“Our aim is to provide a platform to artisans and to involve as many hands as possible in the creation of hand-embroidered textiles, accessories and garments”, says Ami Shroff, Managing Trustee, Shrujan, an NGO, founded to work artisans in Kutch, Gujarat, India. There are several outlets of Shrujan in different cities in the country including one in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Shrujan was founded in 1969 by Ami’s mother Chandaben Shroff and her family, as part of a famine relief program in the drought-prone Kutch region of Gujarat. It provided them employment by way of embroideries to be created from their homes, and thus revived traditional embroidery skills and techniques. In this process, Shrujan’s wwork conveyed these vibrant textiles to urban centres and gradually across the world.
The women are trained to work traditional stitches with a distinct aesthetic that would appeal to urban and international customers. For this there has been a change in fabrics from wool to soft cottons and silks, from cotton and wool threads to silk threads, from large motifs to small motifs, from large stitches to smaller and miniature stitches, from bright and deep coloured threads and fabrics to soft coloured threads and fabrics.
Over the past fifty years, Shrujan has expanded its reach. The organization now works with about 3000 artisans hailing from 12 communities living in 60 villages and practicing over 70 distinct hand embroidery styles! “The diversity of crafts and embroidery found in Kutch region is perhaps unmatched anywhere else in the world. The women embroider traditional hand embroidery styles as well as innovate as they work”, says Ami.
Shrujan sources hand-woven fabrics from different parts of India for the embroidery. All the products bear hand embroidery and the product range spans stoles, shawls, garments, quilts, wall hangings, home décor products (from cushion covers to trays) and accessories. Embroidery assignments from Shrujan have held the women in good stead through a war, cyclones, droughts, an earthquake and most recently a pandemic. Find out more information here
Text by Brinda Gill, Image Courtesy Shrujan
Join Polly Leonard on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the textiles of India.12 February to 9 March 2023. Find out more information here.