I’ve always found that inspiration comes in many forms - whether it’s an unforgettable meal, through textures, or smells that transport you to past experiences… the possibilities are endless. Sensory stimulation definitely plays a role in driving creativity and it’s something I’d love to explore more.
In this new series, Talking Senses, I’ll be talking to creatives from different fields to find out how each of their senses plays a role in seeking inspiration and cultivating creativity.
To kick things off, I thought I’d share the role of senses in my creative practice.
Given that my focus is on jewellery and adornment, it seems fitting to start with SIGHT.
Colour is an incredibly important factor in my work - take a look through my collections and you’ll see an array of colours across the pieces. I find that orange is my power colour though. It makes me feel empowered and full of creative energy. At a time when I was at my lowest, I kept being drawn to it. Orange became my colour for hope, and made me feel ready to conquer anything. It’s also the colour of the sacral chakra, where a lot of warmth, creativity and female power is held.
Visualisations also play a hugely significant role in my creative practice. I find that mind maps are my go-to for new projects - they serve as a way for me to get my ideas down on paper and start organising my thoughts.
And of course, a moodboard is a given. I use textures, colours and patterns to curate inspiration and document ideas for my work. Hand in hand with my mind maps, the moodboards help me draw out key words, patterns and colours that can become the basis of a collection.
When it comes to actually creating, the environment has a huge impact on my emotions and energy. This is where SOUND really comes into play. In fact, music is really important for the way I navigate my day as a whole. I have a playlist of just Indian flute for the mornings, providing the soundtrack while I journal and ground myself for the day. I pick up the pace with something more upbeat - usually a Bhangra track - as I make my way to the studio.
Once I get to the studio and start making, I tend to opt for a mix or playlist from some of my favourite DJs who usually combine South Asian sounds with Afrobeats and dancehall. Some of my favourite DJs include Arthi, DJ Sudi and Goldtooth. I have also been learning how to DJ this year with the incredible Mix nights initiative by Saffron music. For me learning how to DJ was something that really helped pushed me out of my comfort zone as well as learning a new creative skill for myself as a hobby.
I have recorded my first mix as a DJ in training (all mistakes included) that I am finally sharing, hope you like the song selection.
I know that a big part of being able to stay energised and motivated is nourishment, but admittedly when I’m in full work mode, this often slips (oops!). But when it comes to TASTE, food really is the way to my heart. At home, I find cooking really relaxing. It’s a great way to decompress from a stressful day - especially when I can be fully present.
While there isn’t a particular dish that’s sparked an idea for me, the art of cooking has inspired me for sure. In particular, I have fond memories of watching my Nani cooking when growing up; the love, care and attention she had when making her dishes was so special. I even see that in my mum today - the pleasure she takes in getting the best fresh fruit and veg, and choosing it so carefully. I guess seeing the way they both use the masala box - never a measurement, just a special hand that knows how much - has been really inspiring! I even did an art project about it for school. We all probably know the struggle of trying to get a recipe from an older relative; no clear measurements, (seemingly) arbitrary amounts…and yet their dish turns out the same each time. It sparks that idea of “trusting your gut” I suppose, they just know!
And speaking of my Nani, her memory is one that’s linked to SMELL as well. I have one of my Nani’s saris that I asked to keep after she passed away. It’s one that I remember her folding in half and tying it on me as a young girl. I’ve kept it in a cover to preserve it, and her. I remember always smelling it when I wanted to feel her close.
Scent also plays a role in my creative process. I light incense every time I sit down to explore a new idea or collection. Part of designing something for me is being in an environment I find inspiring and calm – and smell is a big part of this! Jasmine is one of my most favourite smells as it reminds me of trips to India with my family.
Given that I’m a jewellery designer, TOUCH is so important to me, as the pieces I create will always be in contact with the bodies of those they adorn.
Texture is my language in so many ways. I even studied textiles at university! Material play and combining various materials together has been something that has always excited me in my work!
There’s also a physical object that is so important to me: A gold bangle my nani gave me when I was a baby. I’ve only started wearing it everyday in the last few years but it makes me feel safe and grounded. It’s also a reminder to me that jewellery can have that impact on the wearer, and it’s something that I always bear in mind when creating my pieces.
I hope you enjoyed the first instalment of Talking Senses! I love the idea of learning about how the senses impact other creators - both in their work and their everyday lives. Stay tuned for the next in this series, coming soon!