Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ravi Verma Revisited

Regular readers of this blog or followers of Sayuri would know of the original chithiram collection and my association with Raja Ravi Verma's paintings. when I was gearing up for this edition collection, I conducted a poll on FB asking people what they wanted to see in the new line. A lot of them, requested Ravi Verma inspired pieces and so I decided to deviate a bit from my theme and include them. Here are the two designs

Damayanthi, was a princess of the Vidarbha kindgom and  legendary beauty who fell in love with King Nala, an intelligent, handsome and brave warrior by hearing swans talk about him. Nala fell in love with damayanthi the same way too. (Another instance of Purva raga) But the gods would have nothing of it and goad Nala into convincing Damanyanthi to forget him and choose one of the other Gods as her partner, at which he fails. Even when all the Gods are disguised as Nala, She picks Nala correctly and marries him. After a few years of blissful life, one day, due to a curse, Nala looses everything in a gamble, runs away, abandons his wife and gets poisoned and becomes a dwarf. How Nala and Damayanthi fight against all odds to come together and find each other, forms the rest of the story of NalaCharitram. (history of Nala)

My Damayanthi necklace, shows Damayanthi talking to a swan in a painting by Raja Ravi Verma. I have made it as a Glass pendant  and set it in shiny silver bezel. The necklace has fabric beads to make it more exotic.. The chain closes with a novelty red and blue toggle clasp. Length excl pendant -22" , pendant drop - 2.5".

The next one is based on the painting called, Here comes papa. It shows a young mother with a child on her waist, waiting for her husband to come home. Ravi Verma's painitngs give incredible details about textiles and jewelry and in this painting, you can see the sheerness of the muslin and the gold thread weaving used in the Malayalee Mundu or the mundum-neriyathum worn by women from Kerala. I got to see many of his originals paintings very recently during my trip to Vadodara. The fashion designer in me, was in the seventh heaven there, trying to figure out the probable weaves and fibres used to create textiles those days.

Source - Wikicommons

Here comes papa  Necklace- A painting of Raja Ravi verma decoupaged on an painted upcycled sunglasses lens, bordered with rhinestones. Polished glass beads, crystals, safety pins and novelty leaf clasp complete the necklace. Length excl pendant -21" , pendant - 2.75"

So how do you like these pieces? They both are available for sale
Will get back with the pieces created based on mythological characters later this week
Till then

I hope you find it interesting

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

I am a Bead Star

The Bead Star 2014 Winners have been announced!

and the short story is -  I won!!

Okay, its only honourable mention, but still its big for me.

 So here is the long story
In one of the beading daily newsletters I came across an ad for the  Bead Star contest. I was in two minds - On one hand I really wanted to participate and on the other I was unsure - of many things. Which category to choose, Will I find the time to work on it, will I be able to make a product that is (well) finished enough for an international jury and then the usual entrance fee question - is it worth paying??
Thankfully the fee wasnt too high, but like most Indians I tend to think of $15 as not 15 dollars but 930 rupees. So I had just one thought in my mind - "If I pay the fees and enter, I should win; so I have to make sure that I win by making the best possible design in the  available time frame, with the resources at hand".
After much deliberation I settled on the metal work category and decided to do form folding and  flame painting :D why ? one reason I am absolutely crazy :D At that time I had done metal work for less than 6 months and this piece combined a lot of cutting and form folding with flame painting and patina. Two - I was planning for a metal jewelry workshop on similar lines and felt that I could figure it out.

Design - Concept

My design - exotic copper blossoms is based on a simple concept of a child's curiosity - why cannot a flower be in green color? Why should a flower be in orange or red color and a leaf in green and how will nature appear if the colors are interchanged. So here my leaves are in red-rust (excepting the clasp) and the flowers are green. I guess this is to be expected from a person who drew blue and red cats in kindergarten and was told that I cannot draw :D
There are 4 main components on the metal side and each  of these components are layered. The green thingies are form folded brass discs with patina inks. There is no base plate and they are all joined using cold connection technique of wire wrapping.
I had a number of challenges with this piece - the chief being materials. While  I was sure of my base material - copper, I wasnt sure of the accompanying materials. I wanted to pick something that was considered serious and good enough by an American jury at the same time have an Indian touch to speak about my roots. I finally settled on picking meenakari beads and faux polki focals that I found at a local store and chain that I had. (Thankfully these guys dont ask for a resource list!!).  Its another story that I then ran out of copper sheet half way through the project, so I had to pay double the amount to get it from a local artisan. And dont even get me started on the invisible wire wrapping, Phew!! Finally I finished it and sent pics and waited with a baited breadth - For Months!!

