A Look Back at 2023…

Posted by Anisha Parmar on

You might remember that earlier this year, we launched The APL Journal, a quarterly email zine with articles and interviews. When coming up with this concept, we came up with the tagline of “Notes on Craft, Creativity and Community”. These three Cs really summarise what the APL brand is all about, and so for this year’s review, I thought I’d categorise our key highlights into these three sections.

Craft


 

The Jali Collection:
The launch of this new collection was a milestone in 2023. This was my first collection to include homewares, and I’ve been so humbled by the positive responses! Homewares made sense as a next step for APL (you can read more about that here), but it’s always nerve-wracking to do something new and I had no idea how it would go down.

A huge thank you to everyone who’s bought a piece from this collection, both online and at our market pop-ups!


Empowering Adornments:
This somewhat unexpected mini-collection launch was born off the back of a challenging time for me. I found myself feeling overwhelmed and noticed that when I’m nervous, I have a tendency to fiddle with or hold onto a pendant or necklace I wear. There’s something about having a tangible object that helps me ground myself during moments of stress. 


Et voila, the Empowering Adornments came to be. Each pendant has an affirmation on one side, reminding the wearer of their strength and safety. 

 


 

New Studio:

All my Craft happens in my studio, and this year I moved to a new space. It was so important to me to find a place that ticked all the boxes and felt right, because my studio is my second home! I have spent the last few months really hurting the space and turning into my creative sanctuary. 


Stockists:
I’m delighted to share that my pieces are now stocked at Kastur Jewels in Marylebone, the Migration Museum in Lewisham and Manchester Museum! I’m always looking to get APL pieces out there, and this is such a great step in that direction. Not only because it meant that we were growing but also because these stockists are doing work that is aligned and resonates with what we believe in. 


South Asian Pioneers at the Maritime Museum:
I’m so delighted to have been recognised as a South Asian Pioneer in this display at the  National Maritime Museum. To quote the website: “From musicians and artists to writers, entrepreneurs, directors and designers, all these people are pioneers: breaking new ground and inspiring a renaissance in South Asian creativity.” What an honour for my craft and my wider brand work to be recognised in this way!

Creativity 

I wore my Creative Director and Curator hat so many times this year - not just for my own launches, but through a series of incredible cultural collaborations.


 

My Adornment is My Power:
This project with the National Trust’s Kedleston Hall will stay with me forever. Working with dancer Kesha Rai, musicians The Grewal Twins and my long-time collaborator Ofilate to create a film and series of striking images was an experience like no other. The project featured in a piece in Country Living magazine as well, which was amazing.

Delve deeper here.


Empowering Adornment: Women of Derby

As one of Derby Museums’ Interpretation Producers, I developed a community project looking at what adornment means to us as women of colour who live in Derby, as well as decolonising objects in the gallery itself. Take a detailed look at this project here.


Jewellery Making Workshops:
Coming up with the format for my jewellery making workshops has been a learning curve, but I’ve found a way that has been working wonderfully. It’s one thing for me to have my own process for making, but I needed to think creatively to develop a session that would be engaging, inspiring and welcoming for all. Since moving into my new studio, I’ve hosted a series of workshops so far and feedback has been amazing! Here’s a snapshot of what guests have said:

I booked onto Anisha's jewellery workshop and it was everything I hoped plus more. Hosted in the beautiful coach house, with Anisha giving us expert guidance and also the space to create unique pieces of jewellery, which were creative expressions of ourselves. This workshop really helped fill my soul with joy.”


"Anisha's workshop couldn't have come at a better time. Her studio is set in a beautiful Coach House and the moment I entered I felt a sense of peace. The studio itself allows your creative juices to start flowing. From initial mood boarding to getting hands on with some of the most beautiful APL laser cut pieces, Anisha guided us through the process. It literally was magic seeing the vision board come to life in jewellery form, a true expression of what I was feeling and needed to call into my life. Thank you Anisha for creating a safe and creative space. I couldn't recommend the workshop enough!"

I’m going to do more of these in 2024: check out the first 2 dates I've launched here, both in Derby and hopefully popping up across the country too! Watch this space… 

The APL Journal:

This quarterly zine has been a labour of love. I wanted to create something to spark conversations, inspire ideas, and showcase incredible people in the creative space. The feedback has been brilliant to see, and I can’t wait to bring out more issues of the Journal in 2024.

Have a scroll through our Journal page on our website to read past articles.

Community

Community is such a big part of why I do what I do, and to have seen some of the below events come to fruition has been so fulfilling.


APL  on…
This year, my APL pieces adorned so many incredible people from the South Asian creative community. Definitely several “pinch me” moments on this front…


Meera Syal - Actor & Writer, in our Jhumkas for her BAFTA Fellowship interview


Priya Ragu - Musician, in our Layered Marigolds


Snigdha Sur - Founder and CEO of The Juggernaut in our Baori Hoops for a piece in the Guardian


Richa Moorjani - Actor, Never Have I Ever (Netflix), in our Statement Mor Doorway Earrings


Versha Sharma  - Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue,  in our Layered Mogra Earrings for the Teen Vogue Summit 2023


I’m so chuffed to see my pieces out there on such icons in the creative community! 


Celebrating Indian Excellence with Tiwari Yoga:
After launching my Empowering Adornments collection, a conversation with Angie Tiwari sparked an event this summer. A group of South Asian women gathered to celebrate Adornment and Wellbeing. First, we had a meditation and breathwork session and once the calm and nurturing mood was set, I facilitated a discussion around jewellery and its role in the lives of South Asian women. 

Each guest had brought a piece of jewellery that has a special meaning to them, and we shared our stories, memories and feelings in a deep, almost spiritual conversation. Read more about the event here.

It was such an honour to have this group of guests open up about such personal experiences, and I really hope to be able to facilitate more discussions like this next year.


Shoot Features:
My pieces were featured in a number of shoots this year, for incredible brands:

  • Dishoom launched a limited edition collection of T-shirts featuring trailblazing, rule-breaking women from history in collaboration with illustrator Manjit Thapp, and my pieces were part of the shoot!
  • Our elaborate crowns and statement pieces were featured in Khush Magazine’s Strokes of Summer editorial spread (see more here and here)
  • Designer Sapna Patel had our jewels as part of her photoshoot for her graduate collection (see more from this shoot here and here)
  • Menstrual Care brand Wuka Wear did a “Wuka Wedding” campaign, and I was thrilled that Neelam, the stylist, chose APL jewels as part of the looks! The campaign images even featured on billboard in Westfield White City, and here you can see the amazing Seema Anand check hers out!



PLUS I…

  • …Was on a panel with Crafty Fox about diversifying your income talking about how I balance my brand and artistic practice. 
  • …Popped up at Netflix, Dialled In, Crafty Fox, Women of the World Festival, the Blindian Project, the Warner Bros UK offices and more
  • …Became a Trustee for Derby Museums


Aaaaand *exhales*.


Time to wind down for a bit, I think! A big thank you to each and every person who’s bought, supported, collaborated, helped and shouted about APL this year. Every action helps boost small businesses like mine, and I truly appreciate it.


Here’s to a new year that brings an abundance of success and joy to all of us, in whatever form we need.

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