Designed and created by Chanyado’s Aleya Kassam
Signature beads made from recycled Kitengela Hot Glass, one by one
Concept and photography by Wambui Mwangi.
“In 2020, my mum and I walked a lot.
Through our masks we'd talk. And some days we wouldn’t.
At a time when many of us around the world were trying as much as possible to stay in one place, we were grateful for movement, and for an interruption in the sameness of each day.
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, shapes, shades, 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 gave us respite.
It offered pause, presence gratitude...an invitation to come closer, inhale deeper, seek from a different angle, reach low, look high, close your eyes.
You are alive.
You are of this earth."
This collection is a praise song for nairobi flora.
So 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.
Then, the sensory searches for form in a series of sketches - an idea begins to germinate.
Each unique beade, different shapes, colours, textures are like characters in a story, if you listen to them whisper, they reveal their journey, and the design emerges, (sometimes with difficulty) always beautifully.
For a moment, the piece rests.
The elements that are typically covered up in a piece of jewellery form part of the design, since the goal is not perfection but delight.
And the philosophy of chanyado is delight.
Because remember when you last sat under a tree, toes wriggling in the grass, watching the dust dance in the light?
That is chanyado.
This spirit of dancing glittery dust is in every creation.
As a writer, storyteller & performer, each piece starts with story & ends with drama, and my creations are often called performance jewellery...designed to stand out.
However, I insist on comfort and test each piece myself.
And only when I am delighted, is the piece declared ready, and sent off to the wearer with a hand-written love note.
Because the only thing I love more than delight, is love.
And I hope you love how delightful Nairobi Flora makes you feel.”
- Aleya Kassam, Chanyado