And then on one blessed June evening, Debbie Blair mailed me saying that my Exotic Copper Blossoms, has been selected by their panel of judges as an honorable mention. This means that it will be featured in the October/November issue of Beadwork magazine (will be available on news stands on September 16th). Along with other winning entries it was publicly announced and put on display at Bead Fest Philadelphia 2014

Special Thanks to Megan Lenhausen for sending me this picture of the actual bead star display
 I understand that honourable mention isnt necessarily a prize, and there is no physical prize involved either apart from a publication, but I felt that it was besides the point. For so long I had wanted to attend a bead fest, any bead fest, especially Philadelphia, which I cannot afford to attend as a tourist without a sponsor and neither will I get a Visa to sell or teach. So my Design being exhibited there is prize enough for me at this stage.
Right now I am eagerly awaiting the September issue of the Beadwork magazine to reach me, so that I can see my design in print.
The next step - is to work harder and keep entering as many challenges and contests as possible. Till then  Do take a look at all the winners work at the beading daily blog here

I hope you find it interesting

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Three Handmade jewelry trends for AW14-15

My friends from the non- fashion, non design background often wonder how trends can be predicted in advance. They are shocked when I tell that when all the stores in the market are filled with a particular style - then it means that its popularity is declining and it is no longer in trend. Jewelry trends, like fashion trends can be predicted atleast an year or 2 in advance by studying the current market, socio - political- economic world conditions and works of independent designers. During the recent BSBP blog hop, I discovered a few major trends that are currently in and some that are emerging in the works of nearly 500 designers. Combining them with market trends and new developments here are Three major Handmade jewelry trends I think will be big in AW14-15 and continue well onto SS15. 

Three Handmade jewelry trends for AW14-15

Silk Ribbons

Silk ribbons, Shibori or saree ribbon - any and every kind of  silkish ribbon is in and if its oriental/Asian bonus points to you. So what can you do with ribbon?  wrap it, knit it, string with it or even embroider or paint - There are numerous possibilities when you play with fabric.

Three Handmade jewelry trends for AW14-15

Silk Ribbon
1.      Nan Smith – Nanmade Jewelry
2.      Sheila Daniels  Cheeky Magpie
3.      Audrey Belanger- Toki No Hourousha
4.      Joan Williams lilrubyjewelry
5.      Susan McClelland       Miss the word
6.      Susannah Lehto – Othel Lehto


  Tassels & Fringes

If you thought that tassels and fringes were only meant for cowboys (girls) or hippies, then you are wrong. Tassels and fringes are the component watchwords in this neo bohemian world as they lend a lot movement and panache elevating designs from 2D to 3D and beyond. As a designer, the possibilities are endless and materials such as beads, leather, fabric scraps and chain can be used to create fantastic tassels
Three Handmade jewelry trends for AW14-15 tassles
Tassles & Fringes
 1.      Annica Larsson   Zesty frog
2.      Hannah Rosner   goodrivergallery
3.      Erin Prais-Hintz Tesori Trovati
4.      Marcia Dunne   - the alternate foundry
5.      Heather Ritcher - Desertjewelrydesigns
6.      Lilik Kristiani – Personal Collection


Pretty in Purple

This is a no brainer - Radiant orchid being the color of the year - Purple and its familiar cousins were to be seen almost everywhere. Here are a few Purple pieces that stole my heart

Handmade jewelry trends for AW14-15 radiant orchid
Pretty in Purple

1.      Emma Todd   A polymer penchant
2.      Toltec jewels
3.      Kumi Fisher
4.      Jo Ann – It’s a beadiful creation
5.      Corrie Williams – The Cedar Beader

I am sorry if this post sounds outdated, I wrote it a couple of months back and somehow got lost in my post list. I have tried to link to the blogs and respective BSBP posts of the artists, please point out if I have missed a name/blog. There were numerous other artists who worked with similar materials along these lines you can find their work at the BSBP Pinterest board

