Welcome one and all to the start of ‘Things Made with Hands’. It’s a series in which I have explored, learned, documented, and am excited to share the art, craft, creations and masterpieces of wonderful folks from around Nepal who are making things with their hands.
The talented craftswoman in the featured photo above is Usha, a Nepalese woman who taught herself to make jewelry and is now on a path of sharing her knowledge with others through workshops. Her inspiration came from jewelry that she had seen other women, both locals and tourists, wearing when she was a young girl in Kathmandu. Since making her first necklace, which she spent months collecting beads for because she had no money to buy any, she has been improving her creations using a variety of materials from felt, to glass beads and most recently she has been experimenting with an unexpected material – soap nuts. The soap nuts are native to Nepal, making them highly sustainable, and not to mention surprisingly elegant. They are the round black beads you seen on her left arm. The other great part about using the soap nut as a bead is that the rest of the nut is used to make an organic soap with; nothing goes to waste.
Its been 13 years and her passion has only changed slightly, for as much as she loves making jewelry Usha says goal is to teach other Nepalese woman and empower then to be more financially and socially independent. She is not only teaching women to make the jewelry, but also giving lessons on marketing and best practices to sell it.