Anna Orska traveled to Nepal a year after a strong earthquake left tens of thousands of people homeless and jobless. The designer, after a nearly 30-hour journey, arrived in the village of Pharping, located about 30 kilometers from Kathmandu, where she settled in a Buddhist monastery and opened a temporary jewelry workshop.
The situation on the ground was difficult, many workshops and ateliers, destroyed during the 2015 disaster, have not returned to normal operation. Therefore, the artist decided to open her own studio. "However, before we can fully get started with the work, I need to stock the workshop with the necessary materials," – describes Anna Orska in her travel diary. "I did my first shopping in Kathmandu in the only store for professionals. Everything is different, many solutions are new to me and I need to test them. I wish my team could see it all. They would be fascinated. After stocking up on tools, I also visited a place where I can buy natural stones. They all come from this area, they were mined here. The store is completely hidden from the public, it looks like a place for insiders. Simply unbelievable! Only raw jewelry stones from Nepal are available there. I still need to find a grinding shop that will make sure they are suitable for use in my designs."
The designer spent almost a month in her newly opened studio creating a new oriental collection with local artisans. The work was coordinated by a hired jewelry master who had grown up in the local community and knew it like no one else. The master wandered all over the village and organized the multitude of items needed. To make a single piece, many people had to visit - someone had a drill, someone else made castings. "For me, this way of working is a complete novelty. I walk behind my master and my eyes are wide with amazement. Everything has to be arranged, determined, organized. And yet, despite many adversities, everything works and the concept slowly becomes a real object." - noted Ania in her diary.
The artisans with whom the artist had the opportunity to work have perfected their skills throughout their lives. The knowledge here is passed down from generation to generation. The intricate designs require patience, precision, a trained hand and a skilled eye. "The masters I work with are very hardworking and experienced. However, the whole process is a big challenge for me. I had to change my approach to everything. I had to tame the richness of ornaments and embellishments in the local designs, define my concept of time and get used to working with very limited tools." - recalls the designer. A woman in a workshop is a rarity in Nepal, so initially Ania's presence aroused suspicion. The designer took her first lessons almost in secret, under the watchful eyes of the men watching over her. With time, everything changed. - "I really think that the masters here are amazing. Even the biggest problem manages to be solved with a smile. The Nepalese people are very friendly to me, which, with minor setbacks, gives encouragement and doesn't let me give up.”
After spending more than a month on the floor, sitting with crossed legs and diligently studying under the guidance of specialists, Ania returned to Poland. "The jewelry masters in Nepal, using techniques unknown to me, are able to create beautiful and absolutely unique designs that I could not have made without their help. I am extremely grateful to them for this." - says Ania and adds - "On the other hand, as I had the opportunity to see for myself, Nepal is a difficult region heavily affected after the earthquake. Therefore, I am very happy that by giving them work I can help at least a little."
The handcrafted jewelry that came to ORSKA boutiques from the high Himalayas was created in the vast majority of silver. All ornaments were made by local artists using the repoussé technique. This old method of decorating metal involves hammering out designs with a special chisel, resulting in a convex ornament on the outside. The jewelry is decorated with organic ornaments, usually floral, which thoroughly cover each piece. The collection features emeralds that come from the borderlands of Nepal and India. They have a special meaning there, bringing good luck and protecting against evil. "I hope that these exotic talismans and magical stones will bring good luck to their new owners. The collection from Nepal has amazing roots. It is absolutely unrepeatable."