"My bags are inspired by the colors and graceful forms of ostriches, peacocks and elephants. To me, nature's patterns evidence the consistency in life."
"Ever since I can remember, I have always been attracted to colors, shapes and forms. A crow would stop me in my tracks as a child and I would stare at it for two hours just for the sheer beauty of it.
"Today I incorporate the beauty I see around me into my designs. My bags are inspired by the colors and graceful forms of ostriches, peacocks and elephants. For me, nature's patterns evidence the consistency in life. I play with this story and experiment with different shapes, beads, feathers, stones, and materials. To me, each handbag is about the appreciation of art.
"There is a story within a story in each bag's design. Each person helping me embroider a bag has spent two days of their life in this piece of art. Our thought processes and emotions are poured into it, from the conception to the completion of a piece. I stray from the commercial to stay totally creative. Within my four walls I create purely for the pleasure I find in it.
"I was born on March 24, 1973 as Nupur Batra Kukreja. Thanks to my father who picked up on my artistic abilities, I embarked an eye-opening journey into India's rich textile world. Instead of taking up medicine, I got my Master's Degree in Textile and Clothing at the prestigious Lady Irwin College, renowned in the world of Indian textile arts.
"In those five years, I lived and breathed textiles. I'm proud to say that I'm so adept in Indian embroideries and weaving techniques, that I could fill a very thick book comprising the 15 regions. Each textile style from my country is unwittingly born from a particular region's culture and environment. In Rajasthan for example, a place of sand and neutral color, people decided to put color in their lives resulting in a kaleidoscope of tie-dyed textiles. On the other hand, the Kasida Kari work from Kashmir would always be about trees and flowers. They live in the cold northern region where they are surrounded by such beautiful nature, that they are inspired by it.
"We also learned the origin of Indian embroideries. In Bengal, Kantha was born from women's sense of practicality by patching old torn fabrics, layering them one on top of the other. They kept the layers of fabric intact by darning them with stitches of household designs, items from their daily life.
"I applied all of this knowledge in 1995, when French designer Nanni Costa consulted me on Indian textiles. I then continued to document for India's "Fashion Forecast," sponsored by the Ministry of Textiles. In 1996 I collaborated with the Textile Ministry by conducting workshops to improve weavers' skills. Then I dedicated two years to an NGO focused on improving women's stitching skills. From 2006 onwards, I have exhibited my works at the British High Commission, German Embassy, Swiss Embassy, the Islamic Center, at UNICEF, and the Delhi Blind School Relief Association. Abroad, I've exhibited twice in the UK and once in Bangkok. I have also worked as a freelance designer for two European designers.
"In 2006, I got the urge to learn more in order to improve and keep evolving. I took a course in Accessories Design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, the most prestigious in India, and graduated second in the class.
"My next step is to get a PhD in Kashmiri shawls at the University of Delhi, where you study about a certain master weaver with a guide.
"My husband and daughter are very proud of my work. My greatest creation is my daughter, Ananya. In Sanskrit her name means 'that which cannot be copied.' This too is how I feel about my other creations, something unique which I have put into the world."
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