Rachel Rachna Dhawan's Handmade Jewellery - Brazen Design

Up & Coming - Future Stars
I first encountered Brazen Design jewellery at the Blizzarts sale in December and was taken aback. This is quality handmade jewellery at its best; interesting designs that are as beautiful and inspiring as they are fun. We were lucky enough to catch up with the creator and self confessed maker of bling Rachel Rachna Dhawan. Voilà!

Your collection of jewellery is as amazing as it is eclectic with moustaches, trees and roller-skates on offer, so where do these ideas come from?

Ha ha! Yes, I often wonder how my customers reconcile my different aesthetics - they can be all over the place. Maybe it's my gemini nature. Half of my brain is endlessly mesmerized by the patterns and shapes in nature, especially those found in trees, branches, leaves and newly blossoming buds. The other half gorges on urban iconography, like anchors, crowns and derby girls.

Can you give us a brief glimpse into what it takes to produce one of your pieces?

Most brazen design pieces started their lives as scratchy doodles on paper that I eventually turned into detailed, to-scale drawings in Illustrator using a Wacom tablet. I print that out, and take it into the studio with me where I carve it out of wax or transcribe it onto a plate of silver. Carvings are cast into silver using the lost wax process. Lastly, I attack all pieces with various bits of sandpaper and polishing compound until it looks wearable.

Some pieces come together really fast. Others, like the tree, take many design revisions until I'm really satisfied.

What’s your favourite shop or boutique here in Montreal?

I love our incredible selection of locally-owned boutiques carrying our talented Canadian designs, but if I have to pick one, it's General 54. Located on St Viateur in the heart of the mile-end, this boutique (and it's sister, Local 23) are run by a wonderful group of ladies who have been an instrumental part in making our local hand craft scene what it is.

Which designer is getting you the most excited at the moment?

Oh there are so many up-and-coming talents! But I'm most excited about Pyxus Project: Simone's Rose. Michelle is incredible talented, having honed her skills at a major clothing design label, and her craftsmanship really shows. Her designs stand apart from current trends; they're timeless and sophisticated.


Do you consider Montreal to be an inspiring place to create your bling?

Oh yes - I'm especially inspired by Montreal architecture - I'm originally from Toronto, where most of the gorgeous Victorian stuff has been torn down and replaced by modern highrises. It's also a wonderful place to be surrounded by other creative-minded peeps while maintaining a healthy lifestyle on a small budget.

You create beautiful items for other people, but what is the most precious piece of jewellery that you own?

In my family, we don't have a lot of family jewellery. No heirlooms to pass on, so it's very meaningful to me when a piece of jewellery has history. I have two items that are really dear to my heart:

1. A long and heavy bling gold chain composed of flower shapes with alternating wine and navy enamel centres. My grandmother and grandfather melted all their gold to have it made for my mother when she married my father. My mother gave it to me on my 25th birthday, and though I don't often get to wear it, it's the highlight of my rather massive jewellery collection.

2. An engraved silver cuff that belonged to my partner's grandmother, and gifted to me by his aunt. I get to wear this a lot, as I'm more of a silver vs gold girl (and not being worried about being mugged for it helps, too!) His family has some wonderful items engraved with initials and wedding dates, like silver compact cases with an inscribed address to send away for replacement blush powder.

On your blog you mention that your New Year’s resolution was to only buy second hand or vintage, have you found this an easy resolution to keep? What’s the best bargain that you’ve found?

It's not that hard when you have a wardrobe like mine! A few years ago, my resolution was to not shop at all for a year, and I discovered the most amazing things in my own closet!

Actually, my resolution this year is to buy second hand, vintage or Canadian-made only. I mentioned in that post that I have an incredible hand-sequined vintage black mini-dress that fits me like a glove and has all these great features, like a thick lining that keeps the sequins from scratching, and like snaps to hold in your bra straps. I got it for $15 at Value Village.

Is there a trend out there right now that you consider a fashion faux-pas?

Aside from leggings as pants?

If you weren’t making jewellery, what would you be doing?

Style consultations, wardrobe makeovers, shopping tours - stuff that you may see me doing later this year! Also, shoe-making, upholstery and stain glass.

If you could hop on the plan to anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?

Tuscany! Ah, to spend my life making olive oil in a villa in Italy!


Please go to the Brazen Design website for more information and go to Rachel's blog here.

written by  www.sugaronmytongue.net



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