This is a special one, something that I have been working on for the past couple of months. If you’ve read my previous posts I mentioned how one of the things I wanted to focus on was making products that tell a story, something that is treasured and has more meaning to it.
For a long time now I have been wanting to work with women artisans who specialise in various forms of craft. It was some years ago that I came across an NGO called Ahambhumika, they are based on the outskirts of Bhopal, MP. More than 30 rural women artisans across two villages, specialise in beautiful hand embroidery. Their aim of this initiative is to help them earn a livelihood. I fell in love with their work from the first time I saw it (almost two years ago) and I knew I wanted to work with them. Back then trying to integrate their style of embroidery into the prints I already had available didn’t work for me. I tried some samples out and their work was beautiful but it seemed like a force fit for the collection I was working on that time.
The Garnish Print from Happy Hour. Left: Digital Print, Right: Hand embroidery
I stayed in touch with them and thought about creating something specifically for their art. When COVID hit everyone was having a hard time getting work and for a small organisation like this it was even more difficult. I was making my face masks and at the time and it struck me that I could design a range of masks which compliment their skill set.
A woman artisan following the design I made, on a tablet, while she hand embroiders.
We have started with four designs, I sketched each one out onto a paper pattern of the face mask. A colour sketch indicated the colours of thread to be used. They patterns and fabric was couriered to them and each piece has been loving and meticulously hand embroidered by these talented women. It’s not enough to say that I am happy with how these pieces turned out, but I am simply ecstatic! They are beyond gorgeous and knowing that each piece is made with so much love and attention to detail makes it so much more precious! These artisans put their heart and soul into their work.
The design on the paper is transferred to the fabric, and then using the outline as a guide the embroidery is done by hand. They worked on initial samples based on my designs and sketches. Sent them to me for approval after a few minor changes, a second round of samples was made. Once these were sent and approved by me, they started making the pieces in a larger quantity. Each design takes a couple of hours to hand embroider. Once the embroidery is done, the fabric is cut and then sewn into a face mask. Every delivery was done is such a timely manner, all coordinated by the sweet Mr. Subrat. The finished pieces have been washed and sanitised and I received them this week.
I am super excited to launch this little collection of handmade, hand embroidered face masks! Please show your support for these talented artisans and check out the collection here.
Would love to know your thoughts on these pieces and we hope to have many more collaborations with them in the future.
Lots of love, K.Kristina.