Both Lilies and Lotus flowers are extraordinary. Unlike a rose or a jasmine which is worn in the hair, a lotus is primarily meant for offering to the Gods and lily is used for gifting or decoration. Hindus consider lotus as a symbol of wealth and prosperity as it is the seat of Goddess Mahalakshmi. Goddess Lakshmi is sometimes referred to as Ambuja or Neelambuja meaning the blue water lily. Buddhists consider a lotus to be the symbol of spiritual awakening and purity that comes through sacrifice. Other ancient cultures too, recognise these flowers as the symbol of rebirth. So when I found out that the inspiration for March ABS is a painting of Water lilies that looked like lotuses, I was intrigued. I made the Nymphaea Necklace.
Difference between Water Lily and Lotus
When I looked at the painting I thought the flowers were lotuses, but the painting was titled as the Red water lily. It made me both confused and curious. Subsequently, I found that both Water Lily (Nymphaea) and Lotus (Nelumbo) though similar to look at are very different from each other. They are both aquatic plants that grow in ponds, and tanks, require a lot of sunlight, and both look very pretty. However, the difference lies in the way they grow and bloom. While water lilies rest on the surface of the water, along with their leaves, Lotuses along with their leaves rise up and grow above the water. Maya Gaia’s note on the differences between the flowers both scientifically and religiously is exhaustive.
I have heard of numerous lily ponds (temple tanks) in Tamil Nadu. For instance, there is a locality in Chennai, called Triplicane which is the anglicised form of Thiruallikeni meaning the tank of lilies meant for God. However, I have never really seen a tank with red flowers until a recent trip to Pulicat. We missed our way and when through an unknown path and I chanced upon a Red nymphaea pond.
Love of Lily and Lotus
With my Brand name being Sayuri (Rain lily) my love of lilies is obvious. It does not matter whether they are calla lilies, water lilies or rain lilies, I love them all.
My first memory of longing for a pink lotus flower is minimum two and half decades old. lotus flowers (or were they water lilies?) being sold outside the Thaaiyaar Sannidhi (Shrine of the Principal Goddess) at the Srirangam temple. I would look at them longingly until my mom would buy one. I would offer it to the Goddess with the hope that it would be blessed and given back to me. Most of the times, to my disappointment, I would get back a different flower. A white lotus, mixed flowers, a withering light pink lotus or worse torn petal of different flowers that would just make me sad. All I wanted was to wear the lotus or water lily in my hair.
A Lily for my hair
People around me would laugh at me when I would try to wear a blooming lotus. Having a bob hairstyle didn’t help either. As I grew older and my hair grew longer, I become more and more hesitant to wear them in my hair, for no one ever does. Eventually, like every other want that I have, I forgot about this one too. That is, until my Siem Reap trip.
When I saw the Angkor Wat lotus pond, which was ironically full of water lilies, the love affair was rekindled. The pond looked very similar to the one in the inspiration image with insects flying nearby. During my Sunrise visit, I picked two of the flowers, strewn aside and held them in my hand as I watched the sunrise. (cue – About me Widget photograph) I took pictures of them, played with them and finally wore one in my hair. Though people starred at me, I felt pretty and happy.
Coming to the Nymphaea Necklace, I wanted to capture the pink glow in the photograph and the way I felt while wearing the flower than the texture of the painting. It was one of those rare moments in my when I was smiling from inside without really any effort. I was truly happy.
I altered a metal blank with ice enamels to create my lotus. Rather than going with the smooth enamel finish, I experimented with a frosty granular approach with colour shading and sealed it with resin. I wire it to a golden base to emphasise on the radiance. I first used a beaded chain of light pink crystals on both sides to showcase the lightness in the air at dawn. However, it felt dull. So I added one of my ribbon beads in bright pink and green and looped light pink crystals of two different sizes with it. In the end, I added a lampwork headpin like a dangler representing a lily bud covered by Green dragonflies.
I am not overly satisfied with it. But with my to-do list getting longer by the minute, I am letting it rest as a UFO until I can remake it.
Nymphaea Necklace – Mixed media necklace with ice enamelled focal, wire wrapped pendant, Lampwork headpin dangler and bright ribbon bead. Designed by Divya N for Sayuri
Art beads by – Divya N, Soul Silver
Please tell me in the comments how you like it and what I can do to improve it. Until then, here is another picture of a Lily tank from Bantaey Shrei.
I hope you find it Interesting