These are not the only trends that surfaced from the blog hop - the other trends are - Macrame and knotting, Totems and the use of art beads or artist/self made beads

I hope to write more about them in the future. Till then what do you think of these trends? Will you or do you use them in your work as a jewelry artists? What are the other trends that you think that might work for in SS15

Do not forget to read the fun summary Linda did of the BSBP 

I hope you find it interesting
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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Why You Should Buy Handmade Jewellery

Why should we buy handmade  products, particularly handmade Jewelry? Or why do we buy them? Is it because we want to own customised or niche products, or do we want to promote crafts as an industry? Is it because handmade is "in"?  Neena of  Caprilicious Jewellery , a NRI who has had a long love affair with jewellery, is here with us JewelsofSayuri to talk about her passion for jewelry and all things handmade. She understands that women need a varied diet of jewelry to match their moods, just the one style simply wouldn't do. 
Over to you Neena....

.... I am passionate about handmade. I buy, make, sell and wear handmade jewelry. People often look at the price and ask why each piece is more expensive than something they can buy in a large department store, or something produced en masse in a factory in the Far East, and why I bother to make jewelry in the first place. This post attempts to answer these questions.

 I come from a fairly conservative Indian family in Bangalore, where the word jewelry is synonymous with gold and precious stones - I was allowed to buy silver bits and bobs by my mother as a young girl. She thought they were junk - and now I want to make jewelry out of polymer clay, which, let’s face it is a kind of plastic (shock, horror!!), wire, resin, sari fibres, and all sorts of found objects - nothing is rejected and everything is grist to my mill. My poor mother is finding my new found passion very difficult to understand

I noticed one girl at my last exhibition in Bangalore - she came with her mother in law who asked in a stage whisper - ‘Is this silver?? Then why is it so expensive’??
In actual fact, my prices are not high - but the perception is that it is not gold jewelry, so one should pay junk prices for it.

Each piece I make is about the time and effort that goes into it, it is about the skills I spend hours acquiring and honing, the magic that is sparked by my imagination without me being aware of when This generation of contemporary women are used to buying gold and silver, but are now coming over the idea of buying other stuff too, as long as it is stylish and how it happens, the love and care I take to ensure that the piece fits right, sits right and makes you look stylish and cool in your piece of one-of- a- kind jewellery. I have had to learn to take good pictures, IT skills to write and update my website, to engage with social media, and to write a weekly blog which is a dynamic and growing online history of my development as a jewellery designer/maker and a portfolio of my work. And this is all once I come home from my day job as a gynaecologist.

Buying handmade is a celebration of a community that puts a lot of love and effort into producing what is to us our ‘progeny’  - it is fabulous when you ‘like’ our photographs on Facebook - but when someone pays us the huge compliment of actually liking a product enough to put money down for it - that is the ultimate, fantastic buzz, and that’s what keeps us doing what we do best to make you happy - a win win situation! 
Each piece is different, as unique as you who wear it, and me, the maker, and nobody else will have one. Handmade ensures that prices are not artificially lowered by bulk buying and scrimping by using cheap raw materials. Bargain priced mass produced goods are more likely to be cheap tat that has a very short life span.
Giving a handmade gift to your loved ones shows that you cared enough to have spent time on picking out a gift as individual as they are.
Your piece of handmade jewelry glows with the positive energy from the love that has been put into making it - a gift from the ‘handmade’ community to you.

About the Author

1-DSC_5041-001-1 copy.jpgNeena Shilvock is a Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist by day and jewelry maker by night from Warwickshire (UK). She set up Caprilicious Jewellery ( Delicious Jewellery For The Capricious Woman) three years ago and her aim is to bring handmade statement fusion jewellery  with a multitude of styles (one simply wouldn't do!) that is affordable, contemporary, and cosmopolitan to her clients and to have a lot of fun while doing so. You can find her on Facebook too at Caprilicious Jewellery
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Monday, 1 September 2014

