Artisan Organization: Rajesh Gehlot
"I come from the pink city of Jaipur. I grew up in a family in Jaipur where family values, tradition and culture mean a lot. I went to school in the beautiful pink city itself. There was so much to explore, as Jaipur has a rich history.
"While still studying, I took up a part time job to earn some pocket money. Since I was good at drawing, I worked as a sketch artist at an export house which dealt in leather goods and stone home décor items. For a modest salary, I sketched bags and they really liked my work, so much that they wanted to hire me permanently. So after I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree, I joined them full time.
"With me, they started a new category of felt items. I began helping them create new designs by means of my sketching, and it worked out well. In fact, in one of the exhibitions, my creation received the first prize from among almost 5,000 entries. It was such a moment of pride for me. The owner of my company had me accept the award on behalf of his company since I was the creator of the pieces that won. This was a great feeling of achievement for me.
"We worked together so well. My boss taught me a lot and I would say that whatever I have learned so far, a lot of the credit goes to him, too.
"But I always wanted to do something of my own. So, after spending almost eight years with the same company, I started out on my own. It was a big challenge but I did not lose hope. Slowly, I found people to collaborate with me and taught them the work. We started participating in exhibitions and slowly but surely, people started appreciating our work. Today I am proud to say that we are doing well, although not in a big way.
"I specialized in holiday ornaments, home furnishings, carpets, wall hangings, etc. but, so far, our holiday ornaments have been a big hit with shoppers. I hope you like all our designs.""