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Updated: November 8, 2013 18:39 IST

Bead by bead

Athira M.
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Radha Bai. Photo: Athira M.
The Hindu Radha Bai. Photo: Athira M.

Radha Bai who makes the best use of her retired life by making artificial jewellery

“See, I made this out of buttons and this one, out of a small metal wire…,” Radha Bai goes on with a child-like enthusiasm as she shows us several earrings that she has made. The retired bank employee, who stays at Sreevaraham, is now enjoying a new phase of her life — as an entrepreneur who is into making artificial jewellery.

“I’ve never worn artificial jewellery, but I always liked to see other people wearing it. I carefully observe the designs and colours, and even ask them where they got it. So, after retirement, I interacted with those at the Continuing Education Centre at the Government College for Women, Vazhuthacaud, where they teach jewellery making among many other vocational trades. Later, I attended a short-term course organised by the Kerala State Council for Social Welfare and then started making jewellery on my own,” says Radha. She has a cute collection of earrings, most of them danglers, in a variety of colours and some even come with matching chains and bangles.

Today she has a trusted clientele, comprising relatives, neighbours and friends for whom she makes earrings, bangles and chains. But it is making earrings that she enjoys. “It is always exciting to make earrings. In fact, I always try to come up with new designs. The materials — beads, thread, pendants, and other items, which go into the making of the jewellery is available in a number of shops in Chala. I buy whatever stuff I can lay my hands on and design by instinct,” she says.

These days Radha also checks YouTube for new designs and ideas. “In fact, I found a chain made of buttons on the internet and that inspired me to make a pair of earrings using them,” she says, with a chuckle. Another interesting earring in her collection is one which has been made out of a broken chain.

The jewellery is easy on the pocket. For instance, her earrings cost between Rs. 10 and Rs. 30, and chains cost Rs. 200 – 300. “I am doing this out of passion, not just to earn an income. The important fact is that I am making good use of my retirement life,” she says, even as she works on a pair of hoop earrings. Contact: 2467613.

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