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Manjuri Hazarika

Artisan Organization: Manjuri Hazarika

Country: India

"I was born in Assam, and I grew up watching mother stitching beautiful items for our house from the left over fabric pieces. During her spare time she would draw and plot her designs for woven patterns. She has been a big inspiration for me as I became drawn towards the creative field.

"Weaving is the major craft form in Assam. People in this part of India do not do much of embroidery; they weave colorful patterns which can very well be referred to as embroidery on loom.

"Life has not been a bed of roses for me. As I graduated from a lesser known design school, it was very difficult for me get a good Job and utilize my creative potential. Thankfully, I got a chance to assist well-known designers in the industry. This experience gave me a lot of confidence and self belief.

"In May 2010, I started my dream project Kritenya with a small group of people who were working in Delhi but had our roots in Assam. What brought us together was our shared love for handloomed and other handicrafts from the North East region of India.

"When we visited certain fairs and other events, we were very disappointed to see that the weavers were not getting their due recognition. They could not handle the pressure of modernizing the craft while keeping the tradition alive. That is how we decided to dedicate our time and effort into getting these craftsmen new markets and the appreciation they deserve.

"We source all hand-loomed fabrics with beautiful patterns from the remote areas of Assam. The weavers are mostly women who support their families with the income they generate from weaving. It is very difficult for them to understand international standards. Most of them have stopped weaving the traditional patterns, as power looms are taking over.

"We work directly with the weavers and encourage them to continue their craft, while also making them aware of quality requirements. We encourage Assam weavers to develop new designs inspired by their own creativity and we offer some design inputs if needed. This way, our products retain a good blend of traditional and modern sensibilities.

"Our main endeavor is to grow together with the artisans who are associated with us. We are very thankful to Novica for showing faith in us. We strongly feel that Novica customers will help us in our mission of supporting a large number of women weavers." "