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Bringing Tradition To Life
On returning from India after completing her Bachelors degree, Aayusha Shrestha found her country facing an astounding number of challenges and confusion. She chose to look beyond and into the future. As a jewellery designer, she recognised the potential for her work even as she saw it as an opportunity to understand her culture better. In September 2015, she established AAMO meaning ‘my love’. AAMO is a collection of exquisite ethnic jewellery that reflect Aayusha’s beliefs, thoughts and values. This talented young designer is currently also the PR representative and Curator at Nepal Art Council Gallery.
What sets your designs apart?
My designs are concept driven, unlike all jewellery produced locally. The pieces are an outcome of immense research, some even years of gathering information. All the pieces are limited editions. Also, because my designs are a reflection of my roots, they stand out. The most integral part is that they are purely handcrafted by local craftsmen whose immense talent is yet to be fully recognised by us Nepalis and the rest of the world.
I spent most of my childhood and young adulthood outside of Nepal. When I finally decided to come back, I was taken aback by the various aspects of our society. I had to readjust to my new environment which made me question numerous elements of our society while also allowing me to see the limitless possibilities it had to offer. My designs are hence largely influenced and inspired by everything around me whether it is the current socio-economic or political situation in Nepal or our culture, mythology, architecture, landscape, and the people. My pieces are brought to life by the expert local craftsmen in Patan who still practise the traditional ways of making jewellery.
My latest works are representative of ‘Shakti’ (the female power). The designs depict various strengths of our Goddesses – Kali’s third eye, Durga’s dagger or the goddesses with multiple arms. The concept of ‘Shakti’ has allowed me to produce in various metals to stay true to my concept. Some pieces are in brass, while others are gold plated or in sterling silver.
Apart from jewellery designing, what interests you the most?
Travelling and reading because both have always allowed me to learn, explore, question as well as think beyond my perception of reality. Art and art history as well as the understanding of art, where it comes from and what makes people create, helps me see different perspectives which in my line of work are essential to grow. Also, teaching design because of the perpetual exchange of new ideas and concepts which is both engaging and challenging.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
At the moment, production is the most challenging aspect due to lack of basic amenities. However, I am also acutely aware of the decline of traditional craftsmanship throughout our country. So, in the long run, my main challenge is to be able to generate enough interest and awareness towards our arts and crafts practices within Nepal and outside to engage new generation of craftsmen who are willing to learn the skills and practise them. This in turn is to create jobs and prevent the current exponential rate of skill drain that is and has been experienced in Nepal at an exceptional rate.
Where can we find your creations…
My creations are currently available at @aamo_nepal on Instagram, FabSity at Facebook and Yala Mandala in Patan. It will also soon be available on Facebook as AAMO.