Hare Krishna - Iskcon Inspiration

 As a child my grandmother and mother would tell me a lot of mythological stories, which gave me a great understanding of not just Bhakthi (devotion) and Bhava (emotion) but also helped me understand the richness of Indian Culture and traditions. As a result, I became very interested in mythology, spirituality and would often read books that were far beyond my years, participate in discourses and take part in religious competitions. That is how I came across ISKCON when I was 9-10 years old during their annual competitions for children.
Iskcon is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and is usually called the Hare Krishna movement outside India. It is focused on Lord Krishna and the principles and beliefs are slightly different from the common Hinduism ideals.ISKCON is not just a Bhakthi movement in my opinion but also an art movement in its entirety.
When Swami Prabhupada first brought the Krishna tradition in the west, he introduced Kirtan or singing and chanting of the Lord's name accompanied by various music instruments. This dynamic musical expression was often accompanied my ecstatic dancing and led to flourishing of various traditional dance styles in India and abroad.
Their Temples are great examples of Neo vedic architecture and have a unique style of their own. Their interiors are often covered by beautiful paintings by ISKCON artists depicting Vrindhavan and mathura in vivid colors. I had posted about the design I created inspired by one such painting in my Purva Raga - my country blog hop post 
Purva Raga
 My mom, a Krishna devotee, has been collecting their paintings in the form of postcards or posters for many years now and I finally put them to use in 2011 by making a calendar for her. When I made my Chithiram collection in FW 12-13, a client wanted me to make something based on Iskcon paintings and the first Radha Madhav necklace was born. Looking back, it was very amatuerish as I used a store bought base, created a collage of paintings and covered it with resin.

So When I started work on my Chithira Katha collection, I was reminded of this calendar and thought of making a range of pieces inspired by paintings. Here they are

Raasleela - Durbar
Multi color Looped bead necklace in red, green, blue and yellow. With Krishna durbar chain framed  pendant in 32g brass handcut sheet with resin finish and  bead danglers. Length excl pendant -24" , pendant drop - 3" earrings- simple beaded - Available for sale

Raasleela - Radha entertaining krishna with music.
A necklace of clear glass beads in blue, green, pink. Pendant is 32g brass handcut sheet with chain framed decoupaged image with resin finish . Length excl pendant -23.5" , pendant drop - 3" with simple beaded earrings- Available for sale

 Rasaleela in technicolor
 enamelled kitschy pendant of radha & krishna enjoying a beautiful evening. The necklace has hollow beads stuffed in fabric and tied with matching thread and is further embellished by garnet colored glass beads Length excl pendant -20" , pendant drop - 2"- Available for sale

Radha Madhav bib necklace
Handformed necklace in 32g copper with a collage of Radhamadhav postcards. The bib have been colored in patina inks, studded with rhinestones and filled with resin. Looped garnet glass beads and golden crystals form the necklace, Total length - 25"
This is the same Radha Madhav necklace done after 1.5 years - even  I am amazed at the finish and the number of techniques used in it - Handforming, patina, resin, stonework, beading :) This only goes to show that practice and perseverance can help you achieve anything that you want. Isnt that true? If only my students could understand that!!

So what do you think of these pieces? More importantly how crucial do you think it is to teach kids/younger generation about their culture, traditions and practices? when I meet people who are clueless about their culture, I feel sorry for them, at the same time I am thankful for my upbringing.
I know a lot of people who shy away from reaching their religious or cultural practices to their children as they fear that it might make them narrow minded. If anything, learning more about my culture is what has made me broadminded.It has taught me that its possible to be spiritual without being religious and it has taught me not to judge people by just their appearance but look at situations from their perspective.

I hope you find it interesting
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sayuri - Talk and feature

When I started to make jewelry in 2008, people thought that I was just doing it as a stop gap thing and will soon get over it. But when they realised that I was serious about it, many discouraged me - asking why I wanted to be like a gypsy who strung beads on the roadside, when I had worked really really hard to get my degree in fashion. After being stupefied the first few times I would often answer that question simply by saying "that I liked being a gypsy".
Even after years of hard work and proving myself time and again, I often get asked the same question, and it ends with people ( from different walks of life, including designers) assuming that I am not good enough to make clothes, even after studying at NIFT, a well known international institute that is known for Fashion.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited to my alma mater to speak about my brand and my life as a jewelry designer. It was a part of the first year orientation program - called the unusuals. A group of us spoke about our careers, achievements and struggles.  You can find Bhushavali of Fashion Panache, up on the stage with me, in offwhite and blue.  

