Friday, October 29, 2010

Natural and Energy Giving (2)

In my last post, I wrote about the energy giving properties of copper and turquoise. Through many ages copper was considered the common person's metal. Richer folks opted for silver which, though having the same properties of copper, was considered a precious metal (along with gold) and therefore pricier.

Silver is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and therefore an excellent conduit for the energies of the gemstones with which it is paired. In and of itself, silver has long been regarded as having beneficial healing and anti-microbial properties.

Sometimes, good things come in small packages. The pair of earrings pictured above  is one of them. Turquoise beads, African "opal" stones, copper beads and brushed sterling silver rondelles are strung on a copper head pin and hang from a sterling silver ear wire. All the components of this pair of earrings are made of naturally occurring materials.

You wil find these earrings in my Etsy and Artfire stores.

Once again, thanks for visiting.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Natural and Energy Giving

In my natural energy line of jewelry, the materials I use are not only naturally occurring but also have beneficial properties. From times immemorial, humans have looked to nature for physical and spiritual sustenance. Plants, minerals, stones, bones, shells were seen as possessing qualities to nurture and protect the mind, body and spirit. Humans have not always treated their generous protectors well-- that is a different story for a different time. But, nature in her infinite generosity has not stopped giving.

The necklace above is made of all natural components---rough hewn natural turquoise stones of various shapes and sizes, and copper beads of various shapes and designs.

Both copper and turquoise are natural materials with energy giving properties. Turquoise is considered a master stone in terms of the beneficial qualities it confers on the wearer. It is said to promote calmness, balance and self-awareness. Turquoise is considered good for strengthening the immune system.

Copper has been regarded from the ancient times as having body protecting qualities and it is an essential trace mineral for healthy bones, the heart, the skin and immune system. It is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and thus a superb conduit for the beneficial properties of the turquoise.

The necklace measures 17 1/2" and is finished with an antiqued copper clasp. It is available in my Etsy Store  and Artfire Studio

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gendered Flower Business

In Tamilnadu, flowers are ubiquitous and, an integral part of Tamilians' daily life. Girls and women wear them on their braided hair to school and to work. Images of gods at the temples and in the home shrines are adorned with flowers. Marriages are solemnized with the exhange of flower garlands between the bride and the bridegroom. Very important persons, whether politicians or movie stars, are welcomed with a garland on their neck and a shawl around their shoulders.

Tamilnadu, like rest of India, is also a place of sharp contrasts. These quotidian juxtapositions sometimes hide in plain sight. Till the camera accidentally captures them. Take a look at the pictures below. Do you see what I see?

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Dharmakarmaarts Giveway

The giveaway is over. Due to the popularity of the box, it is available for sale in My Etsy shop.

I am giving away this gorgeous hand decorated jewelry chest to one randomly drawn lucky winner.

Any of you who have visited my shop know that I love decorating wooden boxes. I don't know how to make these boxes, but I do not know how to decorate them! The one above is a little different from my usual style. I stained and painted it first, then decoupaged some lovely coordinating papers. I embellished the top with copper accents and finally distressed to give it a lovely rustic look.

The box measures 7"x6"x4". It has four drawers with pulls and stands on four balled feet.

To be considered please leave a comment here and heart my My Etsy Shop.  Please also leave your e-mail or any other information that will allow me to contact you if you win. The giveaway ends on October 27, 2010. The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Winter Solstice

These striking earrings are made with artisan crafted handmade lampworked glass beads that hang from a gracefully curved earwires. The beautiful orange glass is wrapped in a delicate slivered ivory glass lining.  I call this Winter Solstice because of the silvery lining over the orange orbs invoking the image of a wintery sun after a big snowfall.

It has an elegant sophistication which you can wear year round, but it can also be an out of the box choice for Halloween.

These earrings are available in my Artfire shop.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Enabling the Disabled

Beading and Stringing at the Workshop
During my trip to India in March 2010, I did a workshop on jewelry making to a group of physically challenged girls at the Andhra Mahila Sabha. These girls are victims of childhood polio, one of the last groups of children, before polio was officially eradicated in India a decade ago. 

