"My daughter inspires me a great deal. Whenever I work she likes to create something with her clay and she will bring it to me saying, 'Mommy, see what I have made. You can use it!'""My father was in the Air Force and he was constantly transferred to different places in India, so I had the opportunity to travel around our country. Staying is different states was a really fun experience as I was exposed to different cultures and traditions.
"After graduating from the Jesus and Mary College in Delhi I started working for different companies in various capacities. I worked for more than 10 years and during this time I also got married and had a beautiful daughter. I continued working after my daughter was born but soon realized that I was not able to give any time to my daughter, and this was really killing me inside so I gave up my job to take care her.
"Seeing me sitting at home, my husband and friends encouraged me to do something from home so that I could take care of my daughter and at the same time do something which would keep me occupied when she was not around.
"I had no idea what to do until one day, when I was strolling through Delhi Haat – a crafts bazaar from different parts of the country – and saw amazing terracotta jewelry. I instantly fell in love with it. I have always loved jewelry and I have an eye for detail, so when I saw this beautiful creation I was mesmerized. I bought and kept the jewelry with me then one day I found an online course which taught terracotta jewelry making. I was so excited that I took up the course. I started making a piece or two which all my friends and family liked.
"However the course only taught me the basics, I was not really satisfied and wanted to learn more. I happened to meet this fine art teacher who already knew this craft. Noticing my enthusiasm she agreed to teach me the finer details of designing this art. I absorbed every single detail of this art and slowly started creating my own designs.
"Terracotta jewelry is crafted with clay which is procured from the river bed. After the piece is ready, it is baked in the oven and then hand-painted with vibrant colors and finally varnished with toxic-free lacquer.
"After learning the art, I started making few pieces and tried showing them in exhibitions here in Delhi. At first the response was not very great but I didn't lose hope and continued with my passion for jewelry making. Then one day I got a call from someone down south who had seen my pieces and really appreciated my art, and placed an order for his stores. I was so excited and this perhaps is the starting point of my journey into this beautiful world of jewelry artistry.
"Since it is been difficult to manage everything on my own, I've been able to offer work to young enthusiasts keen to learn this art. After training them I offered them work. I also started teaching this craft to a few women from rural backgrounds. They make simpler beads while the more creative works are done by young talented artists.
"I create most of the designs. I have been designing and making jewelry since 2011 but I haven't been able to afford my own kiln since requires a lot of capital. For now, I hire a kiln to bake my jewelry but I hope very soon to have my own.
"My daughter inspires me a great deal. Whenever I work she likes to create something with her clay and she will bring it to me saying, 'Mommy, see what I have made. You can use it in your jewelry!'
"I love my work and it is mentally and emotionally very satisfying to see a lump of clay take such beautiful proportions. I get a lot of inspiration from nature and from things around me. We have a collection called the Temple Jewellery featuring pendants shaped like Hindu gods and goddesses.
"One day I would surely like to have my own manufacturing unit and create beautiful jewelry under one roof."
1 items by Ritu Thapar
Tree of WealthTree-Themed Ceramic Pendant Necklace from India