[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1631589941015{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/3" css=".vc_custom_1631800168153{padding-right: 15px !important;}" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_single_image image="4741" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Cross-Stitch - The inspiration for this article came from our cross-stitch expert Shobha, who joined as our first full-time cross-stitch artisan in June 2021. Shobha has been practicing this craft for the past 17 years. When she was in her twenties, she joined the training group led by father, Colombus, and has never looked back. The crafts were introduced to her village by father Colombus almost 70 years before. Father Columbus visited India through a missionary and trained women in more than 25 villages.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1631039496195{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Afghan War Rugs: I made my first-ever Afghan friends in 2017 in India during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by India and the US Department of State. I remember my excitement to meet so many fellow women founders solving problems in their communities worldwide. However, I want to emphasize the challenges amidst which our Afgan women friends were building their companies were beyond our imagination. They were building their companies amidst the looming threat and past scars of ideological and military war. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1630383671449{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Crochet: My grandmother had a straw box that contained mostly white hanks of thread and red beads. She would take this box out when she wasn't busy, and magically little doilies with a bead edging would emerge from her fingers. These doilies were used to cover jugs of water and glasses.  I didn't know it then, but she was crocheting these. Her creations are lost now, but I saw similar ones in a tiny shop in the mountains and immediately bought a few. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1629779248934{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/2" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Threads of Life, We've all grown up thinking of sewing and embroidery as women's work: another unpaid and thankless chore.  Darning socks, sewing on buttons, embroidering a child's dress with a  motif.  But occasionally, we read something that gives us pause and allows us to look at our preconceived notions afresh.  I was lucky to spot Threads of Life: A history of the world through the Eye of a Needle at my local bookstore.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1629267426196{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_4617" align="alignleft" width="304"]Ainu, a Japanese Community that Reveres Textiles The Ainu. Picture from Thummanit Phuvasatien .[/caption] Ainu: We who love textiles know what it is to revere an exceptional piece of weaving or embroidery.  But there is a community where this is literally practiced. And that is by the Ainu. 

History of Ainu

The Ainu have lived on the island of Hokkaido for millennia, populating a culture distinct from the Japanese. Following a Hunter-gatherer lifestyle, they, like most communities that live off the land, revered all things natural. This reverence interestingly extended to tools and clothes, the minutiae of daily life.  One fascinating aspect of their culture is the reverence of bears, which are seen as gods.  The Ainu would often collect bear cubs and bring them up in their homes, exactly as they brought up children.  Eventually, these bears were sacrificed in a ritualistic ceremony,  with their flesh and fur highly valued as divine. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1628630421216{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/2" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Smocking: Those of us who grew up in the 1960s and the decades before then have all worn gingham dresses, very often with smocking. I know that I associate smocking exclusively with dresses for little girls.  But that's not how the craft started.  In a reversal of timelines from most forms of embroidery, which have been the province of the elite, smocking began as a means to render peasant clothing practical.  And this is what makes it unique among all the forms of embroidery.  Embroidery Series by Marasim

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1628220473151{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]In 2019 we did a lot of research and development in hand knitting, knotting, smocking, and bead-making techniques. We worked with a group of women artisans in the villages of Western Uttar Pradesh in India. Before making the trip to these villages and meeting these women, I was under the impression that these techniques are almost similar to each other and created similar looks. However, once we worked with these masters, we learned about the nuances of different techniques and various design possibilities associated with them. Together with the artisans, we co-created beautiful and chic panels.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1625792284969{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Screen Printing: Past week in Delhi, we started developing a screen print on custom-made chiffon linen and satin silk created with a weaver in Varanasi. Our team learned and documented the process of screen creation, paint and print development. I found it fascinating to understand the processes and see our ideas come to life. I thought of sharing my research and information on screen printing with our readers. 

The History and Process of Screen PrintingHistory of Screen Printing 

Screen printing originated in the East in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD) to transfer designs onto fabrics.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1624936967294{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-lg-12"][vc_column_text]The Art of Jewelry: There is something about jewelry that engages even the most Spartan of women. You can see the sparkle of the stone and the metal reflected in their eyes as they bend over the counter.  Because so much of the history of jewelry is tied up with culture and anthropology, innumerable craft techniques have sprung up around it because it is so desirable.  We've examined some in our recent blogs. Today, in the concluding one, we will look at a few more.  RECENT ARTICLES ON THE ART OF JEWELRY

FILIGREE THE LACE IN JEWELRY

THE BEAUTIFUL ART OF ENAMELED JEWELRY

READ MORE

MICRO MOSAIC A POPULAR ART FROM THE 19TH CENTURY

Embossing: The Art of Jewelry

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1624053242686{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Filigree: In the miraculous world and history of jewelry, there is one technique done in precious metal, but visually exactly like lace.  And that is filigree.  As the etymology of the word suggests (filum =thread, granum=grain), filigree involves twisting and curling precious metal threads into elaborate designs.  But that is a tiny part of the story of how complicated the process is. 
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