Hello! My name is Subhadra Lakshmanan and I am the founder/designer of Mrinmayee - Born From The Earth which I started in 2014 quite serendipitously. I live with my husband and 7 year old son in Dublin located in breathtakingly beautiful Ireland.
I'm a Mechanical/Materials engineer major but my undying love for everything silver is what drives me to create pieces that are inspired by the tribes of the world and are yet completely Indian at heart. A one-woman army, I design and handcraft jewellery in my home studio where I combine silver and semi-precious gemstones to form one-of-a-kind pieces for my brand.
I have always loved the arts – music, dance, painting, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, you name it. But what really stuck with me were jewelry and painting oil colours on canvas from a very young age. I enjoy every moment of indulging in them. When I am not working, you can find me blissfully lost in the harmonious sounds of instrumental music, enjoying a performance of classical dance, catching up on the latest movies or reading my favorite authors - Jhumpa Lahiri and Jeffrey Archer.
CURATOR TO CREATOR - THE INSPIRATION
I credit my whole, sole inspiration to my paternal grandmother. She was a lady way ahead of her times. She absolutely loved and adored jewelry, particularly silver and I guess she passed on her passion to me both in the genes and in inspiration.
In a country where we live and breathe gold, she always begged to differ and bought me my first pair of silver earrings when I was 8 years old. I developed immense interest in collecting one-of-a-kind earrings and bangles. I got particularly drawn to silver due to its neutral effect on any kind of attire. It just seemed to match every dress I wore, immaterial of the colour, pattern or texture. I had always noticed the brilliance of gemstones (particularly semi-precious) in gold jewellery but felt they needed a better companion to stand-out. What more, when I started collecting semi-precious gemstone jewellery that had been paired with silver I discovered the possibilities and varieties were endless!
I have been a curator for more than 25 years now. I was only happy researching and reading about various materials (being a Materials Engineer myself!) and their jewellery making techniques until I came to a situation where I needed to find some nice thank you gifts for my little one’s Montessori teachers. I decided to give it a personal touch by making earrings for them and thus embarked on my first journey towards jewellery making.
It then progressed towards making small necklace-earring-sets as birthday/wedding gifts for my husband’s colleagues and friends around here. At one time my friends and family suggested making pieces to sell exclusively and I put off their idea at first but I just couldn’t resist making more as I myself love jewellery so much and nothing else made me more content and happy. So here I am, doing something I never imagined I would do but can’t stop now because I’m so passionate about it!
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
When I first started, I used to source elements as and when I saw them and then sit down to derive designs using them. That was quite challenging and fun. Of late, I have started enjoying sketching out my designs in detail and then sourcing materials as required. I sketch everything from stones and silver that’ll be used, colors and shapes to the lengths.
Though there are some amazing options in alloyed metals I like to keep my love for silver to the core and mostly use either Sterling Silver (92.5% silver content) and/or Thai Karen Hill Tribe Silver (97-99% silver content) though occasionally I like to experiment with brass. On one side Sterling silver gives me the solid foundation in my pieces, Thai Karen silver on the other adds a rustic raw handmade touch to it. When I design a piece I imagine it on three attires – a traditional Indian attire (like a saree or a salwar-kameez), an Indo-fusion attire (like jeans with a kurta) and a completely western outfit (like a skirt/pant suit or a dress). I have been fortunate to have lovely customers who chose to wear my pieces with all these attires.
In either case I always follow the principle of not having more than 10 pieces per collection and I never make more than one piece of a single design except rarely. Each piece is one-of-a-kind. Once that is in place it’s a bit of a waiting period while the materials arrive during which time I plan my photo-shoots. I always like to finish making all the pieces before proceeding to take pictures. I find this part of the whole creative process the most stressful and most time-consuming because this is what the whole world is going to see; so it needs to be every bit perfect.
The photo-shoots are followed by lots of sorting and editing and many hours at the computer getting my collection social media and buyer ready. Once I’ve given this a satisfactory green signal, I launch the collection to my lovely audience.