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Finding magic in the ordinary

  • Published at 05:09 pm November 10th, 2018
AT, Oct 2018, Pooja Ossue , Pg 32
Photos: Courtesy

Meet Amman Rashid, the self-taught metalsmith

The face behind Aadi Lohakara, Amman Rashid, enjoys creating organic and rustic pieces of jewellery beautiful asymmetrical shapes and sizes. 

He studied Marketing but always had an interest in Art and Design. During one of his long walks through the woods, hediscovered his inspiration to make his first article of jewellery. “I fell in love with nature and started collecting seeds, leaves and other organic items and creating objects.” And that’s where it all started.

When he is not busy attending exhibitions and summits in Dhaka, New Delhi or Malaysia, he’s probably spending time with and rescuing street cats and dogs. Avenue t speaks to the metalsmith on repurposing everyday materials into jewellery and finding the right balance between coins, beads and Fairmined gold and silver.

When and how was Aadi born?

I was working as a prop designer for a theatre company when I discovered an interest in designing jewellery, and that’s when it all started. 

What’s the story behind naming the brand Aadi?

Aadi in Sanskrit means the beginning or primeval, and in Hebrew it means jewel or adornment. In the early days, I used to work with a lot of antique pieces, hence the name Aadi.

Is all your jewellery handmade?

My articles are all hand fabricated one of a kind pieces. I recycle and upcycle a lot of items, as well as source beads from various parts of the world to incorporate them in my pieces. 

How do you source the raw materials?

I source a lot of my beads from my travels abroad. I also source coins from dealers. I purchase Fairmined gold and silver so that I can be a part of the movement where there is no exploitation.

What are some of your signature pieces?

My jewellery designs are influenced by nature, trees, and the ocean. I often set out just to collect leaves; I am fascinated by their texture, size, shape and colour. I use them as inspiration and create unique hand fabricated pieces and these are my more popular designs. I also used to work with coins a lot and was known to make pieces out of them.

Some of your jewellery articles have embossed portraits of Fakir Lalon Shah or Amrita Sher Gil. What inspired you to pick out such unconventional and interesting embellishments?

Amrita Sher Gil was considered Frida Kahlo of the East. She was known for merging East and West in her artworks which I tend to do myself. I admire her as I do Frida and have used both in my pieces. Lalon Shah is another personality that I admire for his stand against class, creed and caste and therefore, have used his image in some of my pieces.

There used to be a time when jewellery items were passed down through the generations, and there were sentimental values associated with them. But now, we change our jewellery collection every season. How did we make the transition?

Consumption has become a way of life now; we are all now termed as consumers. This has created a feeling of always desiring new items and the term “old is gold” is losing its importance to the young generation. It is this push towards always purchasing newer items, the preference of having more in quantity than quality that is leading us away from appreciating items that are passed down from yesteryears. However, I do believe we will come full circle and appreciate quality and craftsmanship once again.

Tell us why it is important for jewellery items to be eco-friendly and recyclable.

Jewellery items are never totally environment friendly. Mining for metals is never good for the environment and neither are the use of chemicals to create jewellery, the dyes that are used in jewellery making nor the packaging. Toxic fumes are emitted during the creation of jewellery as well. As a jeweller, I try to reduce my energy footprint as much as possible by re-using a lot of the metals as well as using a lot of environment friendly items in my pieces.

As consumers, how can we be more environmentally responsible?

Consumers have to make sure they know where and how their jewellery is made. They have to ask whether it is Fairmined, whether the products are a result of child labour, etc. One must also be selective as to what material their jewellery is made of . And finally, reduce, reuse and recycle your jewellery. I not only encourage my clients to bring their damaged jewellery and create a new piece from their old items but to also purchase vintage jewellery articles.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy making one of a kind sculptural wearable art pieces. 

What are your future plans with the brand?

Collaborate with international jewellery designers.