So the artisan profile for this month is very different. It doesn't have an interview. It is a personal lesson that I feel compelled to share.
A lot of times when I travel to meet artisans, I meet women who are too shy to talk but say a lot more through their actions. To be honest, I never really expected this as I am a woman too but I have come to understand them just a little bit better...
Women artisans live in a very close knit community and rarely get a chance to interact with other people.Their lives are sheltered and interaction with the opposite sex is very little. Thus, being friends with a girl travelling alone from a big city is definitely an intimidating task for some.Telling them that they can be successful entrepreneurs in their own right elicits a lot of laughs too.
Suf Artisans from Gujarat, India
One incident that is etched in my memory is when visiting to see a family for their embroidery work, as usual all the women gathered together to chat and show me what they had handmade. When I entered the home, a young girl was busy stitching clothes but as soon as she saw me, she sprang inside a room.
She then ran to the kitchen and made tea for everyone but hid when the other women tried to call her. My attempts to talk to her also failed. Everyone laughed at her but my heart sank because I wished to get to know her art better and possibly get the chance to work with her.
In the same Suf Village in Gujarat, I met Divya and was amazed by her excellent skills at embroidering. She was keen to show her designs but didn't say a word. Divya is getting married to one of our artisan designer's brother.
Divya (on right side) busy at work
She has been working tirelessly to make exquisite embroidered pieces which she will take to her new home. The day she reaches her in-laws home in another village, women from her community will welcome her and come to see what she has brought home. They will sit together, admire all the embroidered pillow cases, wall art and other items she will bring into the household. It will be the perfect start to her new life.
If she does a good job, she will receive rave reviews from the women and an approving smile from her mother-in-law. Divya is a good artisan because she loves what she does but embroidery means a lot more to her. The stitches she makes will create a lasting first impression into her new world. The same threads will also help her create an identity of her own without saying a word.
I think it is important to be grateful for the silent artisans. Those who will never voice their opinions but work anyway. The talented, skillful and wonderful artisans working in remote corners, preserving craft forms with a deep commitment to take the best care of their families.
Happy International Women's Day to you all again!
Thank you for reading :) Have a blessed day!