By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
Meha Gupta designs mixed media jewellery under the brand name Baby Baniya. Working out of her home studios in New Delhi and Manali, Meha handcrafts whimcical , vintage and fun wearable art. Let’s find out more about her works, inspirations and the jewellery collection she plans to showcase at By Hand From The Heart, the makers market event in Chennai.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and describe what you do.
I am a jewellery designer and maker, based in New Delhi and Manali. After completing a 4 year Jewellery Design and Silversmithing course, from the London Metropolitan University, I began creating whimsical and offbeat neckpieces under my brand ‘BABY BANIYA’
Why is making so important to you?
Making pieces of jewellery is outlet for my creative energy. I like to use my hands to create something, and that something will always be unique and have an individual character.
What goes into creating a piece of jewellery?
In one word – Travel. I need to explore and discover what the world has to offer. I borrow elements from various cultures and this is where my inspiration stems. I usually collect beads and interesting objects and also use photographs taken during my travels. All of this ends up on my work desk where I play around with different ideas. I don’t make any sketches or drawings and prefer to use tangible objects lying in front of me. Multiple techniques and processes are used in the making of each piece. Embedding images and objects in resin, designing and hand cutting silhouettes in metal are my signature techniques.
Embroidery, beading, laser-cutting, and powder-coating on metal have also been employed. In this way, each piece created has a story to tell, is a one-off and is hard to repeat.
My work is inspired from different colours, textures, materials and objects found while travelling. I make it a point to observe local design and creativity, take photographs, and collect handicrafts and materials, which become starting points for my creative process. Miniature paintings from Rajasthan, hand-painted leather puppets from Andhra Pradesh and brass pieces from the Dhokra tribe, have been paired with everyday found objects like electrical wires and cycle parts. Japanese prints by print-maker Hiroshige have been cleverly combined with Kalamkari paintings on silk from Orissa.
What are you displaying at the By Hand, From The Heart Makers Market.
I am displaying neck-pieces, earrings and rings from my new collection – ‘Ilesha’ which means queen of the world. The pieces feature Mughal and Persian miniature paintings, photographs by Japanese photographer Kazumasa Ogawa, and vintage botanical prints.
Tribal pieces from Kutch, like nose-rings, earrings, pendants and anklets are used in innovative ways. Indian and Japanese elements work together beautifully, to create this pretty, yet edgy collection of pieces.
About your work space.
I have a cozy space in Manali, with a desk that’s too big for the room. The view from my work shop is spectacular – snowcapped mountains, lush pine forest, apple trees and some incredible birds.
What is a typical working day, like.
I am either making resin pieces, going to different markets to hunt for interesting beads and fabrics, or designing and assembling neck-pieces.
What is your personal favorite pick at BABY BANIYA right now? And why?
My favorite piece right now is ‘Reyna’- an eclectic piece which features a tribal Kutchh pendant, keys, a photograph, and a vintage illustration of a fly. The photograph of the two Japanese women is a hand- colored albumen print, circa 1870s–1880s, by Felice Beato.
What is the biggest challenge and lesson you have learned since starting your business?
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that you have to trust people, and delegate work instead of trying to do everything yourself. I am so particular about every detail of every piece of jewellery that it has been hard to leave it to someone else.
By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 20th Edition
Date: Friday – Saturday, 7th – 8th July, 2017
Time: 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Venue: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
Address: 132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India