Women Artisans of the Great Indian Desert - Stylla London

Women Artisans of the Great Indian Desert

In the Great Indian Desert, called Thar Desert, is a small district called Barmer, known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional handicrafts. One of the main handicrafts of Barmer is quilting, which involves the creation of patchwork quilts and other soft furnishings using traditional techniques.

Women in the villages of Barmer play a key role in the production of these quilts and soft furnishings - they typically work from home, using scraps of fabric (usually Saris - the long draped indian wear worn across the country by women) and recycled materials (such as beads, sequins and similar enhancements) to create intricate designs and patterns. The work is often done by hand, using a technique known as 'sujani' or 'razai', which involves layering the fabric and stitching it together with a running stitch. Stylla London procures these Sari Patchwork soft furnishing items such as Cushion Covers, Wall Tapestries, Table Runners and more.  

In Barmer, Kantha work is also often used to embellish quilts, cushions, and other soft furnishings, adding intricate designs and patterns to the already vibrant and colorful textiles of the region. While Kantha embroidery is traditionally associated with the eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Odisha, and Bihar, it has also been adapted and incorporated into the handicrafts of other regions in India, including Barmer. The women artisans who work on these pieces use traditional Kantha stitching techniques, creating repetitive patterns using simple running stitches.

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The motifs and designs used in Kantha work in Barmer are often inspired by local flora and fauna, as well as geometric patterns and abstract designs. The use of vibrant colors and bold designs is a hallmark of Barmer Kantha work, which is known for its rich, eye-catching aesthetic. The production of these textiles is often a collaborative effort, with women working together to create intricate designs and patterns. This not only allows for the sharing of knowledge and skills but also provides a supportive and empowering community for the women artisans involved in the craft. Stylla London brings a wide range of cushion covers and yoga mat bags made in Barmer using Kantha techniques. 

The women who work on these quilts and soft furnishings are skilled artisans, with many years of experience and a deep understanding of the traditional techniques and designs used in Barmer. Their work is highly valued, both for its aesthetic beauty and for the cultural significance it represents.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the quilts and soft furnishings of Barmer, both within India and internationally. This has provided new opportunities for the women who work on these crafts, enabling them to earn a sustainable income and support their families while preserving and celebrating their cultural heritage.

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