Aparna Das Sadhukhan. Nine by Thirty. Grit. Determination and a passion to succeed. I have read late night posts from her where she is willing her self to finish making one more piece and then one more…
Aparna is on my list of effortless friendships. We have never met in real life but I am so looking forward to that day. Though we have spent some time sharing in each others lives online. So you could say that many a life’s secrets have been shared over endless cups of virtual chai.
Those that know me well, know that I hardly change my jewelry. It’s the same thing that I have on all the time. But looking at Aparna’s pieces, I feel like letting loose the inner bohemian goddess. (Yes, I have one of those hiding in there somewhere!!)
A PGD in Mass Communication from the Symbiosis institute of Media and Communication in Pune, worked with a few agencies here and there and even a movie down south, she finds her passion in Jewelry. I am going to let her tell you her story in her own words.
Any background in Jewelry?
None really. I only loved wearing silver. In fact I wanted to wear some on my wedding too. But I was too young to oppose the relatives-mafia. Taking a one day workshop in silversmithing at Sydney Art school marked the serendipitous beginning to making jewelry. I wanted to fund my own classes in Sydney Art School. I decided to make beaded jewelry (self-learnt completely) and try selling them and use that money to fund more classes. It worked differently to my delight. I sold my earrings and instead of using that money to go back to school, I bought more raw material. That was the beginning. With a capital of 200 AUD.
Why the name ‘Nine By Thirty’?
That was our house number in Sydney. A home I loved dearly. It revealed to me a lot of undiscovered qualities I had, but never knew. That house with a lemon tree in it’s backyard turned out to be a magical influence in my life. I was bordering on clinical depression without a job in Australia. What was worse, I wasn’t sure what I wanted. 9/30 brought things into perspective for the first time in my life. It made me write poetry, cook unthinkable desserts and dishes, photograph and make jewellery. When we were thinking of names, both my husband and friend came up with this idea. it sounded just right.
What is the process involved – concept to creation?
It all depends on what I have in front of me and what I have been exposed to over the last couple of days- music, stories, movies, colours, people. Every impression matters. I do not sketch. I have a heap of beads and silver in front of me. I pick and string as and how the head and heart asks me to!
(I wonder what Aparna would make after our long awaited cup of chai :-))
Do you individually hand craft each piece or have ‘karigars’…?
I initially had a line where I handcrafted my silver too. But that didn’t fully satisfy me, besides the fact that people didn’t pay the amount a handcrafted thing piece deserves. But that was just an excuse not to make more. I like what I do now- source and recreate simply because I have a lot of fun traveling and picking my silver and beads and then putting them together. It is a more fluid and fun process. However, I do wish to have my own set of karigars- the real artists / designers who could work with Nine by Thirty.
What compels you to keep creating?
My heart and my husband. That sounds so awfully corny, I know. But that’s the truth. I am what I am because of his unwavering faith in my ability to turn whatever I touch into gold (silver?!). As long as there is an urge to create I do it. The minute that stops, I stop too. I never make anything (even if it’s a highly urgent order) just because it needs to be made. I used to do that in my other life – the pre-NBT life. Post NBT, everything is about how I feel. Miraculously I’ve been on a high ever since I strung my first necklace.
What have your interactions with people online/FB (to do with your work) taught you?
To be perceptive. To trust and not to! FB has also shown me a very ugly side to life and people – but far more beautiful is it’s fun and unending possibilities. Eventually it is all about what one chooses to see and accept. I have made good use of FB. It has given me friendships for life and a business which is literally a second lease of life. I have little to complain.
Ever have trouble letting go of a piece?
Each and every piece! I realized that only now when I was going through images of my favourite pieces. Since each one I make is almost always a one piece, it pains to think I’ll never have bother one of that. But when I see the person in front of me lusting after it, it melts me totally and in a strange way feel happier letting it go 🙂
But the best is yet to come. It is still in the making ! I need to visit the tribal regions of Odisha to make that image in my head a reality.
As is customary I always end with a picture of my friend and me or just her with a cup of chai. In this case I break with tradition – I got something which is almost as good as chai, if not better. Rocky!!