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Aishwarya Jhawar

Artisan Organization: Aishwarya Jhawar

Country: India

"I'm from the beautiful city of Kota in Rajasthan. I studied urban planning and product design at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore.

"There, I learned about book binding and its history, and became interested in the craft. I took classes to delve deeper into this art form and the rest came with practice. I found the delicacy and details of this craft fascinating.

"After college, I wanted to do something of my own. I started my own workshop with a team of 13 women homemakers from the rural areas. It is a small effort to help them become more confident and independent. My parents are also a part of my team. My mother takes care of the production process whereas my father looks after the operations, and I work as the developer and the creative head.

"It's very hard to find the words to express how it felt to get started on my own. But it's definitely the most amazing feeling in the world. When you build something on your own, the drive it has is different. You'll have struggles, but that is what you learn to love as well because your journey is so unique — each day is different and the process is full of surprises.

"We strongly believe in sustainability and creativity. All our designs are crafted with utmost attention to the details, and we also strive to ensure zero waste. Everything that we do is guided by our manifesto — celebrate little things. We mostly work with cloth from Jaipur and Ajrakhpur, and we use recycled paper as well. These materials can be bit tedious to handle. They require attention, but it's easier with practice.

"With this craft, I love seeing how easily it can create a chain of employment. You don't necessarily need a background in crafts or a specific skill set to be able to practice it. We employ women from very unique backgrounds and they are able to master the work with only determination.

Production time is a challenge. With open markets and increasing demands, it can get a bit tricky to juggle between multiple bulk orders at the same time, because the all our designs are handmade. There no way to speed up the production capacity.

"Although very random things inspire me but I mostly draw my inspirations from stories and narratives.

"At our workshop, we try to be a harbinger of change in the lives of the artisans who collaborate with us. We are a team led by women. We work every day to ensure our team members become financially independent and gain new skills along the journey. With a goal of empowering women, we try to engage women from less-privileged communities who have received very little education. These women are homemakers who become the artisans and designers of our futures and theirs. These women come from very distinctive backgrounds. We find them mostly through word of mouth, and they join us for a variety of reasons, each as unique as they are. But we come together for their passion to move the community forward.

"Along with women's empowerment, our other key focus is the environmental impact. We are conscious of our sourcing, we work with azo free cloth in organic cotton and we are also trying to make the best use of the waste that we leave behind. The paper and cloth left in our workshop is upcycled into smaller designs or even our business cards. Smaller paper shreds are then convert into recycled paper and further used in production. We work with bamboo paper for creating a more elaborate gifting experience for you all. With our minimized impact, we encourage the community around as well to make more conscious choices in their daily being.

"We hope to build a community from our initiative — not be limited to a certain geographical area, but to spread as a community who pushes one another forward. My dream is to expand our workshop model to engage with different interest groups of society.

"Thank you for helping to make a difference in the lives of women artisans.""