In today's Behind Handmade Ho Down, we meet our Promotions and Advertising Chair as well as the Ruler of All things Financial, Nilufur Smith of Earth Cultured.
Nilu grew up in an artistic family in San Francisco, but only recently found her "artsy" niche. She probably never would have found it, if it wasn't for her travel bug.
After living in Hawaii for 6 years, Nilu and her husband decided to dump all of their "possessions" and buy 2 backpacks. They were ready to leave the islands for some adventure. With packs on their backs, they traveled for one year throughout Oceania, South East Asia and India. Once they arrived in the Himalayas of India after almost 10 months of on-the-go travel, there was a strong desire to "settle down" for a bit. They ended up living in the Himalayas, 1.5 hours West of Nepal, for 4 months. The sites, the smells, the people and the natural beauty drew them in deeper every day.
One day, by chance, Nilu entered a store run by a very young man, known locally as the Mala Walla (in Hindi, "Mala" means "necklace" and "Walla" means "Master"). Originally enticed into the store by the homemade poi hanging on the door (Nilu spins fire), her attention was immediately diverted to all of the really cool necklaces hanging on the wall.. Seeing the sparkle in Nilu's eyes, the Mala Walla insisted that Nilu and her husband stay for some chai tea and conversation.
While sitting on the floor, drinking chai, and listening to Hindi house music, they had the chance to look through most of the beautiful stones the Mala Walla had stocked up for his necklaces. He explained the ancient technique monks used to bound their healing stones, so that they could wear them daily.
From that day forward, a cherished friendship was formed. Nilu would sit with him for hours on end, every day, drinking chai, all while learning about the art of macrame, selecting and netting beautiful cabochons, and learning of the healing properties of gemstones. After four short months, her clumsy fingers (along with her husband’s) were creating beautiful necklaces that enabled any wearer to carry healing properties with them.
They left India and the island life, to start a life again in San Francisco, where Nilu was raised and has family. Now a year late, when she is not designing necklaces, you can find Nilu and her wares at the Coastside Farmers Markets in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay. Other times, you are sure to find her bouncing around town to live music, house music, and anything in between (which usually involves a costume of sorts). :D
Nilu is an amazing member of the Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew. As the latest member and addition to our Crew, Nilu has had no problem taking responsibility to a different level, and her attention to detail makes her the best person to be handling our purse strings.....
You can buy her necklaces from her Etsy Shop, Earth Cultured.
To learn more about Earth Cultured, feel free to check out the Earth Cultured website.