By Hand From The Heart: One Show, Many Stories!

By Hand From The Heart is a curated makers market event in Chennai, South India. UPCOMING EVENT: 24th – 25th, AUGUST, CROWNE PLAZA, CHENNAI

Meet The Maker: Amrita Giriraj, Sea Shells Jewellery Designer


Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Amrita Giriraj is the name, born and brought up in Chennai, completed middle school in Holy Angels Convent and high school in Chettinad Vidyasharam. I Graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree from Stella Maris College and completed my Post Graduate Diploma Program (PGDP – 2 years) in social business and design from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology –Bangalore. As someone who’s been brought up by parents who believe in being as close to nature as possible, I believed from a very young age that the nature is the only entity on earth, that has beauty so innate it dwarfs everything else. I enjoy the company of animals, love nature walks, quiet conversations with the ocean and collecting little things I find fallen from the trees.

How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating? 

Illuminating Motids_AmritaI’ve been doing projects with nature as a primary theme for almost 2 years now. I worked with replicating the flower of the pomelo fruit flower into a chandelier, I worked with found feathers and leaves to create cyanotype printed scarves and more recently I found some palm sheath lying waste and tried making some fancy products out of them. You could refer to the pictures to see some process images of my work. What I do is to primarily share with a wider audience how beautiful nature is.

But only since 2014 did I venture into creating products for an audience wider than my immediate surroundings.

Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart Artisan Market. 

Ora from Vya began as a proposal but soon it took over my mind, thoughts and emotions. Ora means beautiful Seacoast in Old British English. Brought up in the coastal side, it was only natural for me to lose myself in the beauty of the shells. A lot of people say they’ve collected shells during vacations but then either lose it or forget about it. So I thought, ‘hey why not solve that problem?’ One led to another and I had a range of jewellery designed by me and a range of home décor co-created with the Artisans of Kanyakumari. Now no one will forget how beautiful seashells are!

Can you describe your work place / space?

My workspace is out in the open. I have a small makeshift unit on my terrace where I enjoy the cooler evening sea breeze and the birds chirping while working.

What inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration? 

IMG_20140906_143120One word – Nature. Everything and anything from Nature

inspires me. In my first year of college, I had a lecturer named, Ashrafi S Bhagat in Stella Maris College. She once said, I quote “There is nothing you cant find in nature. Every design that’s been born in this world has its roots from something in nature. Nature is infinite.” This has been an echo in my mind since then, that, Nature is infinite.

Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you? 

I start with collecting the object I wish to incorporate into jewellery. I adjust certain techniques according to the object I have because I use several techniques like resin casting, drilling holes, wood work, metal work, buffing, gluing, tweezing, dyeing and melting. I don’t usually stick to one specific technique.

Where’s the fun in that? When I finish a piece, I sit and look at it from every angle and admire the way something from nature can still be celebrated. That is the most rewarding part of the creative process for me.

What’s the best thing about being a crafter / designer?

The struggle. The little hurdles and problem solving challenges is the best part of being a designer and crafter.

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?

There’s no time like now to start doing what you believe.

Future plans.

I plan to continue a line of jewellery, celebrating nature in every new range. I’ll soon introduce some natural fibers that have never been in the market before. My vision is to simply share with people, how lovely nature can be in a way they enjoy it.

Amrita Giriraj will showcase her sea shell jewellery at the By Hand, From The Heart Artisan & Farmers Market | 7- 8 August 2015 | 10 a.m – 8 p.m | Hanu Reddy Residences, 41/19, Poes Garden, Teynampet, Chennai.

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