These young women are not only physically challenged but also economically disadvantaged. Organizations such as the Andhra Women provide them with vocational training in book binding, sewing, computer software, which is their path to economic independence. Occasionally, someone like me will come along and teach them something that is fun. Which woman can say no to jewelry?

The workshop was sponsored by Sukriti Social Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by my sister, Sowmya Simhan, who too was stricken with polio at the age of two. She is highly educated with a career in accounting, and her foundation provides a wide range of services and programs to physically disabled men and women and, collaborates with other organizations that provide similar services.

Since I knew that these girls would not be able to buy the materials for jewelry, I took with me all of the materials from my personal stash. Sowmya felt that these girls could use some help in understanding the use of colors and design principles.  So, I made a color wheel for them. I also took several issues of Bead Style magazine with me.

I did the workshop for two evenings after their day class was over. About fifteen girls, ranging from age 12 to 18, participated. The girls were charming and were quick learners. I taught them to make the wrapped loop and showed them how to use the color wheel. I gave each one a kit for a pair of earrings and a necklace and they were quite thrilled when they found out that they get to keep what they had made. The chorus of “thank you auntie” at the end was touching. I donated a whole bag of beads, wire, the color wheel and a toolbox to the girls.

It is unlikely that the girls would ever be able to go into jewelry making business. They do not have the means. However, teaching them the techniques and, giving them the materials would enable them to make things to sell at craft shows. This condition applies to any skill they are taught. It is not enough to just teach them a skill. To enable them to use it gainfully, they also have to be provided the tools and the materials. Hence, organizations such as Sukriti, raise funds to buy them computers, sewing machines, school supplies and so on. I try to do my tiny bit. All proceeds from sales from my shop are donated to Sukriti Foundation.

More information about its work can be found at and  Facebook

Sowmya, the founder of Sukriti, is being honored with Ascendas Award for service

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Curry for the American Palate: Peanut Butter and Green Pepper

Whenever we have an international luncheon at work, I always struggle to come up with a dish that will appeal amidst all that meaty splendor spread on the buffet table. It was when I noticed Scott, my son-in-law, eating it with relish, that it occurred to me that I should make it for this year's international luncheon. Sure enough, every one liked it, wanted the recipe and here it is.

This is a variation on a Goan curry that is made with homemade ground peanut and coconut paste. One day, feeling lazy, I decided to substitute  peanut butter. I have not looked back since then :)


medium sized green, red bell peppers (capsicum)-- 2 or 3
medium sized red onion-- one (optional)
fresh ginger to taste (optional)
Chunky peanut butter--1-2 tablespoon
Olive oil-- 1-2 tablespoon
salt to taste
red chili powder (optional)
turmeric-- 1/2 teaspoon (optional)


1. After removing the core and the seeds chop the pepper into small chunks. (Cut the onion and the ginger also into small pieces, if you are using them.)

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet; add the onions and the ginger. (Note: I have also added black mustard seeds. That is the way I cook but you do not have to.)

3. Cook till the onions turn translucent.

4. Add the chopped bell peppers, spices and the salt.

5. Cook till the peppers turn soft.

6. Add peanut butter.

7. Mix it thoroughly into the cooked vegetables with a spatula till it is all melted and gooey.

You can eat this with nacho chips, pita bread, naan or roti. Any which way, it is finger lickin' good!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Three of a Kind!

As artists we are supposed to love every one of our creations, but , often , we love some more than the others. We tend to have preferences for certain colors, materials, textures and forms that we repeat over and over again. In my own work, I am inclined to use a lot of magenta, blues, oranges and other earthy colors.  This box below is a perfect example of what I mean. I have done three variations of the same color and materials but each one subtly different from the other. They also sell well at the craft shows, so I keep making more of them. I think there are more of these in my future :). You will find these in my Etsy shop and for other decorative boxes click here