SOV X Ishma: Making art sexy!

Disclaimer: Today’s blog is a slightly longer read than the previous ones. If your life is as fun as mine, you’ll probably be out, dancing to loud music. Now, since you’re not, you might as well come to terms with your mediocre social life and read the whole damn thing! (Just Joking)


I’m a big enthusiast of art and crafts. As a kid, I didn’t know better than to cut sheets of paper into rather creepy-looking doilies. By the time I passed out of college, I had drafted an entire business plan for a venture involving designs inspired from traditional Indian art.


Unfortunately, (or fortunately) that didn’t happen because I realized that every other woman with some knowledge of fashion is already doing it, so I began blogging (which every other woman with some knowledge of fashion is already doing).


While I was busy being a sloth and still figuring my life out, a couple of my super-smart friends who have the required skill set and passion for craftsmanship started ‘Ishma’, an accessory brand that focuses on contemporizing dying crafts like ‘Thollu bommalata’ or leather puppetry and ‘Pemberthy’ brasswork.

Pretending to work at Ishma. (Not really, I was actually working!) (Also notice the leather hand-harness!)
Now I’m pretending.

Thollu Bommalata is a theatre of shadow puppetry practiced in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Before the advent of television and radio, this form of theatre was what informed people about local folk tales and Hindu epic; Definitely more informative than ‘Rakhi ka Swayamvar’. The puppets that they used were made of leather and were hand painted.

Tholu Bommalatha sheepskin lamps.

Ishma’s inspiration comes from this very art form where they pick artisans from remote villages and train them to work on their designs. When these designs are sent back, the team at Ishma assembles them (by hand) into elegant jewellery. The leather jewellery is made from sheepskin that is hand painted with water-proof ink using a bamboo stick.

Work in Progress at the Ishma studio.

Another art form that inspires them is Pemberthy brasswork which is made with brass sheets (obviously). This method is originally used in the details of temple interiors like the pillars, archways, etc. The sheet is laid on melted lac and once it cools down, they use special tools to emboss designs onto it.

The jewelry by Ishma could be a little over whelming in the sense of design as it’s not exactly conventional. So here are three ways to style their pieces. The mood of the looks is grungy while the styling is in fact, a contrast. This awesome scheme is created by my prodigious photographer, Vamsi! Obviously don’t wear just the black shirt like I did (or wear it, who cares!).

Black boyfriend shirt, black stockings and a lot of gold-dominated accessories!
Seen here: Golden leather choker, Orange leather long chain; Brass peacock pendant and brass earrings.

Try the boho (not-so) princess look where I’ve doubled up the lotus body chain as a summer band.

A rose twist shirt in crépe with a pair of lace shorts and LOTS of jewellery to up the game!
Seen here: Lotus body-chain (on forehead), Blue leather choker, Silver paisley body-chain, leather star ring duo and leather cocktail ring.

Or you could also go for a plain outfit and just focus the attention onto your hand-made jewelry.

Simplicity in a white summer maxi and a few bright chains!
Seen here: Leather long chain, leather body-chain (worn as a sling) and leather cocktail ring. On the hat, a cupcake leather brooch.

I hope I’ve given you some fun ideas. If I haven’t then pick up some stuff from Ishma, style it yourself and send me your photos. Show me that you’re better than me! (Joking)




Buy Ishma jewellery| Ishma/FB
Workshop photographed by Aman With Films| Aman/Instagram
Photography and conceptualisation by Vamsi Krishna Varma|
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3 comments on “SOV X Ishma: Making art sexy!

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