Interview with Eina Ahluwalia
Eina Ahluwalia, Indian contemporary jewelry designer has spent some time to actually learn how to make jewelry at Alchimia last summer. In March her first runway show, heavily influenced by her time in Florence was very successful and we asked her for an interview to know how the work with her hands has influenced her design.
Eina: You are a successful jewelry designer with your own brand, you design your jewellery and have it produced by Indian craftsmen. What was the reason of your decision to come to Europe and to actually learn how to make jewelry yourself
I’d been working with jewellery since 2003, and everything I knew about making it was learnt from watching and discussing with the artisans, or at the jewellery factory where I worked as a consultant for a few years. But in the last few years I was feeling a sense of frustration, stagnation and a sense of not being able to fully express what I wanted to say.
I was limited by the skills of the artisans who worked with me, and by their limited vocabulary. They were strong in traditional idiom and even though over the years they had stretched the application to more contemporary style, they were unable to think beyond. I needed to learn new skills, new methods, new materials, if I wanted to grow.
I also felt there was a loss in translation, in what I wanted to get done, and what they understood and could make. Lastly, I felt that I could experiment with more ways to express myself if I was working with the materials myself. The work, while in progress, could lead me to new possibilities, which one is unable to theoretically think up.
This is why I came to Alchimia to learn how to make jewellery myself. It has been a liberating experience, and a world of unlimited potential has opened up for me every since.
This is the first collection you have produced after your studying period at Alchimia. How was your design process affected by your gained ability to create the prototypes by yourself and work with your hands.
For the first time I was able to create the design to serve the concept without having to limit it to the sphere of our artisan’s skills. I was also much more confident in terms of my expression in design. Another very important and liberating part of the experience was that for once the artisans could not say ‘it’s not possible’ because I had the answers!!
One of Alchimia’s convictions is that a designer should have a hands on experience with the materials he/she is treating and that by working with your hands boundaries can be broken and new discoveries in concept, form and technique can be made. Do you agree with this?
I absolutely agree with this, and I think that this is the most magical part of making jewellery with ones own hands… it’s what happens between the hands and the material and the mind that turns a lump of metal into a piece of art. And the serendipity of new discoveries in the process of making is the rewards for the hours on the bench.
What is jewellery for you- an accessory to clothing or has it another deeper meaning for you ?
Jewellery for me is not mere ornamentation, and it definitely isn’t an accessory to clothes. It is an expression of who I am, what I believe in, the life I’ve lived, and the experiences I’ve had. It often expressions my value systems, my ideology and my philosophy. Sometimes I wear it as a reminder to myself, and at other times to communicate with others. Wearing a particular piece is a deliberate, thought out, meaningful act, not an afterthought to complete a ‘look’. Jewellery for me is a way to celebrate myself and my life.
We thank Eina very much for this interview.
If you want to know more about her work please visit her web site: einaahluwalia.com
Her Runway Show at Lakme Fashion Week was very successful and we are all very proudand happy for her.