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Thewa gets a new life

Thursday, May 03, 2018

In 1997, the designer Roopa Vohra accidentally stumbled upon an image of a Thewa artefact—a Mughal creation that became her muse for years to come. Thewa, she discovered, was a 400-year old dying art form, a fusion of gold on glass, practised by artisans. Roopa’s extensive research led her to want to revive the art in the form of couture jewellery. Today, the Roopa Vohra House of Design caters to Bollywood icons as well as to the grandeur of royalty, she says.

This age-old craft is a fusion applique of a piece of patterned work sheet of gold foil which is transferred on to transparent coloured glass.

The piece of glass is then encased in a frame of silver or metal wire. The glass pieces can be any shape. The design is minutely worked out by hand on a 23-carat Sone-Ki-Chadar (gold sheet).

Different sheets of foils are fixed one after the other on the work surface, which is a board covered with a layer of lac. The lac is heated and the metal sheet is pressed tightly and firmly into it.

When the lac cools down, it hardens and holds the metal down while it is being worked upon, resulting in the immaculate fusion of gold and glass.

Roopa says: “For me, Thewa Art and the motivation behind it has always been at the grass-root levels. I feel responsible for the livelihood of artists who have helped keep the art form alive with my help and guidance. Being a male-dominated, patriarch society and industry, initially venturing into this kind of work was challenging but today it is a place of respect and I do whatever I do for the survival of the craft I feel passionately about and the livelihood of all those attached to it.’’

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