By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Crafts have always been an integral part of my life. As a young girl, my grandmother taught me weaving. I created trinkets and jewerly out of natural fibre, wool and stones. However, it was only much later I realized that I could carve out a career of this.
I graduated in Computer Science and have a Masters in Business Administration. After spending seemingly a lifetime in corporate jobs, I took a sabbatical for 2 years to travel and perhaps spend some time studying jewelry making & witnessing master craftsmen in action. I, eventually, never returned to my job and started MoodSwings jewelry by Benaazir in 2010
Why is making important to you?
Making allows me to be footloose, expressive and curious. Sometimes to quench my creative insanity, I make other things that aren’t part of my business. I design furniture, home accessories and various other unnamed things.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
We make handmade silver jewelry using traditional silversmithing techniques. We invest considerable effort to reinterpret old craft forms into narratives that are not only contemporary but one that we believe will stand the test of time.
‘BaDastoor’, our narrative on the timeless Meenakari is our latest work. Along with this we will also be bringing our Signature jhumkas and few of our older collections.
What is currently inspiring you?
Simplicity inspires me, be it in a conversation, an artwork, a song or a person. For me, ‘ less is more’ have more conviction and longevity. We are also on a passionate pursuit to breathe new life into age-old Indian jewelry crafts and techniques. From meenakari, to filigree, jali and lac — it inspires me every day.
What was the most challenging piece of jewelry you have created so far?
Jhumkas! We were caught off guard when one of favorite clients requested us to design a jhumka for her. Although we do not do any custom work, we thought it was a good challenge to take on. Since jhumkas are such an old design, creating something new that stayed true to our minimalistic approach was difficult. Our client loved the design we made for her. We decided to create a collection and launched them in 2012. This collection has evolved a lot since and continues to be loved.
What is life away from your work like?
I make many purposeless things. I spend a lot of time on trying to learn things that has particularly no use. I love puzzles and games. I binge watch TV shows, eat plenty and travel. I lift weights, I aspire to be a body builder some day.
You have participated in an earlier edition of By Hand From The Heart; what was the BHFTH experience and what have you observed?
I feel incredibly proud to be associated with By Hand From The Heart from its early days. The visitors understand the value of hand work. At BHFTH, I feel, the shoppers and I are on the same page. We have also made some amazing friends here
Chennai – your association with this city. Your observation of the Chennai’s shopper.
Chennai is special! I believe that Chennai is truly a cosmopolitan city by the sheer diversity in all spheres of life that you can imagine. I found Chennai shoppers to be always open to experiment, extremely supportive and kind. Many of my customers outside India are from Chennai.
What’s up next for you?
We continue to make amazing jewelry. We want to spend time learning more techniques and bringing them into the forefront.