Ashanthi’s dining table is covered in treasures. There’s the lovely, delicate gleam of long strands of glass beads, pearls and semi-precious stones; elaborate bronze clasps and filigreed earrings all displayed on one end and on another corner charming bracelets curl in on themselves.
Ashanthi herself particularly loves the multi-stringed funky wooden bead necklaces. Each piece here is unique – she never repeats herself – and she produces eclectic designs that could variously be described as both vintage and modern.
These are just a sampling of the hundreds Ashanthi has made. She has always enjoyed creating with her hands, she says. Having worked with fabric and glass painting and even attempted some work with pottery, Ashanthi’s new love is jewellery.
The mother of three says she first began on a whim two or three years ago, picking up some beads and a small pamphlet while abroad. Soon she had found herself a book, and a set of four pliers.
Her artistry is inspired by the hundreds of different beads and accessories she collects and those her friends and family buy for her. They’re from all over the world, and many are wonderfully distinctive. She loves to look through them and find new and unusual combinations.
Ashanthi is adamant that she doesn’t want to open a store of her own. Instead she prefers to create and sell her pieces to friends and family – often creating custom jewellery on request to match a particular outfit. Once or twice a year she offers the general public access to her work.
She says these shows in particular are made possible by the encouragement and support of her immediate family, their relatives as well as their close friends. Everything from tagging the individual pieces to making the little sachets you’ll take your earrings away in has been their responsibility.
Even the name she’s chosen for her line – Adya – was the result of a family brainstorming session. Ashanthi says she sat her children down and refused to let them get up until they had a name.
Adya – meaning ‘original’ – in Sanskrit was the name they chose. If you’d like to check out her jewellery, Ashanthi’s sale this time is on March 31, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Women’s International Club in Colombo 7. Prices range from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5000