Khamir is a local NGO in Kachchh with a mission to keep Kachchh’s craft culture alive by providing training, development and market support to local artisans. Recycled plastic weaving and kala cotton are two local, innovative craft-based projects initiated by Khamir. Partnering with Khamir, REVIVAL Style has sourced and designed recycled plastic and kala cotton products, supporting the work of Kachchhi artisans who are part of Khamir’s network. Below are the stories of just a few of the artisans whose craftwork has been incorporated into REVIVAL Style’s collection.
Damyanti, kala cotton weaver
Damyanti is an incredible young woman who is changing the role of females in her rural village. Hand loom weaving is mostly a male craft but Damyanti decided to break from tradition, learning to weave from her father. She weaves beautiful, organic kala cotton fabric. Her dream is to go on and study design and use that to grow her weaving practice. Hopefully other women in Damyanti’s village will be inspired by her story and also pick-up weaving, becoming self-sufficient while preserving their cultural roots. REVIVAL Style is thrilled to feature fabrics hand woven by Damyanti in our collections.
Raji Bhen, recycled plastic project lead
Raji Bhen manages the recycled plastic project at Khamir. She said she used to earn 100 rupees a day (approximately $1.75) working from home but now because of her work with the recycled plastic project at Khamir, she is able to earn a steady and larger salary and this has improved her family’s financial situation. She also feels an improved sense of self because she was able to meet other women and become a part of a new social circle (cutters, collectors and weavers) through the recycled plastic project.
Bhavna Bhen, recycled plastic weaver
Weavers like Bhavna Bhen, see an improvement in their income and economic prospects through their involvement with the recycled plastic project. Two years ago, she began to weave recycled plastic after receiving training from Khamir. Her husband and father are also weavers so that helped her get started as she was exposed to weaving from birth and at home with her husband. Before weaving, she stitched at home but could not support her family through her low income. Bhavna Bhen says recycled plastic weaving is economically viable for her as she has steady craft work throughout the year and she is able to earn up to $6 per day for approximately 6 hours of work, which is a good wage in local terms. In two short years, she has become a skilled recycled plastic weaver and now has three women in the village come to her to learn and help complete her weaving projects. This is a fascinating story of how through capacity building and support, improving the economic and social status of a single woman and her household can have ripple effects and magnify impact across the community. Bhavna Bhen truly enjoys weaving and receives the most joy from the design aspect where she is given free reign to think of new designs and color combinations. Recycled plastic weaving artisans are given no direction, enabling the artisan to become the designer, which is truly liberating and can result in greater happiness and sense of fulfillment for them.
Bhaiya Bhen, kala cotton weaver
Bhaiya Bhen is another example of a strong village woman who has developed a love and talent for weaving. She is paving the way for other women who want to sit at the hand loom, designing and creating fabrics. She learned to weave from her husband and father-in-law and was exposed to weaving as a child because her father is also a weaver. The training and support from Khamir has also helped Bhaiya Bhen build confidence in her craft. Married and a mother of two, Bhaiya Bhen is changing the image of weaving being a male craft and enabling herself to learn new skills, doing something she loves and supporting her family in the process.
Ketsi Bhai and Lakhi Bhen, kala and recycled plastic weavers
Ketsi Bhai and his wife Lakhi Bhen are an artisan duo who work together to provide a livelihood for their children through weaving. Ketsi Bhai is a kala cotton weaver and Lakhi Bhen is a recycled plastic weaver. Ketsi Bhai has been weaving since his adolescence whereas Lakhi Bhen has picked up weaving more recently through her husband’s support and the resources offered by Khamir. Their 11-year old daughter, Pragna, is already showing an interest in weaving and likes to practice at the hand loom in her free time.