Behind the wooden face

Razia Kunj recreates influences from mythology, folk cultures and architecture on her wooden hand-painted jewellery

Art and design come together in Razia Kunj’s jewellery. The Mumbai-based designer draws inspiration from mythology and folk cultures to create wearable art in the form of neck pieces, earrings, bangles, rings, buttons and brooches. “Since childhood, I loved to tell stories and I loved to work with my hands. This allows me to do both,” expresses Razia.

Behind the wooden face

The designs in neem or teak wood are hand painted either representing or interpreting themes such as Jharokha, Shekhawati, Temple, Deviyaan or Theyyam etc. Now, the former advertising professional is out with her latest collection “Moksha”.

Shivlingas, hollowed out faces of ascetics, Shiva’s face and trident on bangles, neck pieces and bracelets hand-painted in acrylic form this collection, which is marked by minimalism. “While themes I have taken like Theyyam have been more of a representation of an idea, Moksha is an interpretation. Theyyam had to be realistic because it is a custom and I didn’t want upset a community’s sentiments by taking liberties with a ritual. In Shekhawati, I recreated the painted frescoes. Moksha can mean anything to anyone. It is free flowing,” says Razia.

Behind the wooden face

Razia started off as a jewellery designer two-and-a-half years ago with an exhibition. She wanted to test the waters and after receiving a positive response, Razia plunged into it headlong. “I referred to my experiences like watching theyyam for two consecutive days in Kerala from start to finish, visits to havelis in Nawalgarh in Rajasthan. This imagery had stayed with me. The challenge was to depict them on a smaller canvas.”

Behind the wooden face

Without any network in the industry, she found it tough initially but after pursuing a short-term course from Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery, Razia found a foothold. “There was clarity. I made some connections. I learnt to do soldering. I learnt where to source material from.”

Behind the wooden face

Razia sources pre-treated recycled wood from a furniture shop and gets it laser cut. Though Razia herself does the major work of painting, she is assisted by three artists for finishing and threading. “I love to work with wood as it allows me lot of flexibility. I can beat it, engrave on it.” The pieces are huge and quite light. She has also put in a lot of effort to give it several layers, dimensions and thickness.

Starting off from ₹2100, Razia feels her jewellery are for those who appreciate the hand-crafted, for they are not easy on pocket. To buy her pieces, visit or visit Nimai in Delhi, GVK New Museum Store at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai etc.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:59:02 PM |

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