For me, selling handmade creations by artisans from India is not about the fabrics and textiles alone. For me, the pieces tell stories about the people, the artisans that made them and the designers that had the vision to work with local craftspeople to create beautiful but contemporary designs which are rooted in the deep textile traditions of India. These traditions are extremely varied and go back, in many cases, ten generations or more.
I am excited by the changes that are happening in India as revivalists breathe new life into the handmade textiles sector and find new markets for often struggling artisans as local markets become saturated. These efforts have resulted in textile pieces that are rooted in tradition, but have a modern and contemporary twist. Were it not for these efforts at revival, many traditions would die out, as newer generations seek employment in other sectors. I am inspired by these people and the artisans. My work is in support of these efforts. My desire is to procure pieces directly from artisans and I have done this in many cases.
In some cases, I've enlisted the help of designers who are also focused on providing work and income to struggling weaver and artisan clusters around the country. I am especially excited about the design, marketing and business training being offered to rural artisans to enhance their design skills and find urban and international markets. I am proud of the work of artisans who are graduates of a particular design school in rural Kutch, a beautiful region in western India, with a rich textile tradition. These graduates are now artisan-designers, a concept that I've been enthralled by and passionate about for a long time.
I am not a designer or an artist, though I have recently found great joy and discovered a new skill in hand-dyeing fabrics myself! However, I have always had a passion for handcrafted fabrics and textiles and for uplifting underserved people both in the United States and elsewhere. This new venture brings together my two passions, which have been cultivated over the years. In 2003, I held an exhibition with 3 other women in Brookline and in Cambridge called the "100 Weaves of India" which was well received. The response to that effort sparked a desire to do more, which has stayed with me all these years. I've been researching and nurturing a vision that I hope will be realized with Premaasi Textiles.