Stitch by stitch

Colourful stoles, dupattas, sarees, bags and other hand-embroidered products await you at the exhibition by Shrujan. Crafted by women from Kutch, these handicrafts help offer a dignified livelihood to the talented artisans

Walk into Coomaraswamy Hall and you will notice artisans busy arranging materials at their stall and the entire place abuzz with colour and excitement.

One of the embroidery designs on display at the exhibition

The exhibition, currently on at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, offers a variety of hand-embroidered materials made by Kutchi women, who work on them throughout the year. Some of their best works find pride of place at this exhibition, held each year to promote their unique craft.

Back in time
Shrujan, a not-for-profit NGO, which has organised this exhibition, has been working with women from Kutch since 1969. "We have worked with over 22,000 women till date," informs Ami Shroff, project director, Shrujan.
The initiative kickstarted when Ami's mother, Chanda Shroff, went to Kutch as a volunteer to help out the drought-affected victims there. "She realised that people did not want to accept monetary help for free.
They used to work on construction projects to feed their families, but they were actually brilliant artisans and made beautiful embroidery. So, she decided to take their work, sell it and send the money back to them," says Ami.

Woman doing traditional embroidery on a cloth

Chanda started the venture with a collection of 20 sarees made by women living in a village in Kutch. Over the years, the venture has slowly expanded and today Shrujan is associated with 120 villages across Kutch.

"Our work with the women goes on all through the year. We are working with 3,500 women at any point of time.
We supply them the material and once they have finished the embroidery, they send us the products and receive their payment immediately," says Ami.
"The aim is to promote Kutchi embroidery and provide these women with a dignified livelihood," she adds.

What's on offer
The products on display at the exhibition include sarees, stoles, dupattas, belts, bags, cushion covers, mufflers, kurtas and more. You will also find a range on fabrics such as Ikat, Tussar silks or Kanchipuram sarees on which elaborate embroidery has been done.
Datta Sawant, a handicraft designer who has been associated with Shrujan for two decades, says, "The response has always been great. And this time, we have a very wide variety of products on display as well."

TILL December 17, 10 am to 7 pm
At Coomaraswamy Hall,
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu
Sangrahalaya, Fort.
CALL 9833766584

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