Gujarat, the western coastline state of India, often referred to as the "Jewel of Western India" is where we left our heart in - its food, architecture, people and scenery are what make Gujarat special. The Wanderer series of earrings was inspired by the sights and sounds of Gujarat, India.
On a recent visit to our producing community based in Gujarat, our first stop after our flight was to eat. Traditionally, Gujarati food is served on a silver platter with rice/roti and various curry-type of dishes. This arrangement of the meal is called Thali (literally meaning a "full plate meal"). Gujaratis use a combination of different spices and flavours to cook their meals and this is what makes their food truly exotic and special.
After a very sumptuous meal, we headed for the city of Bhuj - where our producing community resided in. Within an hour's drive, we were greeted by artisans who have been weaving beaded jewelry for the past decade or so. A traditional craft that has been passed down through generations, our bead work weavers are a family of three women producers from Kachchh. Bead by bead, each pair of earrings are handwoven for at least six hours. Armed with a metal tray, beading needle and pliers, every artisan seemed to have acquired this skill for quite some time.
Jasuben Khoyla, one of our women artisan producers, shared that this is the way of life they are familiar and have grown up with: "Beading is our way of life which helps give us a sense of identity. Whatever income we earn from this, we will save for the future."
As we walked the village from door to door and immersed ourselves in their way of life, we wanted to create something that represented the beauty of Gujarat in the so called ordinary things we sometimes take for granted - its people, their homes, their food and their work.
The Sarita and Aarika beaded earrings were thus woven with that in mind; terracotta-like beads representing its earthy architecture, olive beads representing the agricultural and horticultural tradition that many villagers have, while the black and gold coloured beads feature the beautiful sunset we visited at its iconic salt desert flat.
One of our goals at Our Barehands is to ensure that our producing communities have a sustainable livelihood - one where they will not have to worry about theirs or their family’s next meal. It’s simple; we believe that the more demand there is for The Wanderer earrings, the more income can be generated for Jasuben and many of our bead work producing communities.
What story will your hands tell?
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