I recently came across a post on Instagram, that made me sit up and take notice. It was of something I hadn't quite appreciated in such a blunt and profound way. The post, brilliantly put together a series of photographs comparing 'things' from current times to those of earlier centuries. The difference was startling: think for example of the beautiful, intricately designed buildings and chapels of European villages versus the sterile matrix like skyline of modern cities. Another example: the iconic design of the classic red telephone box of London streets versus the bland metal and glass structure with bright advertising you might pass by otherwise. Maybe you can see already where I'm going with this?! One more: an old rustic wooden bridge compared with today's metal mega-structures. Yes, our constructions of recent times are still functional, take careful planning and design and are definitely in their own way impressive. However, they lack character and charm and authenticity in a lot of ways since for the most part they are designed to be constructed from factory built components that can easily be replicated and produced 'in bulk'. Ultimately, the simpler the design, the easier its construction. Versus, in past centuries, the use of design not only to create functional structures but, unique art forms in their own right.
In the interest of time and money, we seem to have often done away with beautiful, artistic design and replaced it with a more 'straight lines', mass-producible effect. It got me thinking about everyday items, similarly, lacking handmade unique-ness...replaced instead by our reliance on cheaper, factory-made items. Think clothing, kitchenware, (unfortunately) even some of our food. Bit of a shame really. I also think it influences our outlook on life too. There is often - generally speaking in the western world - less significance placed on the talents of individual pursuits in the arts, literature, faith/spirituality and more on the streamlined opportunities offered in technology. That's not to infer technological advancements aren't in their own way amazing and integral to our development in society; but, should they undermine the opportunity of the individual to shine? Should gross industry and simplistic design overshadow the authenticity and beauty created by the hands of the 'old-school' artist/builder/designer? I hope not! Since, in doing so, we as a society lose touch with what makes us unique in a way too. We lose the community thriving around its farmers market produce in favour of the convenience of the supermarket giants. We forfeit the opportunity to purchase sustainably made clothing and lose our ability to create and repair our own, in favour of a quick purchase at any number of chain stores with the 'same', 'fashionable' pieces. We forgo our individualism for generic opinion influenced by what we see and hear in the media.
The irony that these thoughts stemmed from technology/media is in no way lost on me! I don't want to paint the picture of it being wholly the 'bad guy', I just want to highlight the importance of not letting it 'take over'! To not overlook and rather promote the efforts of individuals: the artists still pursuing and sharing their talents and life's work in spite of the difficulties they face coming up against the mass-producing machines. Since, without them, we lose what we treasure in items and structures of centuries past: beauty, individualism, authenticity, charm, character. Instead our surroundings are at risk of becoming dull, metallic, streamlined, automated, the same.
Which brings me to my ultimate point: we need to strive for a more sustainable model of purchasing rather than the scurry for an end-of-whatever sale. Support small industry, support the artists who keep the world uniquely beautiful. Otherwise, we might look around one day and see nothing of character...just the cold, hard lines of mega-industry.
I'd like to take then the opportunity to highlight the talents of an artist I admire: Shivjyoti. Whose jewellery is self-designed and lovingly assembled from the highest quality products, bringing together beautiful pieces to compliment the individual's spiritual and energetic needs. They are items purchased for a lifetime of wear, embedded with ancient spiritual significance and ritual. Each crystal and Himalayan rudraksha seed a precious gift, sustainably sourced and delicately crafted into a unique piece. They truly are items to be treasured!
Shivjyoti will soon be travelling back to India, from where these special crystals and seeds are sourced. Stay tuned for more stunning designs and a deeper look into how her passion transforms into heartfelt creations.