A bead at a time

A bead at a time

A bead at a time
It was a random purchase during a drive that made Srutiza Mohanty first fall in love with beaded jewellery. She took a liking to the intricate ornament, learnt more about it, took it up and realised that it was what she wanted to pursue.

“I was always interested in arts and crafts, right from my childhood. Every vacation, I would pick up a new interest and pursue it and the next vacation, I would learn something else. But then I did engineering and took up a job in the IT sector where you hardly get time to do anything else,” she says.

Srutiza has been pursuing her interest for the past four and a half years now, having found more time to indulge in her passion after she quit her job when she had a child.

“It is a very old form of jewellery-making, dating back to the 17th century or so. At that time, styles and creations varied from region to region. So while we mostly had beaded necklaces in India, Egypt had dresses and other accessories made from these. But over the years, designs have evolved and quality has improved,” she adds.

Srutiza herself puts in hours of painstaking labour and has perfected both ways of creating these beaded wonders - using a needle or a loom. “If you making it by hand, you would need a beading needle, beading thread and the tiny beads, of course. Otherwise, you can use the bead loom which is similar to a weaving loom but just smaller.”

Jewellery, bands, bookmarks, key chains- Srutiza’s nimble fingers fashion a variety of offerings out of the humble beads. And compliments and appreciation have been in no short supply. “People like them because they are intricate, handcrafted, colourful and so on. They are also a blessing to people who are allergic to certain metals. We use a lot of junk metal in our creations and this is an alternative to that,” she details.

 When asked about her favourite creation, Srutiza answers, “I have no particular favourites. But the butterfly is one of my most popular pieces. I can change the colours depending upon the requirements or age of the wearer. It is one of the first pieces I did.”

She is on a mission now- to popularise this forgotten and dying technique of jewellery making. “It takes a lot of time and patience. Access to good quality beads is difficult, you may have to source them from outside. But the finished product is elegant and timeless and worth the effort.”

“I want to popularise it now. The more people get to know about it, the more they will want to wear it. It’s the least I can do to conserve a part of history,” she smiles.

(Srutiza can be contacted srutizam@gmail.com)
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