Here’s proof that arts and crafts classes aren’t just a way to pass the time. Nimble-fingered Salonee Gadgil decided to turn her kiddie hobby classes into a budding business, using her skills to create one-of-a-kind jewellery out of shells.
“I’m from Goa and have been traveling there a lot over the past couple of years,” says Gadgil. “I’d take a walk on the beach every morning. The moment I decided to make shell jewellery was as random as me spotting some pretty shells and wondering if I could wear them,” she grins.
The self-taught designer figured out a technique to create clay designs on the shells, using a special resin that she formulated. And Shesells was born. “I had never intended for it to be a business. I started wearing some pieces, which people appreciated and began to request for themselves. As the demand grew, I decide to approach stores to stock them,” she mentions.
While she also creates pieces for people who come to her with their own shells, Gadgil only collects materials on her trips to beaches in Goa and around Maharashtra, and so, offers limited collections. “Given the nature of the material, I only make about 30-40 pieces per collection. Sometimes, if I find very few shells, I don’t take any because it feels like I’m causing too much damage,” she admits.
Not a rabid preacher of environmental passions, Gadgil does make extra effort to softly impress eco-consciousness upon her clients with her presentation. Her wares are retailed in cloth bags (sewn on her grandmother’s sewing machine) and sold with tags containing information about the beach that the shells came from. “I thought that if people saw something beautiful and knew where it came from, they would be more hesitant to litter and dirty the place,” she says.
Working with sand, chalk, stone and crushed shells to create a variety of textures, Gadgil’s jewellery retails for Rs 500- Rs 1,500. She says, “I experiment with pearls for the more expensive pieces. But it’s not about the price, I’m just happy if people select a piece they really connect to and wear it with love.”