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NOVICA Artisan Vrinda Gokhale

Vrinda Gokhale

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I'm from the capital, New Delhi. My friends describe me as very creative and kind hearted with an effervescent personality, a mischievous smile and a crazy sense of humor.

During my childhood days, I wasn't much interested in arts and crafts. But as I grew up, I found I liked making paper jewelry, inspired by my mother's unique taste of jewelry. One day, when I was 18, I was working with recycled paper and trying to copy the design of a beautiful Tibetan necklace my mother used to wear. This became a turning point in my life.

"Since then, I've been creating unique and unusual designs that are fun and easy to wear. I took courses in gold and diamond jewelry design but it didn't interest me much. I wanted to something unique and interesting.

"Being a creative person, I learned this craft myself. And I discovered that this is what I wanted to do. I can relate to paper jewelry. It is quirky, interesting, unique and holds its own identity in the presence of others. It is more about personal style and not trends. It is about individuality and not pseudo fashion.

"However, it took great efforts to convince people to try something new. It has been very challenging yet fulfilling. It took a while for people to start getting interested in this kind of jewelry.

"I combine recycled paper with materials such as glass beads, synthetic stones and melon seeds. The most difficult task is creating the paper beads and I make each one myself. I first select the paper and cut it into strips of different sizes, which are then tightly rolled into tubes or cones and painted. I then join them together to create beads and add faceted glass and synthetic stones to create my desired design. I don't use paper beads that are not perfectly done. I glue and check every knot myself. I never compromise with my work.

"I find inspiration in African, Egyptian and tribal jewelry from all over the world. But traditional Indian embroidery inspires me the most. The bright colors and motifs are so rich and beautiful. At times, I even look at nature for inspiration — the colors of the sea, the sky, birds and flowers.

"I work alone at my own pace, with a little help from a woman who assists me part time. It takes long hours of work, experiments, observation and most of all passion and dedication to create each design. My family, especially my mother, has always been a great support to me. She loves my jewelry and wears a lot it.

"In the past, I've helped women in my community pay for their children’s education. I try to teach them about self-worth, of how important we are as women and how to teach our children to be good citizens.

"In the near future, I am planning to teach this craft in a women's empowerment center in the Himalayan foothills. I wish to share this art all over the world so that people can appreciate the unique beauty of this kind of jewelry."