By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
ALMOST two years ago, jewellery maker Xan-Xi Bethel embarked on a journey to create Khepera’s Sun, a handcrafted line that embodies the “creative energy in each of us”.
It has always been an aspiration of Xan-Xi’s to start her own line of jewellery.
However it was not until studying at the University of the West Indies, when she decided to explore jewellery making as an avenue for creative expression.
Xan-Xi then went to the drawing board and started creating statement pieces that invoke the positive energy within the women who wear them.
“In Kemet (Egypt) the Khepera is regarded as the divine force that pushes the sun across the sky. Every day that universal energy that sustains life so that we may bear fruits. Khepera’s Sun is a collection of hand-crafted jewellery and handbags that reflects the creative energy that is inherent in each of us. “These works are created for the mothers, sisters, daughters and queens of this earth. They must live, love, laugh and be beauty-filled,” said Xan-Xi.
Her method is rather spontaneous, as she never knows what any piece will look like when it is done. She said this is what makes the process enjoyable.
Everything in her environment, including people, colours, shapes and sounds is inspiration for the Khepera’s Sun Collection, Xan-Xi said. The pieces featured in the line include crowns, earrings, neck pieces, armbands, bracelets, rings, belly chains, anklets, barefoot sandals, toe rings, hand-painted stitched handbags, totes, clutches and purses.
Material in the natural environment is manipulated, shaped and formed to create the pieces in the line. Anything Xan-Xi finds including coconut, seeds, canvas, paint, fabric, African print are often turned into fashionable pieces.
“I use all sorts of materials anything I can find. Currently I am working on a copper collection called Bare Necessities,” said Xan-Xi.
“I basically taught myself how to make jewellery. My learning process involves observing, trying, perfecting and moving on to learn something new. I have always wanted to create jewellery and the only thing that has stopped me from doing what I want to do is my own self and the hurdles that I placed in front of me,” she told Tribune Arts.
Engaging in the craft brings Xan-Xi peace, allowing her to reflect and introspect.
“The process is a joyous experience in meditation and self reflection. It is exciting because I do not plan any of my pieces. I just get to the table and allow the work to flow.”
Xan-Xi said she is also working to launch sun-spired sandals and dresses, as well as her Shango Men’s Collection, which is a collaborative effort with Khepera’s Sun Designer Antoine Archer.
“The work has been well received in the short time that I have been using this avenue for my creative expression,” she said.
When she is not making jewellery Xan-Xi said she enjoys painting, writing and performing poetry, cooking, picking bush tea, watching sunsets, and most of all mothering.
For more information, find Khepera’s Sun on Facebook.