Kashida, from the Persian word “to weave”, is a beautiful and unique art practiced by artisans in Rajasthan, India. Artisans bring the work to life using wooden pit looms, weaving intricate patterns into the product. They do this by counting threads, not using knots, resulting in the same pattern on both sides of the weft. The patterns are made following four types of stitches: backstitch, horizontal, vertical or diagonal.
In the past, this traditional art form provided profitable employment, but now artisans struggle to compete with the modern textile industry. Job options are few in this desert region of India and the growth of industrialization entices artisans of this region to move into cities to work in factories. Because artisans are compelled to move from their villages, the traditional art of Kashida is under threat. Handmade Expressions has been working with this cooperative for a few years now, and we are proud to help them keep this ancient art alive through fair trade.
Handmade Expressions visited this artisan cooperative and decided to partner up with them to create functional products using this traditional art. Part of our mission is to preserve culture and art through the market-based solutions that fair trade offers. We now carry sling bags, mobile phone bags, table runners and cushion covers made with Kashida art. When retailers buy these products, they are actually keeping an art alive and providing sustainable livelihood for numerous producers and their families!
Their fine embroidery products that we carry are: