Nanichi means ‘my heart/ my soul’ and explains what art and craft means to me. I am Anguillian native Ilka [pronounced il-ca] Harrigan. I am mommy to an amazing young man. In my limited spare time I enjoy crafting; sometimes constructing clay pots/vases by hand, making jewelry or scanning the shelves of craft stores like Joann’s Fabrics and Michaels Arts and Craft stores. Having grown up on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, I have always demonstrated a passion for the arts and cultures of the region; I spent most of my younger years creating and building random things and I found that the creating brought forth a feeling of pleasure and accomplishment.
I’ve been told that my sense of creativity and ability to work with my hands was realized at a tender age. I do recall designing and sewing clothing for my dolls and creating their jewelry using the tiny scraps of soldering wire and the tiny pieces from radio/television circuit boards, I’m not sure if my father ever noticed that those pieces were missing but I really doubt it. As a child I entered several art competitions and participated in arts & craft summer camps; continuously excelling in that field. It is with no question that I was born into a family of artistes; I am often compared to my father who is an architect, carpenter and tailor. Upon moving to Washington DC, I found my fate in jewelry designing and crafting; it began as a mere hobby and the rest is history.
WHY JEWELRY? I was in search of a particular piece of jewelry that reminded me of home and it was very hard to find that in Washington DC. I recall being one of the students invited to one of the embassies for a tea party. I was dressed in orange, white and blue but I had absolutely no jewelry that could tie my look together so I designed some bracelets and a necklace. Nanichi bloomed out of hands that were busy searching for a specific type of jewelry that represented my culture. At some point I started to receive requests and orders for customized pieces, and then Nanichi progressed from there.
My jewelry collections are inspired by Caribbean culture and scenery in many ways. I appreciate the beauty in nature and thus look to nature for embellishments. The fact that there are uneven textures, lines and random colors found in nature is what allows my designs to stand out, unique and beautiful in their own right; setting Nanichi apart from other brands.
Designing has allowed me to step away from the everyday stresses and express myself in my own creative niche. It was something I truly enjoyed doing as a student; it took me away and allowed me to be a balanced individual.