Tryst with Terracotta

Posted by Channel 6
October 15, 2012
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Harini Rao chucked up a job as a tax consultant to follow her passion for terracotta jewellery.  Minal Khona catches up with the talented young lady who sells her creations through Facebook.

Terracotta jewellery is quite the rage among women — young and old. There are a few enterprises in the city who make and retail these accessories. One such entrepreneur is Harini Rao. Completely self-taught, Harini, who is artistically inclined, used to work with a designer and local artisans in Bengaluru. She says, “I used to create designs and send them to friends who were in this business. I also worked with artisans in Karnataka which is how I learnt the techniques. Then I started making it here. But the demand grew to such an extent that I was unable to hold on to a full-time job and do this on the side. So I gave up my job recently and decided to focus on this business.” Harini also teaches Hindustani classical vocal to aspiring singers as she is a trained singer herself.
Her jewellery line Hearth Treasures has jhumkas, earring and necklace sets, rings and anklets. Motifs echoed in Harini’s designs are inspired from nature — flowers, leaves, birds and animals like peacocks, elephants etc. She says, “My themes reflect all aspects of nature. I am also fond of elephants so I have made a few sets with elephant motifs. Those were very popular and all sold out.” To add a contemporary touch, she also makes the jewellery in abstract and geometric shapes.
Harini also makes jewellery with traditional South Indian patterns like the varahala peru and the kasulaperu — a typical pattern where the same motif is repeated throughout. While these are popular, they are very labour intensive due to the intricacy of their design. Sets in these styles can cost up to Rs 2500. The rest of the range starts at Rs 150 for a pair of small earrings to Rs 350 for a set with a chord with a locket and earrings. Sets where the chain is made of terracotta beads cost slightly more.
To keep her overheads low, Harini sells through a Facebook page created for the products. She uploads pictures and couriers the orders to clients all over the country. “I also have clients in the US, Singapore and Malaysia who love the colourful jewellery,” she says.
The process of making the ornaments is elaborate and each pair of earrings takes about 20-25 days to make. Harini explains the process. “I get the clay from Karnataka. It has to be very fine, riverbed clay. I sift it multiple times and make a paste of it Then we mould it according to the design we need and take it to the kiln for heating and firing. I don’t have my own kiln at my workshop in Sainikpuri. I get it done from a potter. After that, we paint it in different colours. and lastly, we attach the metal clasps.” She has employed two girls whom she has trained in the moulding and painting of the jewellery. The colours Harini works with are synthetic but she uses a lot of bright shades in interesting combinations for her designs.

Harini’s jewellery is available through the website 48craft.com and on her
Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/hearthtreasures

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