TAK­ING GLASS TO A NEW LEVEL

Adorn - - FASHION FORWARD - By Shanoo Bi­jlani

De­bas­mita Ghosh from Ahmed­abad be­longs to a breed of artists, who ex­press their ideas by us­ing com­mon ma­te­rial – in her case she prefers the hum­ble glass. In De­cem­ber 2017, De­bas­mita launched her brand Aadikara, mean­ing the first cre­ator, and an­other name for Lord Brahma. In a short span, suc­cess has fol­lowed this NIFT and NID De­sign post­grad­u­ate. She ma­nip­u­lates glass to cre­ate beau­ti­ful, na­ture-in­spired de­signer jew­ellery that blew our minds.

Grow­ing up, your child­hood sur­round­ings in­flu­enced you to be na­ture-in­spired. Tell us more about it.

I grew up in West Ben­gal and Bi­har, and I have had the priv­i­lege of be­ing sur­rounded by vivid nat­u­ral and cul­tural land­scapes; an end­less reper­toire of cre­ative prac­tices, arts and crafts rooted in earthy pro­cesses, which kept my cu­ri­ous mind en­gaged in ob­ser­va­tion.

What also grew with time, in­side me, was the ad­mi­ra­tion for aes­thetic and func­tional de­tails which ex­ist in na­ture; and the un­der­stand­ing that the man-made world was also more or less in­spired by these very de­tails of the nat­u­ral world.

Af­ter ex­plor­ing arts and craft dur­ing my school­ing, the next step was to pur­sue for­mal ed­u­ca­tion in a cre­ative dis­ci­pline.

What were the trig­ger fac­tors that made you pur­sue jew­ellery de­sign­ing?

Most of my ex­plo­rations as a de­sign stu­dent were aimed at cre­at­ing prod­ucts and ac­ces­sories which were hand­crafted and not mass man­u­fac­tured. This led me to study ap­pli­ca­tion of de­sign in cre­at­ing de­liv­er­ables specif­i­cally for or­na­men­ta­tion pur­poses. Jew­ellery de­sign, too, started as my grad­u­a­tion project at NID, where I ex­plored the medium of glass, which is not con­sid­ered to be con­ven­tional enough to be pro­duced com­mer­cially or non-com­mer­cially in In­dia. The research and de­sign ex­plo­rations done dur­ing the project helped me choose this pro­fes­sion.

Why glass?

Glass, as a ma­te­rial, al­ways caught my at­ten­tion. It is so com­mon­place and read­ily avail­able, yet has a unique char­ac­ter and can be moulded into dif­fer­ent forms.

Glass-blow­ing and flame work jew­ellery is not a new con­cept. But the rigid­ity in the forms be­ing pro­duced and the ap­proach taken by dif­fer­ent ar­ti­sans work­ing with glass in var­i­ous

Flame-work jew­ellery is not a new con­cept. But the rigid­ity in the forms be­ing pro­duced and the ap­proach taken by dif­fer­ent ar­ti­sans work­ing with glass in var­i­ous craft clus­ters pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for me to look for pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.

craft clus­ters pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for me to look for pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.

I col­lab­o­rated with ar­ti­sans of Firoz­abad for glass­work and ar­ti­sans of Sin­gur in West Ben­gal and Ahmed­abad in Gu­jarat for metal work.

Through my de­signs, I want to put for­ward an ex­am­ple of how a frag­ile ma­te­rial like glass can be treated to cre­ate a unique range of jew­ellery which stands out for its aes­thetic qual­i­ties and as a daily use ac­ces­sory.

The ma­jor in­spi­ra­tion for these forms comes from flora and fauna. The chal­lenge lies in break­ing down these com­po­si­tions of na­ture into some­thing which can be moulded into glass to cre­ate unique de­signs.

Are the glass-mak­ers of Firoz­abad known for mak­ing jew­ellery? If not, how did you work around the sit­u­a­tion to up­skill them?

Firoz­abad is one of the prom­i­nent places for man­u­fac­tur­ing glass prod­ucts, but most of them didn’t spe­cialise in jew­ellery mak­ing. So, depend­ing upon the de­signs I made, I would con­tact a spe­cific ar­ti­san most suit­able in terms of tech­nique or craft to be able to cre­ate my de­signs. Some­times, I would im­pro­vise my de­sign depend­ing on the skills of an ar­ti­san to pro­duce a piece of jew­ellery.

Ini­tially, it was a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to ex­plain the de­signs and get the de­sired re­sult.

