By Shabna Cader
27 year old Sara Nazoor is a self taught jewellery artist, mother of one and also an advocate for mental health. She has been creating jewellery since the age of 13, and also walked around our island home in 2018 to raise awareness on mental health and suicide prevention.
Her jewellery brand ALKE is sustainably based and includes statement pieces.
Excerpts from a conversation with Sara:
What inspires or ignited your passion towards design and art?
For me it’s a way of bringing my perspective of events, emotions and memories into tangible form. Also the whole process, from conception to final product is challenging and quite satisfying. Every piece I create takes me on an adventure and I love that.
What’s the best thing about being the boss of your own business?
It’s the flexible working hours! Also I get excited about things like having a business card for something I created.
How would you describe your design aesthetic and collections?
My designs are more towards bold statement pieces and I believe they tend to be more contemporary jewellery than traditional.
What motivates and inspires you?
When I see people wearing something I made, that really motivates me to create more. Also for me, making jewellery is a way of expressing my feeling; whenever I am overwhelmed by emotions you would notice me scribbling designs on any surface.
How important are sustainable practices to you and why?
I would say sustainability is on the very top of my priority list. I believe that beautiful jewellery should use material that is ethically sourced or recycle existing material. There is an entire under-researched area of how costume jewellery might contribute towards environmental pollution and on the flip side fine jewellery also is known for unethically sourced material and so on; it is a problem ALKE is attempting to solve.
What goes into creating sustainable pieces of jewellery?
Recycled and ethically sourced material made and designed by people who are paid fair wages for the work they do. It also includes quite a lot of background research for each design.
Describe a typical day in your life.
My day usually begins with my little toddler waking me up by either climbing on me or abruptly getting out of bed. After coffee, wash and breakfast I usually head in to my workshop while sorting her with a basket of toys plus random objects. Depending on the day, I would either focus on researching for a design, sorting out accounts and orders or making pieces. I usually don’t get to work for long because the busy bee will be done playing with all her toys and the rest of the day is mostly spent playing with her, doing a grocery run or finishing up the household chores until she takes her first nap.
That’s when I get to go back to finishing what I started. All this happens before lunch on a good day, which is before 2.00 p.m. Afterwards, till around 6.30 p.m I will mostly be spending time with my daughter as is normal, replying to emails, handling social media and handing over orders. My husband takes over parenting duties after his work. On a very productive day I would end up going to bed by midnight or one in the morning.
What challenges have you faced and overcome in the past few years as a jewellery designer?
Self doubt is something that doesn’t let you take a step forward, and it can cripple you with fear, but my support system of friends and family helped me figure it out. And it also helps to have mentors and like-minded people who I was introduced to through the Hatch Kickass boot camp. The programme empowered me to seek more opportunities.
What materials do you enjoy using the most when creating a piece?
I would say using waste material and combining them with precious or semiprecious metal or stones.
Describe your most recent and current collection showcasing at PR.
“Dakuna” is a collection that explores my relationship with the southern part of the island. Since both of my parents hailed from Galle, almost all my childhood holidays were spent at my grandparents’ house. As a child I adored this place, and the freedom it brought along with it, and later on I also had the opportunity to visit other fascinating areas, experience different communities within the province. This collection is a celebration of memories, phrases and experiences gathered throughout the years within the southern part of the island. It includes the sun, sea, sand and most of all people and community at the heart of it.
ALKE is currently on display and available at PR, No 41 Horton Place, Colombo 7.