The Story of Nasi Silver as told to Caroline Fakhri by Tamara Katz, Founder and Owner
My idea for Nasi jewellery came to me whilst travelling in South East Asia about four years ago.
I called it Nasi because Nasi means rice in Malay and Bahasa, the language of Indonesia. Why rice? You may ask, and my answer is because of the importance of rice as a staple food for so many countries, a universal soul food if you like; rice is life and rice gives life not only in the way it feeds our bellies but in the jobs it provides. Every day for a month, come rain or shine, I criss crossed the Indonesian paddy fields in my quest to find craftsmen that would help me breath life into my dream, my creations, turning my ideas into lifelong keepsakes for the people that would buy them.
I have always loved creating bits and pieces right from when I was really small. In some ways I have my Mother to thank for this as she was always very encouraging of my creative streak and is extremely creative herself, making wooden toys to sell on their Windsor market stall, which my parents ran together, when they first started out in business. At the time I was about three years old, according to my Mum, and have very little recollection of that time but feel subconsciously I absorbed her creativity.
It was towards the end of my South East Asia trip that I came up with the idea of designing and making jewellery. With still a month to go before I was due to return home, I found myself alone in the city of Kuta, after saying goodbye to a friend at the airport and despite being a busy touristy place full of Australians I felt lonely. After wandering around for a while I spotted a side street which I decided to explore and chanced upon a cafe, well in truth, not much more than a shack with one table and a bench. I ordered my favourite drink, chai tea and paid the princely sum, of the equivalent, of forty eight pence. I took out my sketch book and started drawing, and drawing and drawing, designs for pieces of jewellery. I had some sort of enlightenment that night, staying at the cafe/shack well into the early hours of the morning. The following day I started on my mission to find someone to make my drawings into beautiful timeless pieces you would want to wear forever.
I’ve always loved nature, the intricate details a natural object has, so I wanted to base my designs around these elements; I wanted my jewellery to remind us to get out more into nature and reconnect with ourselves and the natural habitat, go into the woods and forests, scale the mountains and wander the seashores and recognise the power that nature has to heal and bring peace. I would spend hours looking for the perfect shell, marvelling at the detail and incorporate this into my designs, or bamboo and look at the detail in just one bamboo piece. Each and every piece of nature is special.
I continued to draw everything that came into my head. They were all rough sketches and not easy for anyone other than myself to interpret. By chance I had met a graphic designer in Thailand and I enlisted her help in making my drawings neater and easier to understand so someone could make the jewellery for me.
With not a lot of time left before my return home, I spent the last month searching for a craftsman who could make my designs for me. I finally managed to find someone who was prepared to make a small amount of some of my designs. Dody was willing to make less than twenty of any one design. So I chose two different designs for him to work on.
It was soon time to come home and I came back with the belief that Nasi would work and it has. I am still building my collection and have a trip planned to Indonesia in the Spring. I sell my jewellery in my parents’ shop, Estamira Jewels in Northwood and online as well as pop up events and markets around the country, throughout the year. (See below for website)
I have kept designing ever since my return and I want to continue this journey in 2020, taking Nasi from strength to strength. It is not something to be hurried, just like nature, everything unfolds as it should. The flowers bloom when its their time and this is how I run Nasi, but, I hasten to add, all of this has only been made possible by Dody who I started this journey with. Without his vision and faith in my designs nothing would have come to fruition. I have him to thank and I will continue this journey with him. And just like a piece of Nasi jewellery, I look forward to our partnership lasting a lifetime.
Nasi jewellery is designed by Tamara and made by Dody alongside other talented local Craftsmen in Indonesia.
Take a peek at Nasi Silver at www.nasisilver.com or Estamira Jewels 68A Green Lane HA