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Himani Gupta

Artisan Organization: Himani Gupta

Country: India

"I want to make a difference in the lives of women artisans and to create beautiful designs that showcase the rich heritage of Indian crafts.

"An engineer by education, I started my career working as a factory production manager and then worked as a management consultant, before following my passion of creating new things.

"I started a non-profit organization in the poor neighborhoods of Hyderabad with a few woman artisans from that area. I am humbled and inspired every day when I see the strength and resilience they possess. House chores, unsupportive families, and an unsafe and unclean environment aren't obstacles. They're just hurdles for them. They continue to work despite all their difficulties in order to garner a better future for their children, and spend hours on beautiful craft work.

"I learned about Banjara embroidery from a tribal community that lives outside the city. Banjara women traditionally wore embroidered clothing embellished with shells, coins and mirror appliqué. Sadly, the younger generation has been less interested in learning these skills.

"I taught Banjara textile arts to women from the Muslim community in inner city slums who have little access to education or other vocational training. By teaching them these skills, I am trying to preserve a traditional craft and also give these women access to dignified livelihoods with an art they can practice from their homes.

"I love working with cotton kalamkari fabric, a beautiful printed fabric. The motifs are created by hand, using traditional kalamkari block print techniques. Its name is derived from the Persian kalam (pen) and kari (craftsmanship), and means "drawing with a pen." With traditional earth colors and floral motifs, the cloth lends itself to making graceful garments and home accessories. Our products often combine different textile techniques, like patchwork with kalamkari printing, hand-embroidery with kalamkari, and so on.

"My source of inspiration is the women I work with. Their resilience in the face of their many challenges and their aspiration to carve out better future keep me motivated."

"My dream is to create a project linking hundreds of master artisans in their own craft areas to develop modern, innovative designs while providing them a dignified livelihood.""