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Story of Humtsoe Crafts – the First Clay Jewellery Designer from Nagaland

Started with her own motivation and disciplined soul, always keen to learn whenever given the opportunity, Irene Sungbeni is a self taught handmade clay jewellery designer and the proprietor of handmade craft labelled “Humtsoe Crafts” and she is the pioneer of clay jewellery designer from Nagaland.

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We live in a world where many things are mass produced. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. It’s great that some things are manufactured in massive quantities in order to fill a worldwide demand for them.

But it’s also wonderful that more people everywhere are beginning to embrace things that are made by hand in small quantities. In case you haven’t heard, here is why handmade craft matters.

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Started with her own motivation and disciplined soul, always keen to learn whenever given the opportunity, Irene Sungbeni is a self taught handmade clay jewellery designer and the proprietor of handmade craft labelled “Humtsoe Crafts” and she is the pioneer of clay jewellery designer from Nagaland.

She completed her Bachelor of Arts from SD Jain Girls College, Dimapur in English Literature. Irene is supported by her Mom, Dad, two brothers and two sisters.

Apart from jewellery designer, Irene is a Student Union leader of Yanpha Village, Sub division of Ralan Area under Wokha District, also she is serving in church and ministries. 

Irene developed interest in clay designing and took it as an opportunity and started Humtsoe Crafts in 2017 while pursuing her BA. Humtsoe Crafts is a home-based jewellery crafts initially started from tassel earrings, and later she started working on beads and then to clays and resins.

Speaking her experience into clay designing, Irene said that she was quite fascinated when she saw clay jewelleries pictures on the internet. Instantly she made a deep search from YouTube and Google and gradually she managed to know more ideas and details on clay designs. 

Since at that time there was no clay jewellery designer in Nagaland, Irene made a study from Google on which products and company to choose for. She said that YouTube helped her a lot in starting clay works. Irene made herself very productive during the lockdown and she couldn’t believe that clay jewellery would take her to places she didn’t even imagine. 

Highlighting some of the major challenges Irene reveals that as a jewellery designer it’s not quite easy handling the works which has become her full time job. She faces many challenges as an Entrepreneur.

From receiving orders daily to finding the right raw materials and designing it to a final product and delivering the orders by herself Irene feels herself like one woman army. The unavailability and scarcity of raw materials in the market also pose a major challenge for the 26 year young entrepreneur. Despite challenges she loves carrying out her tasks and that’s what happiness means to her. 

The trend in handmade jewellery has been blooming in Nagaland and she suggests that if an individual is passionate in jewellery designing one need not copy other designs but rather opt for new designs making the product original. 

Apart from the support from her family, relatives and friends she mentions that many schemes for artisans are provided by the government but they are not reachable due to individual’s negligence or other reasons. She lamented that in most cases local handmade artisans promote their designs by themselves rather than the government promoting them. She hopes that the government will look into it and find every possible way to reach and support the local handmade artisans.

Speaking on the suitability of local handmade artisans in the market, Irene remarked that Nagaland is much known for local handmade business and the demand for local handmade jewelleries is increasing on a daily basis. She stated that apart from jewelleries, many local products like wine, soap, clothing and other essentials are exported in many parts of the states. The culture of local handmade attempts to promote all the different identities by working together which in today’s generation we call it a Fusion, she added. 

The collections of Humtsoe Crafts are based on beads, clays and resins. The designs are customisable so it depends on her clients on which design they want to opt for. She revealed that she takes suggestions and corrections from her clients and this is how her works get better each time she’s corrected. According to Irene, people message her and inquiries on which company to opt for buying clay, how to work on it, how to make it well varnished and vice versa.

Amid the pandemic, Irene also collaborated with other local handmade designers. Besides local collaboration Irene aims to collaborate with designers from other states of India.

According to her experience meeting sales goals depends on the product she designs. “If I make unique and eye-catching pieces, my sales increase. So that’s how I learn to be more creative and innovative and eventually my sales increase,” she stated. 

Sharing her personal experiences she said that rewards depend on what and how an individual mould itself. She encourages all upcoming handmade artisans to be passionate about crafting, with patience and a lot of practice. She urges the idle youths to focus more on what makes them happy. The foremost must be ‘Talent’. Your talent and your aptitude will take you to many opportunities and places. Do not sit idly at home. Do something, be productive and be a hardworking person as in Proverbs 12:24 says, “Hard work will give you power, being lazy will make you a slave,” she stated.

The writer is an author and freelance journalist based in Nagaland. He can be contacted at yanrenhumtsoe@gmail.com

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