In an era where minimalism is all the rage, there exists a soft spot for elements that add pop to an otherwise stark palette. Using intricate hand-knotting techniques like aari and charakam, jewellery designer Rosalind Pereira’s brand, Maya Bazaar, is all about the colour. Made from vegetable-dyed silk, cotton yarn and metal, Pereira’s jewellery incorporates sustainability in fashion.
Maya Bazaar will showcase their collection at furniture and lifestyle store, Baro. Made by a team of 46 artisans mainly from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, the pieces ranging from ₹1000 to ₹6,500, are a fusion of traditional crafts with a modern twist. “Maya works with migrant workers who have moved to cities in search of a livelihood,” says Pereira. The brand has been working with artisans for the last 21 years, collaborating with them on design interventions, product development, and marketing, to ensure that their craft stays alive.
Pereira was driven to work with artisanal communities post her Master’s degree at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. For her dissertation in economical development, she lived with the Patwa tribe in Maharashtra, who are associated with weaving and handcrafted jewellery. “I realised that after a famine, when the government allocates funds for handicrafts, a number of middle men approach tribal communities and pressurise them to mass produce their intricate work. This dilutes their craft, and I was highly disturbed by that,” shares Pereira.
Sustainable in nature
She was inspired to start an organisation that provides a market for craftspeople, long after government allocations run out. For this, Pereira stresses on the wearability of these designs, and the importance of continuous reinvention. “My jewellery has to pass three very important criteria. How tagda (tough) are my pieces, do they work with all body types, and can they be worn on both kurtas, and little black dresses,” emphasises Pereira.
Using a combination of Patwa styles and crochet, Pereira’s pieces include necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, with a mix of semiprecious and uncut stones. Using inputs from women’s groups both from rural and urban areas, Pereira has converted traditional ornaments like toe rings, into pendants, in order to appeal to the city folk. “I’m also conscious about the designs working with all seasons. I believe that the customer should be able to wear Maya Bazaar’s jewellery through Spring 2018, but also Summer 2019,” she asserts.
Meet the craftsperson
The brand also encourages the employment of women, specifically to make them financially independent. It provides them with support in health, education, savings, family planning and relationship counselling. “These women will be present at Baro, showcasing their techniques live to bring the consumer closer to the art form,” says Pereira. Customers are also encouraged to bring their jewellery that needs repair, for a workshop that will take place at the pop-up.
In terms of development, Maya Bazaar is currently working on reducing their carbon footprint by prioritising natural, nontoxic, and renewable materials. They’re also trying to educate urban consumers about the painstaking methods involved in with patwa kam and gundi kam “I’m tired of handloom being the poster-boy of sustainable fashion. When you think of traditional crafts, you often think of block-prints, or handwoven sarees, what about handwoven jewellery?” asks Pereira with a casual laugh.
Maya Bazaar’s pop-up will take place at Baro, Lower Parel, today and tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.