"I'd like a necklace for my Ma," with brevity he said, in a voice at once dulcet and determined as if to indicate a guinea gold goyna is the only meaningful gift a dutiful child can possibly give his mother, with love. "And it should have a padma on it." There was something very beautiful about him; the kind of beauty that speaks of a soft heart and deep feelings that pervade his everyday life. He was still just a very young boy, barely out of his teens, but his eyes shone with the knowledge of the world and a glow of bliss seemed to surround him. The showroom's hardly a place to notice such things but with Sayan you just can't help but feel his presence as one of extraordinary radiance.
The brief was clear: the necklace style would be the large choker-bib kind in which the central motif had to be a lotus.
Sketches were made and a primary list of those which felt good was drawn for final designing. The extra proposals we're archived. Of the ornaments detailed was this one where you'll see a line of interconnected naksha plaques develop the choker part of the story. From there descends a series of cascades, seven to be exact, (for 7 is Sayan's lucky number), first of shimmering gold coins and then thousands of rangan-phul. The curved forms hint at tol-parh and make them seem as if they were lace and sequinned textile. In the centre rules the lotus, three-dimensional almost, with its petals crafted and curled so ingeniously as to make them palpable, its mellow fragrance magically evident though its sublime form. The central receptacle and carpels have been detailed on a separate plane to heighten the three dimensional feel. Together with the naksha plaques of the choker ---- where you'll see a gaachh kouto, a kunké and a shankha pair, with a dhaner-chhara placed in the central tablet ---- the lotus is burnished in vermeil for greater depth and distinction. All around, the edging is of gold beads that allude to the crystals of a sphatik mala, and the polished drops resemble lotus seeds.
What's said in few words in one paragraph took about six months to complete. The fabric cascades went wrong twice and the flower had to be rearranged no less than three times, the receptacle in the middle made flatter and shorn of order in its granulation. Then the fixing process had to be, well, fixed so that the necklace wasn't stiff and, after due modification, a network of hinges was put in place at the back to make sure the ornament flexed enough for comfortable wear. The only element that worked was the naksha, each panel chased exactly the way we wanted, first time round. The wire spring frames are everywhere and provide essential relief, just in the way those airy hemstitches do in hand-embroidered Irish linen.
In summation, a monumental necklace that works the details to madness and concentrates on its unique karigari to create an astonishingly powerful jewel and one that'll stand out from miles away as much for its form as the distinctiveness of its design, with that splendid gold lotus shining forth in all its heavenly beauty.
And what of Sayan? Did his mother like her necklace?
After approving the design on screen, Sayan trusted us with the manufacture, knowing he was in hands sure to caress gold to greater purpose. After all, he was instrumental in influencing the Palit family to come to us for their personal ornaments after having seen our work on Facebook. That's a great fillip for handmade, considering so young a soul should seek heritage and good tradition with every advantage of innovation and inventiveness included. It's the new generation of Sayan's that's choosing the slow and considered approach to making that epitomises everything good about art and craft and everything about good art and craft. His is the love that loves differently and sees the divine in creation. His is the love that realises truth and beauty because it's his heart and his soul with which he answers the call of love. There can be no other way to realise the Divine.
"It's beautiful! I have no words to express my awe. It's much more than what I expected." Sayan's voice this time, on telephone (he hadn't come to take delivery), was gentle and slightly wavering."Ma will love it. She shall wear it on an appropriate day when her adornment shall serve as our votive for her benediction. The lotus I insisted upon because it's Her flower. Our MahaLakshmi Devi is lifelike and resides in her own temple at home. She protects us always and brings us all the peace and prosperity we know and have known.
" Celestial commissions are rare and Goddesses and Gods famously difficult to please, and quick to anger if expectations are not met. To appease them, epic tasks have to be undertaken and tortuous destinies fought through. It's always a risk. Thankfully, Sayan's love for his Padmapriya worked its magic on us so we could create by hand in pure guinea-gold a jewel fit for for the Palit family deity, and were spared heavenly chastisement. That alone is a divine blessing for us.