"What I love about my art is the coming together of colorful patches into one single panel – it's like putting together dreams of many women who once attired the garment."
"Growing up in Chandigarh, I learned my art from my mother. As a child I would watch her putting together beautiful patches from the old clothes that we had at home. Slowly, I learned the art and started to enjoy it.
I then got married to Sanjay, whose family also practices this traditional craft. Sanjay was a very keen interest in taking forward this colorful traditional art, so after our marriage, we started working together and supplying to outlets in Delhi. When we realized how popular our designs had become, we decided to expand our work.
"My husband and I have been involved in this craft since the 1990's, and now there are five artisans who work with us full time. When we receive larger orders we are able to offer work to more artisans in our community. Our products have reached the US, Gulf, and Europe, and so far we've had a good response.
"The raw materials that we use for our products mostly come from our hometown in Gujarat, and some come from Delhi. I get some fabrics from a women's group who goes door to door collecting clothes in exchange for new utensils. This exchange of clothes for utensils and other utility items is a common practice in India, and more so in small towns. The clothes are then sold at the flea markets in Gujurat.
"I have three kids – two daughters and the youngest is a boy, which means I must balance my time between being a mother and pursuing my craft. It's not been easy but for sure, the art that I have inherited from my mother is so deeply rooted in me that I would definitely want to get back to work full time once my children grow up.
"What I love about my art is the coming together of colorful patches into one single panel – it's like putting together dreams of many women who once attired the garment. This shows that tradition never dies.
"We would like to make a niche for us in the international market, and I am sure Latitudes will help us by helping people appreciate our products and made it possible for us to send our kids to good schools. I also work with a lot of female artisans, and the money they earn helps them support their families."
Artwork from Meena :