TREND Accessories, clothes or home décor, the brands at Auroville give you enough options to pep up your wardrobe and living space

Most people tend to ignore seeds, used tapes and paper lying on the side of the road. The people of Auroville, however, thought otherwise and managed to convert these into things of beauty that many would love to own.

Doing things differently seems to be the motto of many of the designers at Auroville and they manage to come up with quirky ideas to create clothing and accessories. The first example that comes to mind is the paper jewellery from Auroville Papers. Their collection includes chunky bracelets, earrings, key chains and made from paper beads. A trip to Auroville Papers reveals a group of women hard at work curling paper strips to form beads. With just paper and gum as their base material, they manage to create beads of different shapes and sizes. Sometimes they also cotton-based paper and other available scrap.

“The idea to make jewellery came up when a woman walked in wearing a pair of earrings made of feathers. I looked at them and realised I could make them. Later, I extended the idea and thought of making beads from the paper that we produce and putting them together to make jewellery,” says Harvey from Auroville Papers. The paper jewellery is in high demand, especially the bracelets and the earrings,” he says.

Beejika, who makes jewellery and other products such as wind chimes from seeds that are found in Auroville is another example of innovation from everyday products. The company uses a variety of seeds and seed pods, including what is known as red sandal and elephant’s ear (because of its shape). All the raw materials are sourced from Auroville. Mechtild, who is in charge of collecting the seeds says that she has to plan the collection according to the season. “Normally, I keep seeds in a store because not all seeds are available throughout the year,” she says pointing to a shelf filled with seeds of different sizes, shapes and colours. “Once we collect the seeds, we sort them and varnish them so they last a long time,” she adds. Beejika sells an array of necklaces, rings, earrings, key chains, wind chimes and household ornaments.

Possibly the quirkiest of them all is the collection by Ok Jeong Lee. She is actively engaged in recycling plastic items and knitting them into various accessories such as handbags, purses and even little dolls and CD cases. She is best known for her work with used tapes that she collects from the Auroville eco service.

“Even though I use products that people discard, I make sure that what I produce is beautiful and can be used for a very long time. Although the exterior of the handbags are made from used tapes, I ensure that the zippers and the linings are of the best quality so that people will be able to recognise this as a work of a designer,” Lee explains.

The bamboo research centre’s Lively Bamboo brand is another place where you can buy jewellery and even clothing made from bamboo. The Bamboo Research Centre has been working at creating various products from bamboo that are not only ecologically sound, but also useful. “The bamboo jewellery range is very popular as is their line of clothing made from bamboo cloth,” Nick Klotz of Lively Bamboo explains.

Finally, there is the Gold in Glass jewellery by Brigitta Volz. For her jewellery the designer uses the same technology that was used to create the Matri Mandir. Her collection ranges from pendants and bracelets to neckpieces and more.

All the accessories and jewellery are available at the Kalki boutique in Auroville and in Puducherry and some of them can be ordered online at auroville.com.

KAVITA KISHORE

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