Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inspirations for the New Year

Kite earrings in blue and green
©2012 Nayna Studios™
Inspiration they say can strike anywhere well  looking for inspiration I realized that simply anything can turn into an idea, sometimes it is another artist's work  that set the old cogs turning, sometimes an everyday object , at times a beautifully hued drying leaf. More than once I have stopped short on my way home from the studio to stare at a dry leaf that had the most amazing combination of red, green and yellow (how does mother nature do it !!) 
At other times its my feelings sometimes I can truly confess that there have been occasions when I have been angry and taken it all out on a piece of metal (let me tell you do it right and you end up with  some fantastic designs :D) 

But what better source of inspiration then the seemingly endless line up of festivals in our beautiful country ! This pair of kite earrings was the first such design, I was only trying to do something commemorative of the festival of 'Sankranti' a festival that heralds spring and is always marked by flying of kites all over the country. Its quite common to see young , old, Men Women all practice and even compete fiercely on the day (the one who cuts another's kite gets to keep it :) Little did I know this piece would prove to be so popular I have lost track of the number of these I have sold !
X'mas Set
©2011 Nayna Studios™

The second such piece I have worked on is this Christmas set with a reindeer on the pendant and a pair of holly leaves for the ears. This one was of course inspired by the Christmas and is quite a sweet piece. I got quite the reaction to this one as well :)
So now my question is this what should I create for the very important upcoming New Year ? While not traditionally a festival it does symbolize everything new, new hope, new beginnings, new (dare I say it ) resolutions ! What would in your words qualify as the interpretation of New Year?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Back to the pitch and some added mask mania

Line work on the two mask profiles.
For those of you who are not in the know, I am first a metal artist and then jewelry artist and while I do keep working on my art, I spend most of my time designing and creating jewelry, using all the techniques I learnt as a metal artist. I use most of what I learned not all and repousse` is one such technique that I rarely use any more. That is un-till I saw a piece by a Laurie Jane Kern on her blog The Adventurous Silversmith. She had made the most gorgeous Cuff which she had named 'The Calamari Cuff' It was a gorgeous piece in silver with detailed repousse and some very smart patina finish. Looking at all of her pictures and the way she had created the relief on the cuff reminded me of my college days and how much I used to love working with copper repousse often creating specialized tools for the required project in hand! ( Our professor was quite the tough task master when it came to hand crafting each tool something that I will forever be grateful to him for it has really made me appreciate a well made tool and the benefits of being able to create one by myself :)
Now you might wonder why a Mask for the design element that is because I have a very old relationship with the subject of masks. You see my final year dissertation subject was mask and masking traditions around the world, so I simply could not resist combining the two passions! 
Mask Cuff
©2012 Nayna Studios™
Although not very detailed these faces took me back ten year when all did sleeping waking talking was think masks ! Heck I had the mask mania so bad I even had my friends hunting for material for my research :P
Well this little piece turned out very well including soldering the edges perfectly :)

Mask Cuff
©2012 Nayna Studios™

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baby Anklets can there be cuter jewelry out there ?

          A few days ago my maid who usually either finds my work fascinating or thinks I'm completely nuts! asked me whether I could make some anklets for her grandson who is all of 6 months old. Now you might wonder what's with anklets for a baby well traditionally here in India all babies above the age of a three months are given a pair of sturdy ( well sturdy for them :D) usually made of metal so as to help them gain strength in their wee muscles and improve blood circulation. These are usually made of either copper, silver or what we call 'Panch Dhatu' meaning five metals. The combination of metals like gold, silver, copper, bronze, nickel or sometimes zinc is considered to be very good for one's health (as per ancient Ayurveda ). 
         Obviously with the prizes of gold and silver being what they are today my maid wanted to know whether I could make a pair out of copper for her . Well  you know me I'm game for experimenting at all times :)
           So here is my version of baby anklets. I balled up the ends of some 14 ga copper wire so that there would be no sharp ends to hurt the little tyke and flattened the wire in my rolling mill. This was followed by gripping one end of the wire in my bench vise and the other in my hand drill a few turns later lovely twisted wire !
I suppose I could have made it easier by doing the twisting first and the balling later but anyhoo I loved it and apparently so did the kiddoo ! 
And if  you are wondering I do kiddoo custom work for free !!! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What is your favourite piece of jewelry??

My mom's shell set

Everybody has a favorite piece of jewelry from their childhood days, mine was this gorgeous set consisting of a necklace, a pair of earrings, finger ring and a very stunning pendant with a swan carved into it. This set was completely made in shell, with small red stones in the center of each panel. The stones are probably faux rubies I am not sure but I was not concerned by that ( guess I still am not !) I think the piece intrigued me so much because my mother never really wore it and each time I asked her about it I got a' I,m keeping that for you ' liner! Maybe she didn't like it well, I loved it still do, over time I have added a hair clip with similar carving.
The hair clip in shell, the two holes on
either side are for the stick.
Another of a favorite piece is a very delicate filigreed Silver hair pin that my grandmother gave, when I was just 6 its a rose with each petal crammed with spiderweb like thin silver wires. Filligree is no longer in trend nor is it favored by many due to the nature of its manufacture. Ideally small children are used for their nimble fingers and sharp eyes.
My Grand mom's silver filigree rose Isn't it gorgeous!!!

I am waiting for the day when one of my creations becomes a favorite with one of my client's :)
So what is your favorite piece??

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A loss, a move and some cute plastic tins !

What do you do when you loose something that is close  to your heart? You mourn it and move on well I was officially in mourning for a good two months! why you ask ? what did I loose? I lost my studio :(( Around the month of August I was informed by my landlord that he intended to raise the rent by quite a considerable amount and given the rising cost of well just about everything it made sense for me to move out! Well logic aside I had simply fallen in love with my space basically just a single room in a flat but since the owners rarely came over to use the other rooms I had the place to myself and could work and listen to music and make a complete mess of the space in peace ! Oh it was bliss !!   But the fact is I have to continue to work because lets face it I may have been in love with my studio but I am as good as married to my work :)

          Shifting back was easier said than done my old room converted into my studio with my study table turning into my enameling table ( I had to sacrifice my larger enameling table since there would be no space for it ) my converted jewelry bench and machine table made it so did my tool board and shelving. As did my large furnace and after having tried my best to work with limited moving space me and dad have come to the conclusion that since I no longer enamel larger bowls or panel,  the large furnace must go ! Not out of  the house just into the balcony :(  While that move is still pending here are a few smaller organizational ideas that I came up with

The first was sorting out my hand tools for the longest time they remained dumped in one old tin box but here they are now  sorted into punches and chasing and repousse tools, aren't the round tins cute?
Bonus I get to buy cute plastic boxes like these !

The next step was sorting my enamels easier said than done!! I am about half way there but the plan is to crush all the remaining lumps that I have into powder and then grade sift each colour
A transparent green that is all done, but quite a few colours that still need to be worked on. Coming up taming the enamel monster into sample tiles.....