Culture Chauraha keeping the art of making Meenakari jewellery alive

by February 16, 2019 0 comments

Metallica - Meenakari jewellery

Artist Smriti Sangal, the founder of Culture Chauraha, draws her inspiration from all things vintage including her mother’s 33-year-old practice of Meenakari and ancient cultural extravaganzas.

There is an insatiable desire in every jewellery designer to better their work. A similar kind of zeal runs through Smriti Sangal’s veins while working on creating intricate designs. Each time she picks up her iron stand, heating it up in a furnace, she fashions yet another beautiful piece of Meenakari earring.

As the workshop commenced at the Jaypore store, Sangal, founder of Culture Chauraha was ready with her array of tools and equipment to help art connoisseurs learn about the Persian craft. It begDesigner K Rajesh, an with choosing the right kind of shape one wants to give to their earrings. It’s then cut on a copper sheet, flattened by a hammer and nail, pierced through a drill machine, moving on to cleansing the black coat and turning it into a shiny pink. The base coat is prepared through white crystal powder before starting its painting with powdered glass colours.

When Sangal started learning it from her mother, Ritu Sangal, who is a master of this art since the last 33 years, she felt the need to make it accessible for more people. “I saw that people were fascinated and were eager to learn about the entire process of jewellery making. Even if they don’t join the extensive course, they could come to these workshops and learn the basics. This would also in turn make them connect more to the art,” she says. She calls the melting of glass crystal colours as “surreal.”

Her three-hour workshops that also recently took place in Bengaluru teach two basic techniques of enameling — sgraffito (decoration done by scratching through a surface before firing) and paint-on. They are aimed at creating an enameled jeweller who is able to “notice and appreciate the effort and time it takes to produce one piece of jewellery.”

Sangal lists a number of processes that go through in the making of one piece of Meenakari jewellery. She says, “People through these workshops could notice the technicalities as well. For instance, how much temperature is it fired at, what kind of colours are being used, how the shape is given, what are the do’s and don’t’s, etc.”

Well, the motive of Culture Chauraha was in itself to create a space for people and teaching them mural painting, enameling, paper crafts, fine-art sketching, drawing, porcelain painting, woodcut printing, and helping kids to prepare for art colleges. She says that this was also founded “to make people go back to their art space that ends after school when a busy hectic schedule hits life and you find yourself away from such a therapeutic practice.”

Why Chauraha? Well, she says that it was inspired from the central place of the city where people from all corners of the town came together in olden days and had a cultural extravaganza, doing a number of activities.

Among an array of her handmade earrings and designer jewellery are an infusion of colours — green, yellow and shades of red — amalgamated with contemporary architecture and traditional Persian flower motifs. There are shapes like diamonds, hearts, butterflies, circles, and even pyramids.

She ends with telling us that even though the teaching has been a slow journey but “it has had been picking up very well. At the end of the workshop, what matters is that people are very happy with what they have created. As a mentor, you feel blissful that you made them learn something new.”

Courtesy: The Pioneer

Writer: Chahak Mittal

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