, I created 2 new designs in Rakhi - in sterling silver and Gold plated brass. These Rakhis are long (they can be used like wrap around bracelets), are unisex - brothers can tie them to sisters too and the center focals are resuable as charms or as pendants. 

designer gold rakhi

designer sterling silver rakhi

I have kept the threads, simple and colorful as a reminder of the embroidery thread Rakhis my friends and I used to tie in school to our classmates to "keep them from falling in love with us" (lol) and collect chocolates or cash for guys who were sweet enough to give it to us :D
These are on their way to different cities to brothers and sisters who cherish one another. I made a lot of customised cards for Rakhi this year- from both brothers and sisters ( to their respective sisters or sister in laws) to accompany jewelry gifts and will share them soon.
Wishing everyone a very happy Rakshabhandhan!!

I hope you find it interesting

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

The history of Indian Costume Jewelry

I have been very busy with my teaching assignments lately that I havent really had the time to think of or write interesting blog posts. But I have been doing so research on the history of Costume jewelry for my Jewelry design class which I thought I will share with all of you.
If you google history of Costume Jewelry, most articles will claim that  the practise of wearing Costume Jewelry is about 300 years old, which is grave mistake. Maybe there was no organised sector for Costume Jewelry as such before that or maybe it wasnt popular in the western world, but  Bead enthusiasts and archeologists have found beads dating back thousands of years at excavation sites in Asia and Africa.
Indians have had an extremely long affair with Costume Jewelry- It is as old as time and man. Here is my attempt to construct some evidence of the history of Costume Jewelry in India (till the 20th century)

  • Glass beads were freely worn interspersed with pearls and other semi precious stones In the ancient kingdoms
  •  Flower jewelry was in vogue – there are detailed descriptions in Abhijñānaśākuntalam (a well know Sanskrit play by Kavi Kalidasa) about Shakuntala’s flower jewelry
  • Rama Sita and Lakshman are said to worn wooden jewelry and rudraksh beads when on their exile
  • The Stone bead culture is said to have originated in India, though you can hardly find stone beads here today 
  •  Anteater claws and tiger tooth were worn by kings to show off their valour and ivory to show their wealth. In Many Rajasthani tribes, women wore a stack of 52 ivory bangles till their upper arm
  •  amulets were extremely popular  ( The ancient ones were made from natural materials and then slowly transitioned into silver) and were amber beads or Strings of red coral beads – worn to ward off cold and for protection
  • Later times saw Pachikkam in the west  (Uncut precious stones and glass with silver) and Vadassery Kemp (colored glass with gold plated copper or silver) in the south emerging as indigenous India costume jewelry styles, before being influenced by western trend  

  • At Papanaidupet, near Arikamedu Tiny black seed beads were produced for jewelry purposes since 2nd century BC up until a few years ago
  • Sandalwood and rudraksh mala are worn by sadhus and priests till date
  I am sure that if we look into history of any country or civilisation that is older than 1000 years,  we might find, similar examples.  Jewelry from the Middle East and traditional eastern Europe seem to share many commonalities  with Indian Jewelery. I intend to keep this post as an open article, adding ot it whenever I find more time and information. Please contribute to it, if possible.

I hope you find it interesting

Wikimedia commons
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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Haberdashery Hop

As a fashion designer I love using a lot of fabric and sewing supplies (mostly leftover from my apparel design projects) in my jewelry. Regulars at this blog would know how much button jewelry and zipper accessories I have done over the years; so when Melissa Trudinger of Bead Recipes gave a call for a haberdashery blog up I was very excited to sign up. 
But then life interfered with its own set of plans, I had an interview for which I redid my portfolio, attended the lampworking workshop, created pieces for a shoot and was travelling for a week while trying to launch my new collection so I didnt have any time to create the masterpieces I had in mind. 
So here are a couple of quick fix things that I made for the hop. By the way if you are wondering Haberdashery means items sold in a haberdasher's store like buttons, zippers - basically a sewing supplies store. I have never heard it before this hop and was glad to learn about it.


