Morhis makes pearl and shell jewelry in his fishing village on the edge of Chennai. His family have been involved in fishing for as far back as they can collectively remember. He took the time to show Katey how to tell a real pearl from a fake by holding the pearl to a flame (Do not try this at home!). He also showed her the string he uses in his jewelry which is the same string his family uses to repair their fishing nets. The shell jewelry is made from the large shells they find in the area. There are three layers to the shells, and he also does carvings to reveal the different colored layers. But the jewelry is all made of the inner layer with some pieces dyed in bright fun colors.
Lalitha and her family make beautiful, bright baskets and woven goods. They start by collecting palm fronds and drying them. Some sections are then dyed with natural floral extracts to produce the bright colors. They then weave the sections, cut into various widths, to make the various items. The baskets are not only pretty, but durable, 100% natural, and useful!
Zeenat and her family were originally from Rajasthan, but have lived in Chennai for many years. She makes the lac bangles as well as notebooks, earrings, and other small things. Lac is a type of resin which is collected, melted, and dyed in various colors (and glitter can be added as well for extra sparkle!). It is then applied to the base item, such as the bangles and the notebooks. On the bangles, she then swirls in a second color for some contrast. On the notebooks she presses in little pieces of mirror and plastic flowers to create designs. Once it is dry, they are ready to use!
All of the items produced by our new friends in Chennai will soon be in the shop!