Growing up, your childhood surroundings influenced you to be nature-inspired. Tell us more about it.
I grew up in West Bengal and Bihar, and I have had the privilege of being surrounded by vivid natural and cultural landscapes; an endless repertoire of creative practices, arts and crafts rooted in earthy processes, which kept my curious mind engaged in observation.
What also grew with time, inside me, was the admiration for aesthetic and functional details which exist in nature; and the understanding that the man-made world was also more or less inspired by these very details of the natural world.
After exploring arts and craft during my schooling, the next step was to pursue formal education in a creative discipline.
What were the trigger factors that made you pursue jewellery designing?
Most of my explorations as a design student were aimed at creating products and accessories which were handcrafted and not mass manufactured. This led me to study application of design in creating deliverables specifically for ornamentation purposes. Jewellery design, too, started as my graduation project at NID, where I explored the medium of glass, which is not considered to be conventional enough to be produced commercially or non-commercially in India. The research and design explorations done during the project helped me choose this profession.
Glass, as a material, always caught my attention. It is so commonplace and readily available, yet has a unique character and can be moulded into different forms. Glass-blowing and flame work jewellery is not a new concept. But the rigidity in the forms being produced and the approach taken by different artisans working with glass in various craft clusters provided an opportunity for me to look for possible solutions.
I collaborated with artisans of Firozabad for glasswork and artisans of Singur in West Bengal and Ahmedabad in Gujarat for metal work.
Through my designs, I want to put forward an example of how a fragile material like glass can be treated to create a unique range of jewellery which stands out for its aesthetic qualities and as a daily use accessory.
The major inspiration for these forms comes from flora and fauna. The challenge lies in breaking down these compositions of nature into something which can be moulded into glass to create unique designs.
What about the metal additions in your jewellery? Do you outsource motifs in silver and gold or do you craft that as well?
The designs are shared through digital means with the artisans of Firozabad for glass-related work and with the artisans of Singur, West Bengal, who work on the metal part of the jewellery. The glass and the metal parts are made simultaneously. Once the glass parts are made, they are transported to Singur, where the artisans join the metal parts to create the end product. Sometimes, I work with the local artisans who work in gold and silver in Ahmedabad and then the motifs are sent to Singur.
How important is the wearability quotient of glass jewellery that is fragile?
Glass jewellery does raise questions about its wearability and storage, but once the initial barrier is crossed, the jewellery grows on you. The jewellery is made with borosilicate glass used for lab apparatus and is relatively rugged. I have been wearing my own designs and to be honest, no damage occurs to them even when I carry them in my regular backpack or side bags alongside other daily use accessories.
What are your future plans?
I want to explore and devise more effective techniques of working with the medium of glass, to facilitate further experimentation in the field of jewellery and accessory design.
I also want to fuse glass with various other materials to create new, exciting forms to make statement jewellery that presents aesthetic novelty. It’s about celebrating the bold appeal and poignant fragility of glass.