Reviving crewel embroidery: Kashmir woman shows the way; sets up training center at home

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Srinagar: When youth are shying away from traditional crafts, Zamrooda Ali has set up a crewel embroidery training center at her home in Badamwari, Hawal area. 

Not only are her embroidery designs sold all over the world, but she has also employed 30 women in her unit.

“I took to crewel embroidery actively in 2015 and later started this center from my home. Right now, I train 30 girls in crewel embroidery. These women are also employed on a part-time basis. We bring raw material ourselves and after doing the embroidery, we sell it too. Now, we have also registered the center and we made different items like draperies, bedding, and pillow covers,” said Zamrooda.

Stating that the craft required dedication, she said now only women were engaged in crewel embroidery.

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“Now, only women artisans do crewel embroidery. There should be an atmosphere of peace while doing this work and it requires a lot of dedication. Unfortunately, the crewel artisans do not get paid much and as a result, the younger generation is shying away from this craft. We are trying our best to keep this traditional craft alive,” said Zamrooda.

An official of the Handicrafts Department, Kashmir said her unit had produced unique designs and as a result were in demand.

“Zamrooda is a master artisan and she has been actively involved in the craft and has been operating a training center out of her home. She has been designing elaborate and unique patterns for quite some time now, providing a sense of originality to the special hand-made customizable designs in crewel embroidered artifacts that are sold all over the world. These include draperies, bedding, pillow covers, and throws. She is currently employing approximately 30 women on a part-time basis in her business,” the official said.

The Handicrafts Department has also included her unit in the Amdakadal edition of the Craft Safari. The safaris to different parts of the city were started last year after Srinagar made it to the coveted list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Crafts and Folk Arts Category for the year 2021. As part of the safari, the Handicrafts Department has identified several artisans and clusters in the old Srinagar city.

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