Jewellery label Form Surface blends ethnic motifs with geometry
A course in Art History from Karnataka Chitra-kala Parishat found Poornima Subramanian appreciating the aesthetic detailing in the artwork her lessons exposed her to. This was nothing out of the ordinary, but underlying those emotions of wonder and admiration, there was something else, a stronger feeling that she couldn’t ignore. “Somehow looking at all those stunning paintings everyday helped me understand that jewellery design is my true calling,” says Poornima. This was about seven years ago, but her label Form Surface was born only in 2017. Her love for art, history and geometric shapes is reflected in her designs that boast a juxtoposition of traditional shapes with clean and sharp lines.
Following her time at CKP, Poornima enrolled at Central St Martins, London for a Masters in Jewellery Design. “It was here that my idea for Form Surface took shape,” says Poornima, whose work sees her shuttling between Bengaluru and Chennai. And while her jewellery line is very wearable, its concep-tualisation is research heavy and industrial. Her first collection, Form Surface — Soil, created as part of her project while studying in London, sees the use of Bidri work. “Bidri craft, the silver inlay work of Bidar, Karnataka is not traditionally used to make jewellery. In India, we are so closed off about the type of materials that can be used for jewellery and I wanted to challenge that,” explains the designer, adding, “So for two years, I worked with artisans in Bidar. I would create the designs and email them across, all the way from London. And when the finished products came to me, I was so impressed that they were cast to perfection.”
The line includes pendants, bangles and earrings that have the ability to effortlessly make a statement, minimalistic though it may be. Her latest collection, Form Surface - Light is slightly more traditional. The pieces are crafted from silver but the metal is given a treatment that bears the Form Surface stamp. “Silver gets heavy and is difficult to wear. I have used a process called electroforming that makes the metal super light while retaining its properties,” she reveals. Light features motifs like peacocks and lions on necklaces, earrings and brooches, but again they are interpreted in geometric ways, staying true to Poornima’s aesthetic. “The pieces with the yazhi (lion) motif are quite popular. These are inspired by the lions that guard that inner sanctum of Hindu temples,” she explains.
With an aim to explore various areas of creative production, Poornima hopes to work with copper and brass to create a completely geometric line, next.