Ladies Sewing Circles of Kashmir
Women across Kashmir are engaged in the crafts of spinning and hand-embroidery, often to provide additional income. In other cases, as a result of years of conflict and harsh living conditions in this Himalayan state, there are thousands of widows and half-widows seeking part time employment to enable them to survive without being reduced to begging alonside raising their families.
Working from home or in small women’s sewing circles, these ladies are immensely talented in the art of hand-embroidery. The atmosphere in these groups changes from hour to hour, from meditative devotion to girlish banter, jokes and singing.
Beautiful and talented Shugufta (her name is a kind of flower) is an intelligent former computer studies undergraduate. However, when her father died quite suddenly she needed to work inorder to provide for her family. She is extremely talented, trained by the master craftsmen to work on pashmina (an honour reserved to the most talented).
Shugufta is working full-time in the art of hand embroidery; most often this is done at home, which she prefers as she can tend to the younger members of the family. In the evenings, she continues her studies in the hope that one day she will graduate.
Despite the obvious hardships, Shugufta is happy to be working with such good friends around her for support, and is now earning enough money to support her family.
In addition to pashmina, these ladies also produce the more affordable and beautiful fine wool scarves and stoles featured on our shopping pages. Click here.
Gulshan is the eldest daughter and inaddition to producing much of the tassle work on wool scarves , she is also quite an expert at crewel-work embroidery. Since her fathers absence, she also gets up every morning at dawn to pray, tend to the vegetable patch and select those vegetables to sell at market.