Handmade Heroes: Meet Supriya of Jasmine White London

09th June 2014

It’s been a couple of weeks since we last posted a ‘Handmade Heroes’ post, in which we interview someone who makes a living creating something lovely with their hands. Don’t worry though, the Handmade Heroes slot is back today, and today the spotlight is firmly on a lady who doesn’t fear the usually-dreaded clashing colours combo. Instead, she embraces it, and makes a range of beautiful enamelware and textiles to take pride of place in your home.

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Introducing…Supriya Broadbent of Jasmine White London – a gorgeous interiors site we think you’ll love. A site about ‘handcrafted pieces for giving and living’, Supriya takes inspiration from the jasmine flower for the ever-growing range, which includes mugs, oven gloves, aprons and decorative hanging birds.

Supriya Broadbent, Founder

Above: Supriya Broadbent of Jasmine White London

Drawing inspiration from her life back in India and in the UK, Supriya uses traditional crafts and skills from communities in her home country. Here on the blog today, she’s telling more her life, loves and inspiration for the colourful brand:

Distinctive Chesterfields (DC): Hi Supriya. With summer in full swing, have you any special plans, or any new designs on the way?

Supriya: Summer is always special – the anticipation of better weather, shiny and bright days that correspond with our designs! We usually head off to Cornwall during the holidays, so that will be on the cards during late summer for us. Prior to that, it is fairs and shows to launch new Jasmine White products.

We have just pre-launched our new ‘Made in England’ range of Navy Canvas and leather totes which have had a wonderful reception – watch the website for news!

DC: You take inspiration for your stunning collection of enamelware from the Jasmine flower, which I believe is how you got your name also. Tell us a little more about what inspired the brand in general?

Supriya: I am inspired by fragrant and fine things, such as the white Jasmine flower. To enjoy these things, you have to stop and make time for them. The jasmine flower inspires me because it is beautiful to look at, and also has a very pleasing fragrance. Its variants are equally as lovely and the idea was to look for similarly beautiful patterns that would appeal in their form and design.  This brought about my own designs inspired by my life in India and England. Jasmine White came about to enable us to bring to market products that would offer the opportunity to surround ourselves with these lovely products. I love organic and natural fabrics and try and use these as much as possible in our textile range.

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Jasmine flower: Image, via Google Images.

DC: It’s clear that a bright colour palette inspires your collection, too. Does this also reflect your sense of style? Are you a fan of wearing colour, or do you prefer a more neutral palette?

Supriya: It’s funny, for someone who is inspired so much by colour, I do wear more predictable neutral colours, although I do add a splash of colour here and there. I do notice that by using colourful accessories, you do lift your mood, and also feel quite amazing. It’s that ‘million dollar feeling’ that colours bring, which clearly gets my attention. On a recent visit to an interiors show, I realised that all the grey, neutral and pastel stands went into a blur, although they were lovely, and the only three I could recall going to were ones which were interestingly, full of colour-not all vibrant, but lovely rich and deep shades, but colours nevertheless. I do enjoy wearing some statement pieces combined with very understated items.

“It’s that ‘million dollar feeling’ that colours bring, which clearly gets my attention”

DC: You grew up in India, where production uses skills and crafts inherited through generations within communities. How important is it that you pass on your skills to your own family, and inspire a younger generation in the process?

Supriya: To me it is very important. I appreciate a lot of things more as a result of my growth as a person, where I realise that what we surround ourselves with is what we are likely to leave behind for our children, and future generations. Coming from a country where there is an abundance of such skills and not a lot of these get appreciated by the communities themselves or are overlooked because they aren’t a means to produce an income and thereby sustain life itself, the need for preservation is very obvious to me. The intention behind Jasmine White London is to be able to support communities with a viable income stream whereby inherited skills get passed down through generations and valued, not just as a commercial vehicle. Urbanisation is an increasingly real threat resulting in displacement of communities, so we try and provide an income to these areas which helps them make a sustainable living rather than end up in slums.

I am also very aware of social issues and strongly believe in women’s rights. If we can somehow contribute to supporting communities and educating women, we contribute to uplifting society as a whole. The segregation of skills due to one’s gender is another issue that I would like to be able to address. Hence with our hand painted products, I encourage that girls get involved in these should they wish to, in a manner that it doesn’t affect their education, and provides them with a method to learn skills which men would have otherwise retained. In Srinagar, Kashmir, one of our senior artisans is now training women to now make our hand painted products, so we make sure we implement what we intend as much as we can.

DC: Tell us a little about your collection; what does it include and what’s your favourite piece and why?

Supriya:  My collection features pretty florals which are obvious in our hand painted enamelware. These are inspired from the vibrant beauty of colourful flowers that grew in our garden in Ooty (a hill station in South India) as a child growing up. In my textiles range I have tried to capture the beauty of everyday birds, such as robins and hummingbirds in silhouette. The twitter of birds at dawn is something that a lot of poems are written about in Hindi literature, and my love for these has grown with my life in England, especially everyday birds such as robins and sparrows and finches. My Birds of Paradise design really brings the two worlds together for me.

Indian Street is an attempt to capture the life, sounds, and sights on India’s streets. Dominated by vehicular and human traffic, it leaves a lasting impression on you, and one that I tried to capture using some prominent aspects of these.

Leaping Reindeer was purely an attempt to capture the magic of Christmas for my little boy William, whose absolute delight and belief in Christmas and Santa is quite infectious.  There is a subtext of script in the design which to me is bringing together of messages of love from loved ones transcending the separation of time and distance.

Stars came about when designing a child’s quilt for my boys, and it is in soft hues as it specifically came about when designing for a child the magic of stars and night time. We have added hand embroidered stars trying to imbibe the kantha tradition which I believe adds to the product design.  We now have a kitchen ware range to match each colourway in this design, as well as matching linen cushions. We are going to introduce this in new colourways due to customer demand.

I love all my designs equally, of course, but the ones I make for my children are definitely special to me.

Jasmine White London

Above: Some beautiful products in the Jasmine White London range

“Indian Street is an attempt to capture the life, sounds, and sights on India’s streets. Dominated by vehicular and human traffic, it leaves a lasting impression on you, and one that I tried to capture using some prominent aspects of these.”

DC: Which – if any – are your favourite interiors trends for 2014 and beyond?

Supriya: Colours, and use of natural fabrics, I love the fact that we are now seeing a return of colour in Interiors and hope this will continue for a while.

DC: What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to read, listen to music and travel. Time permitting, I would love to read some more books.

Supriya:

DC: Finally, what’s in the pipeline for yourself and the Jasmine White brand?

I am quite keen to develop some more designs on natural fabrics, again using traditional skills but encouraging community enterprise as it is my firm belief that with enterprise comes the ability to justify, encourage and provide education.

On supporting local enterprise in the UK, we are just launching our hand made Navy Canvas and leather tote. It has been designed, hand cut, stitched and finished in the UK.

Development of our homewares will see continuation of colours and patterns. Keep up to date via our blog and website!

Thanks to Supriya for standing in the glow of the Handmade Heroes spotlight this time. Like these interviews? Click here and scroll down the page to view others in this recent series.


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