Mumbai based designer gets the ancient art form the recognition it deserves
A Breach Candy designer's pop-ups are getting the art form the recognition it deserves
Crocheter Minal Agrawal knows how to spin a good yarn. But, until recently, this knowledge was restricted to her close friends and family. "They say, children land up doing what their parents wanted for them. It's been the opposite for me. I decided to exhibit my work at my daughter's insistence," she says when we meet her one morning at her Breach Candy home. Agrawal's daughter Sanjana, now 16, was eight years old when she suggested that her mother market her ware, but it took Agrawal close to a decade to relent. "She had seen me give away crocheted gifts to people and wanted me to put my talent out there. But it's one thing to receive them as presents and quite another to pay for it. I felt they had no marketability," she says.
A statement necklace
That myth was busted when Agrawal held an exhibition last year at Bombay Gymkhana and received a heartwarming response. Today, the 50-year-old is working towards getting the ancient art form the recognition it deserves. She recently held a three-day pop-up at Cymroza Art Gallery where she displayed her work. "Crochet goes back a long way. The term is derived from the French word 'croche' which means hook. Till date, they don't have conclusive evidence as to when it started.
A potli pouch
The earliest documentation is only in the 18th century when Queen Victoria bought her first crochet lace from the Irish, because at that time there was a potato famine in the UK and the only substitute income that the women could generate is by making crochet. Through the purchase, she gave it her stamp of approval," she says. Her love for the art has propelled Agrawal to delve deeper into it.
Till date, she has created crochet jewellery, dresses, puppets, homeware and hair and bag accessories. Each time she would stumble, Agrawal would look up YouTube and Pinterest for help. "I was making a toran (door hanging) and the roses I had woven looked limp. I didn't know what to do. That's when I referred to material online and learnt of stiffening agents," she says. Agrawal purchases her yarn from Bangkok, Thailand and local Indian markets. The hooks for the earrings are imported from America and are nickel-free to prevent allergies.
Thanks to her passion for the art, Agrawal never has time to get bored. "I wait for my husband to leave for work so that I can start working on my designs," she laughs. In fact, she admits that crochet has not only helped her spend time productively, but also maintain an emotional balance.
"It's my greatest stress buster. There's nothing quite like concentrating on a pattern you love. It has proven health benefits, too. The small repetitive movement and counting keeps your mind sharp and can beat depression and Alzheimer's disease."
Price : Rs. 250 - R15,000
A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli