Handwoven shawls and fashion accessories in India
"My mother and I have taught more than 800 girls from in and around our community, especially the widows. We teach them embroidery, designing, and painting to make them self-sufficient.""I was born in 1979 in Lucknow, the City of Nawabs. Since my childhood days, I've been fascinated by the hand-embroidered white on white chikankari work of Lucknow. I love its intricacy.
"During my first visit to Maheshwar in 1999, my interaction with a weaver was very touching because he offered his material at half cost. He wanted to shut down the looms as he was not paid equal to the work he did. The craft was slowing fading away. Hence, I decided to promote the handlooms indirectly by giving work to weavers.
"My mother and I have taught more than 800 girls from in and around our community, especially the widows. We teach them embroidery, designing, and painting to make them self-sufficient. We receive support from a government program.
"With dedication and hard work, today my mother and I have a small workshop where we work with a team of weavers and assistants. My wife also helps us with the designing. We all plan accordingly and distribute work among the weavers and assistants. Along with designing, I also take care of marketing. We participate in government based exhibitions in different states.
"We use both cotton and silk for our shawls. The challenge is to create new designs which are exclusive and which look good with the chosen materials.
"The weavers and my family members help in the completion of the work. My mother is a special help with her great interest and skill.
"It makes me proud to give satisfaction, independence and employment to people, especially women who are divorced or less educated, who are unable to move out of their homes as they have to take care of their children, elderly parents, etc. These women can comfortably work from their homes as well as earn an income for themselves.
"In 2003, I participated in the Taj Mahatsov Exhibition in Agra, with a high-value inventory. It caught fire and all my collection was destroyed. I resumed working although it took me three years to recover from the loss.
"I'm very keen on taking my textile arts to the international level and I wish to share the importance of handlooms and handicraft. I am thankful to Novica for giving me an opportunity to exhibit my work."