Hello! You maybe familiar with the India-based jewelry label Aaraa By Avantika. If you aren’t yet, it is my great pleasure to share with you the work of jewelry designer and maker Avantika Kumar. (This post has been months in the making, but I am a firm believer that everything has a way of coming together at the right time.) So without further ado, meet Avantika Kumar! I have followed Avantika’s work for some years now and have always been impressed by its boho maximalism. There is the homage to traditional jewelry lines, but then exuberant creativity takes over and the result is bold, beautiful, and joyous. Flamboyant. Goddess like. Jewelry that you will treasure for a lifetime. Collectivitea is my way of collecting and sharing stories of creatives with you so that they may inspire, and I am sure Avantika’s creative journey will inspire a lot of people! The jewelry featured here are from the designer’s Ista collection (more on that below). Read on for Avantika’s story. – Priya
Avantika Kumar: “I was born and brought up in Pune, India which is called the ‘Oxford of the East’. I had a very humble upbringing and drawing, painting and crafts were my favourite pass-time. I had more paints, brushes, crayons, and pencils than I had friends as a kid. Academically, I was a sincere student and performed averagely well which made my parents hope for me to be an engineer. Initially as a teenager, I wanted to be a painter or join a creative field, but the calling towards this at the age of 16 years was not strong enough that I could defy what my parents had thought about my future. While I pursued my engineering course of four years, the creative side in me grew stronger each day. After finishing off my college assignments I would spend hours painting and sketching. Along with my studies, I also started making jewellery out of paper, wood, or any other freely accessible material and began supplying the same to a few local boutiques in and around Pune. For me, academics turned out to be very unsatisfactory at that point of time and by the end of the course I realized that I needed to make a career out of something that I loved doing. Even my parents realized the creative thirst within me and helped me find my calling.”
“I appeared for the entrance test for the Post Graduation course in Lifestyle Accessory Design at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad and to my amazement, without any design prerequisite and knowledge, I got through. NID is touted to be India’s most premier and finest design school. The transition from being an engineer to a designer was a difficult one but has been a beautiful journey of self discovery for me. As an engineer I had been disciplined to work from a scenario with many variables and reach to a single conclusion, while as a designer I was being trained to think of as many outcomes to a single question. It was difficult for me to understand these conflicting ideas but with strong passion, hard work, determination and good guidance, I was able to logically balance and equate my thinking with creative ideas. While pursuing my course, I was selected to make my debut at IIJW 2010 (India International Jewellery Week). It happens to be the only platform in India at the moment, exclusively showcasing jewellery on the ramp and showcased my collection of unconventional range of handcrafted jewels titled “Aurum”, I received rave reviews and admiration that encouraged me and stirred up my inclination towards being a jewellery designer. I further went on to work with the prestigious jewellery house Amrapali Jewels, Jaipur for a year where I learnt the fine skills of jewellery making.”
On inspiration…. “Design is not only my profession but a reflection of me and my constant state of mind. I have a strong affinity to Indian history, culture, tradition and architecture along with ancient jewellery making techniques and crafts. Cultural symbols and motifs are some of the mediums which influence me to great lengths.When we talk about inspiration, I feel so proud that I belong to this wonderful country, India where everything, right from food, textiles, jewellery to architecture, performing arts etc has very interesting history and legacy attached to it. Thus traveling acts as a stimulus for me; it allows me to discover so many crafts, craftsmen and lesser known facts about our heritage.I have explored quite a bit with varied materials as a student at NID and so different and unique materials do interest and inspire me a lot. Hence I like to work with a fusion of diverse beads and gemstones creating some unusual, contrasting and yet beautiful colour and texture combinations.”
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