Srinagar: When 30- year-old Shahnaz Yousuf completed her post-graduation in psychology, she applied for various jobs in the government and private sector.
After remaining jobless for some time, Shahnaz decided to try something unique in handicrafts to earn a decent living.
Last year, she started her online business of designing and stitching embroidery hoops, an art she had inherited from her grandfather.
“My grandfather late Ghulam Qadir Dar was a known chain stitcher in Anantnag. I learned some basics about stitching from him. I also knew a bit about calligraphy. After my marriage, my husband encouraged me to follow my passion, which fortunately proved successful,” she said.
From customized embroidery hoops to 3D stitching, her skill is giving a new twist to chain stitching in Kashmir
“This art is not much popular in Kashmir yet. Here we have only chain stitchers and nothing like 3D stitching and embroidery hoop-making. I tried this new art form, which has a huge demand in the national and internal market,” she said.
Shahnaz is blending her calligraphy and mehendi art skills in stitching the finest jute and silk hoops.
“For years, I experimented with mehendi designs and calligraphy. I am using those designs in stitching, which are fortunately being responded to well by my customers. Right now I make hoops of jute and silk cloth, which are exported to different states and countries,” she said.
In the last one year, Shahnaz has received orders from the country and abroad.
“I have a good customer base across India. Even I receive orders from Germany, which was a big encouragement for me. People from Kashmir also support my art and ordered hoops for wedding functions,” she said.
For sales and promotions, Shahnaz is using her Instagram handle `Say It in Stitches’, which has a huge follower base from across the world.
“In less than a year, I received more than 200 orders through Instagram. I upload various designs on Instagram and my customers make a selection among these designs,” she said.
Shahnaz said that she is planning to set up an institute where 3D stitching will be taught to the students.
“I am constantly receiving requests from people about teaching this art. In coming years I will set up one institute where the children will be trained in stitching and calligraphy,” she said.