The first is a cuff bracelet inspired by vintage romance. I have never done a vintage looking piece before so it was quite new to me.  The upper transparent wired ribbon has been lined by a beige satin ribbon and folded simply in the ends to finish the bracelet with a simple clasp. The wire in the ribbon helps retain not just the shape, but also the excess ribbon. It sounds like a genius idea now but I thought of it simply as I did not have end clamp of that size - Yes! Necessity indeed is the mother of invention. The focal is a plastic shank button I have been hoarding for the past 10 -15 years and it has some lovely golden flecks on it. I wire wrapped it to the ribbons to set it and embellished it with a looped pearl chain to hide the wire.

After making it, I felt that it was very simple and not fit for a hop, but I really didnt have the time to sew anything fabulous together. So as I was putting this cuff away with a heavy heart, my eyes fell on these fabric beads I created for another project but never completely used them. So I decided to turn this UFO into a wearable beauty - A cluster bead fabric bracelet.

There are 4 types of fabrics used here - Brown and ochre -Artificial Tussar, Mustard - Jute silk, Light pink - tissue and neon pink - Chenille Georgette. Did you notice how shiny some of the beads are ? That is because I made them with pearls inside instead of the regular plastic beads used in making fabric beads. I stitched up the individual beds with sewing thread and attached a simple clasp with jump rings as I personally dont prefer complicated clasps. I finally added a MOP button as a charm just for fun. The result bracelet is fun, chunky and extremely light.
I dont normally make bracelets and the very few I make are very experimental so I either keep or gift them - I guess I will keep this one.

Thats it for now guys, Hopefully tomorrow being sunday I would find some time to hop and visit all the wonderful bead bloggers and see their beautiful creations. Do join me in my journey
I hope you Find it interesting

List of other participants

Melissa Trudinger                                           http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Ann Schroeder                                                 http://www.beadlove.wordpress.com
Tammy Adams                                                http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog.html
Amanda Wacasey                                           http://mandyinmystic.blogspot.com
Dolores Raml                                                   http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com 
Michelle McCarthy                                         http://www.fireflydesignstudio.BlogSpot.com
DiYana Brooks                                                 http://agapecreationsjewelry.blogspot.com/
Robin Kae Reed                                               http://willowdragon.blogspot.com
Andrea Glick                                                    http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
Karin Grosset Grange                                     http://ginkgoetcoquelicot.blogspot.fr
Mitzie Crider                                                    http://needfulluxuries.blogspot.com
Janine Lucas                                                    http://www.esfera.me/travel/blog/travel-stories
Rosantia Petkova                                           http://bairozan.blogspot.com/
Susan Kennedy                                                http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Leithleach Alainn Seodra                http://alainnjewelry.wordpress.com/
Kathleen Breeding                                          http://99bobotw.blogspot.com/
Shiraz Biggie                                                    http://secretsongdesigns.blogspot.com
Chris Eisenberg                                               http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com
Heather Richter                                              http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com/
Lennis Carrier                                                  http://www.windbent.net/
Rebecca Anderson                                         http://www.songbeads.blogspot.com
Jenny Kyrlach                                                   http://anafiassa.blogspot.com
Rita Toltec Jewels                                          http://www.JewelSchoolFriends.com
Mischelle Fanucci                                           http://www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Karen Mitchell                                                 http://overthemoon-design.com
Carol Briody                                                     http://Cbriody.blogspot.com
Karla Morgan                                                  http://TexasPepperJams.blogspot.com
Carolyn Lawson                                              http://Carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Lori Anderson                                                  http://www.prettythingsblog.com/
Lili Krist                                                             http://pcbylik.blogspot.com/
Laney Mead                                                     http://laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk/
Evelyn Shelby                                                   http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/
Raissa de Guzman                                          http://www.abloro.com
Niky Sayers                                                      http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Keren Panthaki                                                http://vasdea.wordpress.com

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Art bead scene july challenge

ABS has this fantastic mermaid, under the sea inspiration for their July Challenge and I was hoping that I could make something out of glass in my lampworking class for the challenge.
As you might had read in my last post, I struggled quite a lot with fire, literally burning a hole through my skirt ( and my skin in this process) and my thoughts being scattered all over the place as I was working on another project while planning a work-cation so I ended up without a mermaid inspired piece :(
While we were making the pieces, some of the participants came up with this idea of coloring our glass doodles with glass paints and alcohol inks. Our instructor asked us to try and I went one step further and used patina inks on glass.
The result is a oozy-doozy slighly opaque and textural to touch piece that looks like a fantasy piece which I thought resembled the polyps at the left bottom of this picture. So here it is my totally experimental handmade glass bead necklace. Lampworking veterans please excuse me as this is my first attempt as lampworking.

