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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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

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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