Minimal. Strong Form. Experimental. These are the words we think of when KICHU’s jewellery comes to mind. It is an eponymous label started by Kichu Dandiya who studied jewellery design at Central St. Martins, College of Art and Design and is a trained bench jeweller. Her brand was conceptualised when she made the move to Jaipur, and saw that independent jewellery design was at a very nascent stage in India. Jaipur as a city lends itself to inspiration, experimentation and resources - all of which Kichu used to create her base.
Conceptualising an entire collection is no easy job - this we know. What’s interesting is each designer’s different approach to getting started. Kichu told HG “It always starts with making one piece that sets the tone for the entire collection. Assessing what lacks in the collection does help. It’s always a combination of drawings and working on the bench.” The collections tend to sing a song of minimalism with bold tones and uncomplicated design. Kichu doesn’t quite find inspiration in themes, but in strong forms instead. She says, “I like changing the tone of the themes, but one thing I realised that stays quite coherent in my jewellery is strong forms and good finish. Music does help a lot while working and really sets the tone. These days it’s been Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals.”
There’s a certain discipline to Kichu’s creation process so the jewellery stays true to her design philosophy that’s inspired by urban cultures. When you think of high-end jewellery, images of diamond-encrusted metal comes to mind but Kichu hopes that will change soon. All her pieces are extremely wearable on an everyday basis but that doesn’t mean there’s any compromise on the quality of materials that are welded and twisted into these contemporary designs.
While creating for the modern Indian woman, Kichu loves experimenting with techniques from across the country, as she draws on India’s rich design heritage. By turning the spotlight on Indian handicrafts, the designer hopes to share the stories of her products, so buyers know exactly where their pieces are coming from, the history of the technique and how it is made. She hopes that, by doing this, each KICHU piece will allow its wearer the opportunity to imbibe these in their own personal style.
She’s ready to embark on a new adventure for her next collection - designed specifically for travel with a focus on durability and function as well as form.
Breaking down the Process
KICHU has worked on a series of WIP shots where we follow the journey of a piece of jewellery and how it comes to life. It all begins with making the mould. “The first step includes making a wax model of the desired piece. It is similar to carving. Wax, being a softer medium works perfectly to make models. Also, it is very important that the material in which the initial model is made, is able to burn or melt away in the process of making a dye,” Kichu explains.
Once the wax model has been made, a rubber dye is made encasing the model and taking the negative of its shape thereby forging a rubber mould. The wax is then melted away, leaving a mould cavity. This rubber mould is then injected again with another jewelry rubber. Multiples of this are done and then a tree is formed. This tree is then put into a round flask which is then filled with plaster. When the plaster hardens, the wax mould is put into a kiln at a high temperature.
The wax melts and is eventually poured out creating a cavity within the plaster. Metal is then melted and poured into this plaster cavity, taking the shape of the tree and you finally have multiples of the desired piece. Once the tree has been broken and individual pieces have been obtained, the jewelry then goes through filing and finishing processes. Scroll on for an inside glimpse of studio KICHU and the whole designing process.
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