My passion for jewellery-making began three years ago, when I was living in Sydney, Australia. Then it seemed a natural progression in my quest to find expression through media such as oil painting (my oils and watercolours have been displayed at several solo exhibitions) and crafts such as quilt-making. Bead jewellery, however, with its diversity of methods, techniques and traditions, is now front and centre of the avenues of my creative expression.

Jewellery has always fascinated me, but not merely for the value of jewels or the elegance of individual pieces. What I have found more fascinating are the ways individual cultures and ethnicities seek expression through jewelled ornamentation that is unique to themselves, whether the ‘jewels’ are beads, corals, precious metals, gemstones, pearls, coloured seeds or even bits of bone or shell. They all can and have been used by people past and present to help express themselves, and each of their traditions can enrich us all.


For example, from my youngest years I used to admire the pieces of traditional Kandyan Jewellery that my mother had. The combination of rubies, emeralds and pearls that embellished them put this combination at the centre of my favourite colour palettes. 

Beginning a course in jewellery-making paved the way for me to venture into the diverse techniques of bead weaving. And then I found Kumihimo! The possibilities this ancient Japanese art-form offers to blend colour, subtlety and grace to form its magical and sinuous shapes made it something I felt I had to master. It is now for me something bordering on obsession: I can’t seem to stop, because almost every day another idea, a different challenge, springs to mind. 

I am never happier than when seated at my work-table, on a little platform over a pond teeming with colourful fish, looking across my beautiful tropical garden in the outskirts of Colombo, often with another Kumihimo aficionado for company. Boko, our adorable Labrador retriever, invariably snoozes at my feet, snoring gently. And after work each day my husband pops his head in to inspect my day’s work and make apparently appreciative grunting noises. I couldn’t ask for better sources of inspiration!
— Janaki

I have been inspired by masters of my art such as Adrienne Gaskell, Ella Dez, Deborah Shipp, and Rebecca Comb, and learned from them not just new techniques but also inspiration to take my jewellery-making skills to a higher level.

I am looking forward to my exhibition, scheduled for 23-24 October 2015 at the Lionel Wendt Centre, in Colombo. While friends have frequently bought pieces of my work in the past, this will be the first time I am exposing my jewellery to a larger—and certainly more critical—audience. I hope to sell most of the dozens of pieces I have created, and plan to donate the proceeds to children's charities.