I have always been fascinated by the art of Bidri — the process of metal transforming into canvas, the attention to detail that’s needed and the crystal-clear inspiration. This is why, when we had an opportunity to work with master craftsman M A Rauf, we dived right into the creative process — a contemporary jugalbandhi so to speak. In order to learn the craft that’s not taught in design school, Rauf began training at the age of 10 under the watchful eye of his father and master craftsman, Janab Shaik Ahmed. Rauf has also received a national award in addition to the Shilp Guru Award, the most prestigious award for any craftsman in India for his contribution to the revival of Bidri in India.
And so, when their artisan co-ordinator wrote to us in 2020, I was delighted to explore a collaboration.
Text: Sreesha Shetty
Pictured above: Lunar Medallion Plate animation by Rohan Shetty (@brohan_)
A form of artisanal craftwork indigenous to the village of Bidar in Karnataka, Bidri’s origins go as far back as the late 1500s-1600s. The craft’s roots lie in Persia with hints of Turkish and Arabic influences, and yet it has a more minimal character.
Bidri is a unique metalware craft wherein metallic objects are ornamented with silver inlay. A single plate takes about three to four days from start to finish. Each artisan takes upon a special role, painstakingly moulding, designing, engraving, silver inlaying and colouring to create these luminous plates.
Pictured above: M A Rauf hammering the Waning Gibbous Medallion Plate
1. The Song ‘ Satrangi Re’ from the movie Dil Se (1998)
2. Crescent Moon of the second day of the bright fortnight via (@primordiallines)
3. Shine Jumper by (@rashmivarma) via (@elleindia)
4. Campaign Photographed by (@radha.rathi.studio) for (@_naushadali_’s) ‘Soul Summer’ 2016 Collection.
5. (@jilsander) Womenswear Spring Summer 2021 collection via (@stephen.kidd).
6. Typographic Decorations via (@m0henjodaro).
7. Shirin Neshat, 2000 from the Soliloquy Series via (@stephenellcock).
8. Photographed by Prabuddha Dasgupta for Rohit Khosla, 1991.
9. Christian Louboutin x Sabyasachi.
To set the mood for our visual inspiration, we went from drawing inspiration from the Shine mirror work jumper from Rashmi Varma ( @rashmivarma ) to the Louboutin x Sabyasachi collaboration.
Pictured above: Our bestselling Moon Medallion on our Bidri plate
Chiseled, yet with a distinct rawness, the contrasts of Bidri reminded us of our forever muse, the moon. The moon is all about reflection — after all, it reflects the sun’s light. Understanding the moon and learning how to harness its energy can help you reflect on your life, dreams, goals and relationships to help you live your best life. Our idea was to use the hammered technique of our bestselling Moon Medallion on our Bidri plates which we lovingly call the Lunar Bidri Medallion Plate Set.
Pictured above: Lunar Medallion Plate Set
Our take on this craft is a reminder to take a deep breath, focus and celebrate the ebb and flow of life. We hope this labour of love centres you — whether you use it as a meditative point or as a styling piece.
Shop the Lunar Bidriware Plates now.