Have you ever sat in the shade of a tree, toes wriggling in the grass, and watched glittering particles of dust dance in the rays of light that stream through the branches?
That is chanyado - respite from the sun.
It is this spirit of glittery dancing dust that is imbued in every piece Aleya Kassam creates. Her philosophy is delight.
Alongside creating jewellery, Aleya is a writer, storyteller and performer - each creation begins with a story and ends with a flair of drama. Her pieces have been referred to as performance jewellery; they shimmer and jingle, move and groove, and are designed to stand out. Hers is not jewellery you forget you are wearing, however, she does insist on comfort and tests each piece herself before it leaves her hands.
Featured in Vogue 2020 for a wedding piece, her jewellery has comprised of commissions and bespoke gifts. Nairobi Flora is Aleya Kassam's first public collection for sale.
"From March 2020, mum and I walked around our neighbourhood a lot. A lot.
Every day we'd tie our shoelaces, tie cloth masks around our faces, place little plastic bottles of sanitiser in our pockets and we'd go off for a walk on the same path.
We'd talk. And some days we wouldn't talk.
Every day we'd notice the flora; the budding and blooming and drooping and withering and falling, the explosions of colour and intricacies of pattern, the shapes and shades, the unfurling and folding, the surprise flowering and carpets of petals, the disease and blossoming, the constant there-ness and so many ways of being.
Nairobi flora offered beauty at a time we needed it. It offered a moment of pause, of presence of gratitude, an invitation to come closer, inhale deeper, seek from a different angle, bend low, look high, close your eyes."
Feel. Imagine. Be.
It starts with flora; a fern arched over brick, violet irises fluttering open at sunrise, raindrops on saffron sepals, the fragrance of raat ki rani streaming into the night.
This collection is a praise song for nairobi flora.