It was a great experience talking about Sayuri. My presentation played on cue (for once), the mike was perfect and the audience cheered, clapped and laughed. It felt really great to see my brand logo come up on the big screen at the auditorium and people actually listening to my struggles and accomplishments and wondering how  do I make jewelry using so many different techniques without a jewelry or accessory design background. The icing was receiving a trophyish memento from my then faculty, now director, an outstanding woman who is considered a strict disciplinarian . It was a day to remember. 

 A couple of weeks after this talk, I had another pleasant surprise. MiD DAY, A leading Mumbai daily wanted to interview me regarding my work in contemporary Indian leather jewelry. I made a few products and did a super quick shoot with one of my students, but the editor went wit hteh product shots. I cant complain though for the interview had two pluses - one I was featured in the same article as Suhani Pitte, one of the leading contemporary jewelry designers in India and it showcased my dasavathar necklace which resulted in bulk of my ragamala and chithira katha collection being sold out (heyy!!!)
I have been wanting to blog about these surprises and also portray my recent collection artistically but since I started working (teaching) full time and I find hardly any time to write or create jewelry. So please bear with me if I am not regular in posting articles. I am also looking for bloggers/ writers who could guest posting, so if you have a idea with regarding to jewelry making, trends, materials, exhibit display, packaging or marketing, please contact me with your ideas.

I hope you find it interesting
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Sunday, 24 August 2014

14th Blogger/Non-Blogger Challenge -Twice as Nice Holiday in July

This year, one of my jewelry goals is to participate in atleast one challenge every month. Often I end up making the piece on the reveal day (bad  girl!!) but I want to really try and keep up this goal. so this month apart from the Earrings Everyday challenge I am also taking part in the 14th Round of the BNB Challenge (Blogger/Non-Blogger Challenge), where we can create 1 or 2 designs inspired by either or both photos/colorways: Woodland Creatures and/or Sparkling Holiday. I'll be showcasing two pieces today that are variations of designs I made in the last year.
Here is the brief given by our host - Toltec jewels
Woodland Creatures:
Be inspired by the colorway, the sweet woodland creatures and Father Christmas, by winter beauty, woods, the Winter Solstice. Consider using art beads -- many artists create owls, raccoon, birds, bunnies, mushrooms, squirrels, etc. Celebrate Christmas, Santa, childhood fun, Christmas eve, nature.
Sparkling Holiday:
Be inspired by the colorway, the sparkling elegance, Holiday party jewelry, Hanukkah, silver and gold, crystals, Solstice light. Consider using Swarovski & Czech crystals, pretty cup chain, lovely metals. Celebrate the Miracle of Light, gifts of silver and gold, beauty and glamour. 

Woodland Creatures

When I saw this palette I was really attracted to the red color of santa's robe, so my design is predominantly red with a focal of a agate bead and dragonfly clasp. To me, the Red and green combo which is a classic complimentary color harmony, totally represents Christmas. I really love the furry creatures in the picture but I dont have any any beads or focals that represent them so I picked what I had - a dragonfly. As a totem, a dragonfly is symbolic of  transformation and change - a perfect metaphor of my life at the present - so many changes, making me adapt to situations as they come.
If you are looking for an ethnic interpretation of this palette, you can find one from my every color has a story series, Birth of a New dawn palette, January 2014. The colors are strikingly similar in both but inspired by very different images

Winter Red Necklace

Sparkling Holiday

For this theme I went with big chunky crystals and translucent beads which are smoky. I have kept it very dainty, almost ladylike, which is quite a departure from my usual kitschy style. The necklace looks kinda dull in this picture but it is sparkly enough to dress up a shirt or a formal dress

Crystalled Necklace
I am sensing a sort of theme or flow in the choice of my designs for this challenge - both pieces have chunky segments, but on the overall look and feel very light, airy and simple. Is this the new me? I dont know, only time will tell.

 This contest has a prize - The creator of each winning design receives a $25 gift certificate to Lima Beads, so please come look up my designs Crystalled and Winter red in the BNB facebook gallery at Beed Peeps and vote for me by liking my design before September 1st.  Bead Peeps Group is a great new group on facebook where like minded people discuss beads and jewelry.
Find the facebook contest gallery here 

I hope you find it interesting

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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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Jewels of Sayuri


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 copyrighted. Details