By Hand From The Heart is a curated Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 in Coimbatore | 23rd Edition: 16th – 17th – February '18 in Chennai.
We catch up with maker and entrepreneur, Sulakshana Sarathy who recently started her creative venture, Neferu; a wire jewelry design studio based in Mumbai. A graduate from NIFT & a post grad from IIM, let’s find out more about Sulakshana and her jewelry venture…
A bit about yourself and Neferu.
“Neferu” means beauty in Ancient Egyptian. I have always been fascinated by the culture of the Pharaohs- their rituals, customs and especially their art and jewellery. When I was searching for a name for my jewellery brand, an ancient egyptian name seemed apt as I create using the ancient art of wire-wrapping.
I have a background in Textile Design- passed out from NIFT in 2007. But I have been pretty far from art and design the past 8 years- pursuing an MBA from IIM Bangalore and then working in management jobs. I am self taught in the art of jewellery making, just beginning my foray, re-capturing the joy of creating with my hands. I believe that for any piece of jewellery to shine, it needs balance which can be achieved only through patience and passion.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
I am currently exploring the world of wire wrapping- which is creating jewellery simply by twisting wires- no soldering or casting. All the pieces I create are unique and I craft each one by hand. One of the great things about wire wrapped jewellery is that it can be very lightweight (depending on the weight of the bead/ stone ire adds surprisingly little to the weight).
Art jewellery has always held a fascination for me. My jewellery box is always overflowing but ruthlessly organized with pieces ranging from Rs.10 to Rs. 5000. For years I have been taking apart earrings and putting them back together in more pleasing ways for myself and my friends. In 2015, I began to seriously consider jewellery hand crafting. Wire jewellery is a great place to start as it is low on equipment, skill and patience being the only pre-requisites. I hope to explore more aspects of jewellery crafting over the next few years.
Creating a jewellery at Neferu. What is involved?
As with all art, inspiration is the key. For me in most cases the hero of a piece dictates what the design is going to be. This hero could be anything- a bead, a stone, some sea shell or wooden beads from a childhood experiment. I then work my way around this and incorporate the design around it. When creating on my own, I dont find the need to draw or conceptualize on paper. But introducing this rigour is going to be my next step- it will definitely be more efficient!
What are you bringing to By Hand, From The Heart.
I am bringing the first set of collections I am developing. The working names for the Collections are
Giselle- Light, Flirty, Contemporary
Naomi- Rustic, Ethnic, Bohemian
Arcadia- Ornate, Intricate, Statement
Describe your work premises & what is a typical day at Neferu, like.
Currently, Neferu is a part time enterprise. So I work out of my home where I have a small make-shift studio. In the near future, I am planning to convert one room in my home into a full fledged studio where I can create and explore. A typical day starts at 7 pm and goes on till 1 am. The work involves creation of new designs, photography and cataloguing. Since this is the start of the enterprise most of the work is around the product. I am sure within 6 months there will be a lot of adiministrative work filling my time.
What is your favorite Neferu pick right now? And why?
My favourite pick is the series of sea shell based earrings and pendants. I think that the bold shapes of the sea shells are beautifully accented by the delicate wire scrolls. Every time I look at these pieces I am transported to the beach- which is always a good thing!
What’s the best thing about being a craft design entrepreneur?
I’ll let you know when I become one full time!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
I waited a long time for something spectacular to happen to me. The best thing someone asked me is- was I so spectacular that something spectacular should happen to me? This made me take stock of my life and set out to become spectacular. Neferu is one of the things which came from this soul searching. For all the other things, lets catch up at the Maker’s Market!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?
Its early days yet. But I have realised that people are willing to listen and help if you have the courage to reach out.
Meet wire jewelry designer and craft entrepreneur, Sulakshana Sarathy of Neferu, Mumbai, at By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 18th Edition
Friday – Saturday, 5th – 6th August, 2016
10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India