  sous la mer necklace 

 Sous la mer means under the sea in French. I was inspired by the tentacles and polyps in the visual to create the focal beads using clear borosilicate glass tubes which I have then colored with alcohol and patina inks giving a combination of opaque and transparent feeling to the piece. The focal is strung on to a fish scale finish silver leather cord (pointing to the shimmery scales of the mermaid) wrapped in a satin ribbon and accented with milky beads and chain. I used the muddy yellow, green and blue colors on the focal and I picked the pinkish red color from the picture (not in the palette) as my accents as I thought that the reds given as too strong for the design.


The Little Mermaid, 1911 by Edmund Dulac
Making the necklace took just a few minutes but I had great trouble photographing this piece. Yes! it does look much better in person :)  It has too many transparent portions and shimmery components that almost all the pictures I took look heavily posterized. I think I really have to learn to shoot such surfaces.

I hope you find it interesting

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Friday, 25 July 2014

How I Made a glass focal

Recently Dakshin Chitra hosted a lampwork workshop by the famous Glass artist Mr. Srinivasa Raghavan and I somehow fought with my schedule to find time to take up a class. I had seen his demos atleast thrice in the past and he works with glass as though it was clay. Sorry strike that, I find it very hard to work with clay so the correct comparison would be to fabric.
For the last one year or so trends indicate that jewellers are starting to make their own components but going beyond metal and wire to work with either ceramics or glass. I was really hoping that this year I would somehow contact a ceramic artist and maybe develop some pedants or focals or I didnt think that I could learn to work with glass. The 11/2 day session with Mr..Raghavan changed my perspective.

 He did demos of simple objects which he thought we could replicate and then went on to wow us with his sea horses and swans. Once we got over the the initial fear (of handling molten glass and staring into fire) glass was pretty fun to work with. It will bubble and flow like water. Ofcourse what was simple to him was hard for us, so we all abandoned the idea of replicating his designs and just tried to work with glass organically producing whatever shapes we fancied.

Pieces created by Mr. Raghavan

Our Instructor was a glass sculptor so he wanted us to try focals or minis without mandrels or presses rather than beads but on my request he showed us how to make a flat disc bead.
Take a look at this demo video, where he makes a couple of glass disc beads in seconds. He makes it look so easy, but believe me, it isnt. As he says,  It is in the cooling as much as the heating something that we will understand only after years of practise.

We did focals with borosilicate glass tubes rather than beads and trying to make the loop was the hardest part, as it would break while turning or we would mush up the focal by over heating it. The most frustrating part of the whole process is seeing your pieces fall off the table and break as you are gathering them. After working with (read staring into) fire for a session (which was 15-20 minutes), It was difficult to see anything and people looked as though they had giant blobs of red and yellow colors on their faces. All of us were literally in tears with watery eyes and had throbbing headaches. I then realised how hard my dad has worked his entire life. Being an electrode and welding developer and engineer he has supervised welding all his life and even does so now at 65 something that is possible only when you are passionate about what you do.

Here are some of my creations. I sincerely hope that my lampworking friends and artists who read this blog arent offended by my crude attempts. Its not possible to even understand the medium in 2 days but it was an opportunity to learn about the effort that went into creating glass beads or components. Please pardon my bad photography, I am running on a crazy schedule here and this is all I could manage.
Day 1 Experiments - making small leaf charms and bar focals. All The other pieces I made on the first day broke :( The second is an experimental piece using the doodling technique I made on the second day, which I colored. Please come back here again next week to see what I finally did with it
Day 2 Experiments: I tried a leaf, tendril,flowers - color inclusion and focal with initials - D on one side for Divya and S on the other for Sayuri. The Last one is a Roman tendril inspired bohemian piece and it still needs a lot of work.

I do not know when next I would get an opportunity to work with glass, but If I do get one I am going to grab on to it and practise as much as possible.

I hope you find it interesting

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Jewels of Sayuri


Creative Commons License
Tutorials listed under Sayuri TM by Divya N are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Jewelry designs of Divya N (for Sayuri) are copyrightedMore