A few months back, a to-be bride wrote to me asking if I could do a flower jewelry set. During our discussion, she suddenly asked me if I could make a passa or jhoomar. Having no idea what it was, I turned to google and found that a jhoomar could be
Jhoomar – A (generally) large cascading chandelier or a light fixture.
Jhoomar – A Pakistani film written and directed by Syed Noor
Jhoomar – A form of fold music and dance that is accompanied by a lot of swaying and said to originated in Balochistan
Jhoomar – A fan shaped hair/head ornament worn on the side of the head by brides or dancers; also known as a Passa
The Passa looked harmless so I said that I could make one but then she told me that she wanted – a light weight jhoomar with no stones, pearls, preferably with flowers, triangular in shape,using gota, without circular base, in colors of her choice and within her budget!! Whew! I made 2-3 samples and sent her. She really liked one but I wasnt convinced about the finish and outcome nevertheless I figured I could make one piece easily.
But then came the shocker – she wanted 50 of them to be given away as wedding favours for her sangeet function which is a pre-wedding song and dance event – kinda like a bachelorette party. I was dumbfounded. I had never made a proper jhoomar in my life before with these materials (which were not available in Chennai) but to make 50 of them in less than 15 days time within the budget was impossible. I tried saying no; neither could I do it according to my quality standards nor I could make so many pieces. But then the bride convinced me somehow to make them for her.
|The red – orange-pink palette|
Let me be honest here – The bride did give me a reference pic of a really beautiful jhoomar but none of the materials to make it were readily available in Chennai and I wasnt convinced that I could make everything from scratch at her budget. So I compromised. I looked for similar materials – gold roses, colored micro roses, cord and sequin tape. But as bad luck would have it my local stores like me did not believe in mass production and so I couldnt get the materials I wanted and had used in my sample. My mom sweetly stepped in and hunted stores, throughout the city to get gold roses for me. She did find them but they were bigger and shinier than what we wanted but we had to make do with them. I wasn’t really sure if they would turn out right and informed my client giving her alternate options. But then she had her heart set on one design and asked me to do it in the best possible way.
|The blue-violet palette|
Armed with my trusty glue gun, I started to work. Each jhoomar had about 7 layers – the gold roses, colored micro roses, stones on top, cord and sequin tape, the base felt. and the dangles to complete them. We had originally planned that it would be worn on the hair with just a hair pin but the bride wanted some type of hook. The necklace hooks were too big and clumsy to be used on the head and we wanted something more delicate. We looked around the house and found a packet of blouse hooks that I had bought during my college days. (Yes! we are hoarders!!) The whole process was elaborate and had to be done 50+1 times letting the pieces cool between each layer. However we didn’t like the finish. So my mom and I started sewing the tapes shut and attached them to the roses and then attached hooks to to them. Our hands were numb half way from all the needle pokes while sewing through 6 layers of the tape.
It took my mom and me a good part of 2 weeks to finish them due to my day job. I would rush home after work, finish my prep for the next day’s class, thrown in an occasional blog post and would start working on them. After going through 2 sheets of felt, 714 roses, 5 sticks of glue and a box full of dangles, they were finally done and we were so happy. Maybe a little disappointed with the overall look but happy. They were decently finished, colorful, lightweight, done on time, and within the budget. They did turn out a little bigger than we imagined (they would have been so much prettier if they were daintier) and we would have liked an actual gota for the tapes and roses but we had never thought we would be able to actually make something like this – so ‘A’ for effort!
Though I wont be taking on a project like this any time soon, I learnt a lot about tackling the challenge of production, assembly line setups, variations, etc. I couldn’t have completed the 51 pieces (we made one for the bride too!) without my mom’s help, so a huge Thank you to her 🙂 The next time I do something like this I think that I’ll be more prepared and clear regarding expectations, outcomes and the effort required for it. Despite everything, it was a fun project and I hope that it was close to what the bride had in her mind and that her guests enjoyed wearing them.
So tell me, in the comments, about the time when you were faced with a similar challenge. How did you tackle it?
I hope you found it interesting