It is a very exciting time here in the Ava Jewels studio, because I am busily preparing for my first trip to India. Not only is this important for me personally as a yogi, but also professionally as a jeweller. India has called me for a long time now...I can't put my finger on exactly when it begun to intrigue me, but it was in my teenage years. Once yoga became an important part of my daily practice, India became a pilgrimage destination. So now that I create mala beads and source many of my raw materials directly from India, specifically Jaipur, it has become a trip of necessity. Strengthening relationships with suppliers, seeing the materials available in person and immersing myself in the culture and place that inspires my work is such an important part of building a powerfully authentic and transparent offering.
So now that that the flights and itinerary is booked it is just a matter of packing and preparing myself for the wildly stimulating trip we have ahead. What does it mean to Ava Jewels operations while I'm gone? The online store will stay open and orders will continue to be taken, but creation and shipping of orders will not commence until we return in early April.
No shipping of orders from Wednesday March 13th - April 7th 2019.
So why India? Gosh, where do I start...? Here's the 3 main reasons why India is such an important destination for me and Ava Jewels as a business.
1. I am a yogi: all religion aside, spiritually I am a yogi. So visiting the motherland of yoga is an incredibly important pilgrimage. Understanding the practice and culture of eastern, Indian yoga is important to me in order to understand my own western interpretation of this ancient life science.
2. I create mala beads: Mala beads originated in Mother India and they are a spiritual tool used by many of her religious groups including Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jainists. Understanding, witnessing and experiencing these practices in their home country is critical in being able to offer my creative expression from an authentic place. Receiving the blessing from India and paying homage to her, her people and her spiritual practices is a really important part of being able to do that fully. As a white westerner, insensitive and uneducated cultural appropriation is something I desperately aim to avoid. My wish is that this can be seen and felt through my offering. If you have any feedback on this I would love to hear it. It's a conversation that is important to have. I play my part as best I can by being clear about my intentions and walking with an open heart and mind in to the nation of India to learn her ways and become one with her beating heart. That's not going to happen with one trip, but with this first trip it will begin.
3. I source many of my materials from India: The vast majority of the materials used to create what you see here are from India, right down to the silver chains and jump rings. Almost everything is sourced in pieces and then I build the finished product in my studio in Australia. You just can't find these materials in Australia and so they have to be sourced internationally...and when you source everything remotely, endless messaging via WhatsApp from a rudely inconvenient timezone, simply dreaming up the things I want, it can start to feel distant and lonely. Jaipur is one of the gemstone capitals of the world. Centuries old techniques are still used to cut and craft gemstones in to jewels for jewellery. So getting on the ground in India, specifically Jaipur, meeting my suppliers (who don't have much of an online presence or catalogue) seeing their operations, seeing their treasures first hand and then getting amongst the markets a bazaars to see what other trinkets I may uncover is something I feel needs to happen on a regular basis in order for me to truly offer the best that this world has to offer. Almost 10 years ago I sat at the Crystal Castle to receive a tarot reading. The cards said I was creative and professionally would be drawn in to a creative offering. The woman read my palm and was also psychic and she said she could see me in interior or jewellery design...I giggled with amusement and was mildly flattered. "Me? A designer??". She had a vision of me exploring and searching for "trinkets" as she said, in busy "bazaars". These were her exact words. Apparently this was where I would find my truest heart's calling....At the time it didn't make any sense. I had just finished a teaching degree in Sydney and was on my way to Toronto, Canada to begin a job in travel marketing. It was an exciting time, but I was very much in the world of corporate 9-5. Becoming an artist and rummaging through market stalls for work seemed like a dream...but here we are! I have been on the path towards this journey since before I was born. To be taking THIS step is exhilarating beyond belief.
So India beckons and I have answered her call. From the time of writing this blog I have 5 more sleeps until I get on that plane to Delhi. Let's see what happens!! Thank you for sharing this journey with me so far. Thank you for allowing me a platform to express my inspiration through this offering. I promise you India will enrich not just my jewellery, but also the vibration I put out in to the world. May that vibration resonate with you then permeate beyond.