Art history lessons during her jewellery design course introduced Shachee Shah to the micro-mosaic technique, once restricted to Vatican artists. The diminishing art form has few artisans involved in restoration of antique pieces, but not many who make new pieces. Since 2015, this Mumbai-based designer has been doing just that. “It’s a time-consuming process — the Venetian glass is sourced from Italy, and has to be pulled into thin straws and cut here. Each colour needs to be heated to a different temperature. Then begins the actual design. In that too, the lesser pixelation there is, the better the quality,” she says. With each piece taking months to create, she has spent over a year on the more elaborate designs.
Shah has created two distinct lines of jewellery under her eponymous label — one with woven gold, and the other, highly detailed micro-mosaics. “In India, we don’t find many women jewellers who make or hand craft their work; the concept of women metalsmiths doesn’t exist. This is what made it so appealing to me,” she admits, adding that she wanted her designs to be impossible to replicate. In 2013, she introduced the Venetian line, where 18K gold is woven into lace patterns to create earrings, brooches, cuffs and necklaces. She had to create her own tools and techniques for this.
Since there is no drawing or outlining to be done, the patterns for both lines can be quite organic, although she starts with a vague idea in mind. For one of her first micro-mosaic pieces during the course in Italy, Shah decided to try her hand at making a peacock. “It ended up looking more like a duck,” she laughs. Many years of patient practice later, she now creates one-of-a-kind art pieces designed to be worn as pendants, rings and earrings. And yes, her rendition of India’s national bird is rather life-like, to be worn as a neckpiece.
Shachee is showing at Amethyst in Chennai, on September 12 and 13. The Venetian collection ranges from ₹60,000 to ₹4 lakh and The Micromosaics, from ₹1.75 lakh to ₹3.75 lakh.
Printable version | Sep 14, 2019 8:26:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/luxury/shachee-shahs-micromosaics-and-woven-gold/article29351683.ece
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