Handmade with heart, designed with the best of intentions and your wellbeing in mind, Story of Seven creator Amy Phipps, makes beautiful malas to be worn, admired and cherished. Carefully picked semi-precious gemstones and crystals are used in conjunction with traditional rudraksha beads and bright brilliant coloured tassels. Follow your bliss while rockin’ Story of Seven. I know I will be this spring-summer and beyond!

Story of Seven makes some of the most exquisite malas I’ve seen. Tell us about the origins of Story of Seven.

AMY PHIPPS: The malas were born from a soul searching trip to Indonesia where I was compelled to start collecting crystal beads along my travels. I started carefully hand selecting all different types of crystals and was particularly drawn to some more than others. Interestingly later down the track, I discovered the crystals I was being drawn to were the particular crystals that represented each of the seven chakras. At first I was not sure what was to become of my new found obsession of collecting crystal beads but, I knew that they were to have a divine purpose in my life and that it would all unfold in good time. The development stage of the malas was an interesting process and many months were spent perfecting the combination of crystal beads, rudraksha seeds and silver and brass finishings.

Is design something you have always been interested in? What’s your creative background?

AP: I have always had a creative streak and this probably stems from going to a Rudolph Steiner school where everything is very much based around a creative foundation. I have always been interested in jewellery, beading and creating pretty things. When I left school I started making beaded earrings and bracelets and sold them every weekend at markets around Sydney. This hobby was mostly to pay for my extensive love of travel and also satisfied my creative urge after leaving school, but never did I think that one day I would make a career out of it.

Traditionally malas are used as Buddhist, Hindu and multi-faith prayer beads and are made using 16, 27, 54 or 108 beads; does SoS adhere to this or are your malas a little different?

AP: The development stage of the whole creative process has been a really interesting one with a lot of trial and error to ascertain what would work and what would not. We sampled so many different options from using small beads to the larger 8mm bead and slowly developed two collections the “Rockstar Mala” and the “Chakra Myne Mala”.

The “Rockstar Mala” range is a fun and edgy spin on the tradition prayer bead mala and is designed using bright neon threads and geared towards the more fashion focused crowd but does not use the correct number of beads that represents a traditional mala. However the “Chakra Myne” mala range consists of seven carefully designed malas each one using the specific crystals for each individual chakra and strung using 108 beads.

Malas are used during chanting (reciting mantras) and/or meditation; is meditation something you are interested in and practice yourself?

AP: Yes, I have a regular mediation practice and I try to meditate at least once a day. I noticed huge benefits of including meditation in my daily routine and I can honestly say that meditation changed my life. I really notice a difference in myself if miss a day or so and it is so important for me these days to make sure I set aside dedicated time just for me and my practice. We often disregard how important it is to make time out for ourselves these days as we all live at such a fast pace, even if it is just 20 minutes per day so you can re-focus and realign yourself, it really has such a positive effect.

Who or what inspired SoS’s signature Rock Star Mala?

AP: I suppose the initial inspiration came from always wanting a beautiful necklace for myself that could be worn everyday but I also wanted to wear something that had a purpose not just a fashion piece. I have always had a love for accessories and beautiful things but could never find anything that was lasting. So, one day upon my travels I stumbled upon these amazingly vibrant and eye catching threads and I thought to myself I have to use these! The colours were so intense and magnetic that I knew I had to work with them. All of a sudden the crystals had a purpose and the malas were born!

Another inspiration would have to be my sister as she has a real edgy/rocker style and I wanted to create malas that would be worn by her demographic, I suppose she then became the muse for the Rockstar Mala—plus she’s my little rock star!

Which mala beads in your collection do you find people are most attracted to? Do you have a favourite?

AP: My favourite would have to be the grounding and protection mala as I love the colour combo, vibrant turquoise with lava stone and neon pink thread and tassel. This one seems to be the favourite also with most of my customers.

SoS malas are made using semi-precious gemstones ‘infused with powerful healing energy’ have you always had an attraction to crystals?

AP: I have grown up with crystals around me and have always been drawn to precious stones. I have always worn crystals but also found that most of the crystal jewellery on the market was not so fashion focused.

What other materials do you use in your designs?

AP: We use a lot of rudraksha beads in the range and I think this is what makes the malas extra special as rudraksha seeds have immense healing and spiritual qualities. They are very sacred and have an amazing story behind them.

‘Rudraksha’ has its etymological origin in the Sanskrit words, ‘Rudra’ and ‘Aksha’. ‘Rudra’ is another name for Lord Shiva, and ‘aksha’ means teardrop. Mythological tales have it that the Rudraksha plant was born out of Lord Shiva’s tear drops. Ancient scriptures, such as ‘Shiva Purana’, ‘Padma Purana’ and ‘Srimad Bhagavad’ mention the greatness and wonderful powers of the Rudraksha. For thousands of years, they have adorned the bodies of sages and saints leading a fearless life in far-flung frontiers seeking enlightenment and liberation. It is said that wearing Rudraksha can have a positive effect on the heart and nerves, and relieve you from stress, anxiety, depression, palpitations and lack of concentration. It is also known for its anti-ageing effect. Pretty cool I think!

What’s your process for making your creations?

AP: All the malas are hand knotted using crystal beads that are carefully selected and combined for their specific healing qualities. Each mala takes about three hours to hand make and a lot of thought and intention go into each piece.

Each piece from SoS is purified before you send it off to folks; how do you purify the treasures?

AP: Once a mala is finished we then purify it in a sound bowl. The vibrations of pure sound can quickly cleanse and purify crystals by the resonating sound and takes them back to their neutral state and ensures that accumulated negative energies are not passed on. This process also re-energises the crystals and ensures that they function at their highest level.

What else does SoS make?

AP: At the moment we have included some handmade sterling silver pieces in the collection such as earrings and rings that complement the malas as we are also using semi-precious stone in these pieces. There are a few leather accessories that we are designing also but our main focus and intention is really all about the malas.

What kind of person wears a Story of Seven piece?

AP: I wanted to create a product that could be worn by all walks of life and I think our malas are just that. We have a small men’s range and there is also a kids range in the making. But typically you would see our malas on men and women that have a love of colour, crystals and beautiful things.

Which other designers do you admire?

AP: At the moment, I am loving Mania Mania, Toto Moto and Jewel Rocks.

What artists in your music collection are on high rotation?

 AP: Let’s see, at the moment I have been listening to a lot of Erykah Badu, Katchafire, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Fleetwood Mac De La Soul, Air, Medicine for the People and Ravi Shankar.

What’s next for Story of Seven?

AP: More malas! For the next collection I want to create a real earthy, tonal range inspired by the great goddesses. Using subtle feminine colours and this time round I will introduce brass into the malas which will give them a more organic earthy feel.

*See the beautiful Story of Seven creations and meet designer Amy Phipps in person this weekend on Sunday (2nd September) at the Byron Bay Market.

****Story of Seven have kindly offered ConversationsWithBianca.com readers a lovely 15% discount on Story of Seven wares at their Etsy store – just mention the coupon code SPRINGSALE when shopping. How exciting!****

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