The jolly soul behind all of REVIVAL Style’s block-printed fabrics is Musa Bhai Khatri. When asked where he learned to block-print, Musa Bhai says that as a child, he simply watched his father and picked it up. Block-printing has been in Musa Bhai’s family for over 400 years, passed down from one generation to the next. As said by Musa Bhai, block-printing “is our “varaasith” (heritage)….it’s in our blood”. Originally, Musa Bhai’s family resided in the village of Dhamadka. There was a very strong sense of community in Dhamadka where the elders were seen as the wise leaders of the family who passed key cultural knowledge onto new generations and every person in the village was heavily involved in block-printing. It was their entire way of life. Following the tragic 2001 earthquake that shook the Kachchh region and killed over 20,000 people, Musa Bhai’s family lost everything and relocated to the village of Ajrakhpur.
Musa Bhai worked hard to take block-printing from something done for family or local community needs to something that could be appreciated by a broader audience. As his two sons grew older, they began block-printing and dyeing fabrics. Together, the family has opened a local village workshop where 6 local block-printing artisans are employed. Musa Bhai’s elder son, Owiss, leads the dyeing of fabric while Musa Bhai’s younger son, Anas, leads the block-printing itself. When asked what made him want to carry the family heritage forward, Anas says he just watched Musa Bhai block-print (he was surrounded by it from birth) and then one day he went into the workshop and did his first block-printing job and has never looked back since. As stated by Musa Bhai, “we really enjoy this work when we meet people who value quality and the nature of hand-printed fabric – it encourages us to continue doing this work”. The biggest challenge the family sees with the craft is a shortage of skilled block-printing artisans. This work requires significant attention, care and commitment. Each person in the family workshop is critical because they hold major responsibility for completing a block-print order and according to Musa Bhai, not everyone in Ajrakhpur is ready to take on that kind of commitment. Musa Bhai’s dream for the future is to see the craft continue and grow and for customers to appreciate the hard work and labour of love that block-printing is.
REVIVAL Style truly enjoys working with Musa Bhai and his workshop of block-print artisans. Musa Bhai wins everyone over with his contagious smile and genuinely friendly and humble nature. He makes every single person feel special by greeting them with much love and respect. And his wife makes the best chai ever!
Positive Social Impact
To-date, through the design and production of block-printed fabrics for REVIVAL Style’s collections, we have been able to contribute 3 months of steady work for Musa Bhai’s family and block-print artisans. On average, in a typical day, a block-print artisan can earn between $7 to $8 in Musa Bhai’s workshop. This income is the primary source of financial support for these block-print artisans and their families. Thus, through Musa Bhai’s workshop, REVIVAL Style is able to extend our reach and generate positive social impact for several more artisans and their families.