But fre­quent vis­its to Firoz­abad helped me es­tab­lish a com­mon ground of ac­cess be­tween me and the ar­ti­sans, so that they could un­der­stand my cre­ative vi­sion and I could un­der­stand their po­ten­tial and lim­i­ta­tions. It took some time, but the re­sults which fol­lowed were worth the ef­fort.

What about the metal ad­di­tions in your jew­ellery? Do you out­source mo­tifs in sil­ver and gold or do you craft that as well?

The de­signs are shared through dig­i­tal means with the ar­ti­sans of Firoz­abad for glass-re­lated work and with the ar­ti­sans of Sin­gur, West Ben­gal, who work on the metal part of the

The ma­jor in­spi­ra­tion for these forms comes from flora and fauna. The chal­lenge lies in break­ing down these com­po­si­tions of na­ture into some­thing which can be moulded into glass to cre­ate unique de­signs.

jew­ellery. The glass and the metal parts are made si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Once the glass parts are made, they are trans­ported to Sin­gur, where the ar­ti­sans join the metal parts to cre­ate the end prod­uct. Some­times, I work with the lo­cal ar­ti­sans who work in gold and sil­ver in Ahmed­abad and then the mo­tifs are sent to Sin­gur.

How of­ten do you come up with col­lec­tions?

The de­sign­ing of jew­ellery, cre­ation of mo­tifs and conceptual sketch­ing is an on­go­ing process. When I feel a cer­tain set of ex­plo­rations can be taken for­ward to the pro­duc­tion stage, I start the process of ex­e­cu­tion. Since the jew­ellery is en­tirely hand­crafted, it takes around two months for com­ple­tion.

How im­por­tant is the wear­a­bil­ity quo­tient of glass jew­ellery that is frag­ile?

Glass jew­ellery does raise ques­tions about its wear­a­bil­ity and stor­age, but once the ini­tial bar­rier is crossed, the jew­ellery grows on you.

The jew­ellery is made with borosil­i­cate glass used for lab ap­pa­ra­tus and is rel­a­tively rugged. I have been wear­ing my own de­signs and to be hon­est, no dam­age oc­curs to them even when I carry them in my reg­u­lar back­pack or side bags along­side other daily use ac­ces­sories.

What are your best-sell­ing jew­ellery pieces?

My first col­lec­tion, in­spired by the blue va­ri­ety of Calla lily, was a suc­cess. Apart from that, my range of jhumkas has al­ways got a good

When I feel a cer­tain set of ex­plo­rations can be taken for­ward to the pro­duc­tion stage, I start the process of ex­e­cu­tion. Since the jew­ellery is en­tirely hand­crafted, it takes around two months for com­ple­tion.

re­sponse; some­thing which con­sumers read­ily ac­cept as a part of their col­lec­tion of ac­ces­sories for mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions and at­tire.

My de­signs are for the woman who is con­scious and aware of the way her jew­ellery res­onates with her per­sona; who is fash­ion­for­ward and au­da­cious enough to ex­per­i­ment.

Which are your ma­jor mar­kets? Do you only sell on­line?

I don’t have a store of my own but my prod­ucts are on sale at var­i­ous stores across In­dia, namely Ogaan and Ni­mai in New Delhi, Pa­per Boat Col­lec­tive in Goa along with on­line stores such as Gaatha (shop.gaatha. com/Aadikara) and World Art Com­mu­nity (worl­dart­com­mu­nity.com/shops/aadikara).

I also dis­play and sell my work through In­sta­gram and Face­book un­der the name Aadikara. Apart from these, I also take part in art, fash­ion, craft, and de­sign ex­hi­bi­tions. Through these av­enues, I cater to cus­tomers from In­dia, Malaysia, USA, Japan, Es­to­nia, Europe and South East Asia.

What are your fu­ture plans?

I want to ex­plore and de­vise more ef­fec­tive tech­niques of work­ing with the medium of glass, to fa­cil­i­tate fur­ther ex­per­i­men­ta­tion in the field of jew­ellery and ac­ces­sory de­sign. I also want to fuse glass with var­i­ous other ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate new, ex­cit­ing forms to make state­ment jew­ellery that presents aes­thetic nov­elty. It’s about cel­e­brat­ing the bold ap­peal and poignant fragility of glass.

My de­signs are for the woman who is con­scious and aware of the way her jew­ellery res­onates with her per­sona; who is fash­ion­for­ward and au­da­cious enough to ex­per­i­ment.

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