The Art of the Desert
Several northwestern regions of India were completely destroyed by a massive earthquake in January 2001. It was the most severe earthquake (out of more than 90 earthquakes) to hit Kutch in 185 years. The area affected is called the Rann of Kutch, a seasonally marshy saline clay desert located in the Thar Desert, in the state of Gujarat, India. It is the home of many artisan cooperatives, under the head Rann Kala. Now, years later, the artisans have rebuilt their lives and dreams thanks to their traditional art: fine mirror-work embroidery, traditional weaving and leather work.
The Women Artsians’ Marketing Agency is located in the heart of the Kutch area of Gujarat, India. After the earth quake, much of this area was destroyed, and the women artisans belonging to this agency relied on their art to raise funds for rebuilding. WAMA has also served as a keeper of traditional embroidery, making sure the art does not go extinct.
SETU-The Bridge To Artisans has partnered with this group to help them make a living from their art. Through dialogue, we have been able to develop unique products such as the World Peace Bags. We also carry their more traditional fine embroidery bags, which can be seen in the list below. Through Fair Trade, this group has been able to keep their art alive, rebuild their villages after a catastrophe, and learn about new designs that make their products more marketable in the Western world.
This group of artisans practice very intricate mirror-work embroidery. In earlier times, this beautiful art was used to make dowry items for brides-to-be. It was considered too precious to be sold to outsiders. However, fair trade policies, a growing respect and appreciation for the art, and the need to rebuild after a devastating natural disaster compelled the local people to share their art with the rest of the world.
Due to the lack of employment opportunities in these regions of India, many people resort to working in agriculture, which is seasonal and crops are often affected by drought. However, with mirror-work embroidery, over 2500 artisans living in villages across this region are revitalizing this traditional craft for sustainable livelihood.
This art has now helped the artisans obtain a dignified social standing. It has also promoted the development and independence of women by making them self-sufficient, decision-makers in their communities.
World Peace Bag
Modern patterns are embroidered using traditional embroidery stitches on a handloom fabric, making the bag an interesting blend of traditional art and modern design. The inside of the bag is...
Mirror Work Sling Bag
A sling bag with mirror work and fine silk thread work done on both sides. Comes with a beautiful silk string to hang from your shoulder.
The artisan community that makes...
“OM” bag Medium size
“OM” bags Large size
Maya Tassel Bag
Richly embroidered silk bag with embroidered and beaded string. The beads are smaller compared to the other Maya bag, but this style has more mirror work done, and the string...
Maya Bead Bags
Beautiful silk bag with beaded flap and embroidered string. The contents of the bag are secured by a zipper under the flap. The outside is a beautiful and detailed display...
Fine mirror work embroidery, hand-done by artisans of west Gujarat, India. The entire “Kutch” region was affected by a massive earthquake in 2001. This art has lived beyond the destruction...
Vine Coin bag
Small coin bag with fine thread work. Beautiful vine patterns are used to embellish the surface. The bag has a silk wrap around string, which is hand-knotted. Good for carrying...
Peace Coin Bag
Simple coin bag with a beautiful peace symbol embroidered on the top flap using traditional stitches. Made by artisans in the north western regions of India.
This is a Fair Trade...
Spiral Button Down Coin Purse
Silk coin purse with embroidered spiral designs. This embroidery is intricate and fine.
This is a Fair Trade product handcrafted by artisans in India. The artisans are compensated fairly for their...
“OM” waist pouch
Thread Art Cushion Covers
These cushion covers are made by artisans in North West India. The pattern is made by small running stitches.
This is a fair trade item handcrafted in India. The artisans are...
These coasters are made of hand block printed fabric. They come in a set of 6 coasters with a bag to store them. The bag has a tie-around string.
Thread Art Wall Art
This is a beautiful, handmade wall art. The base is black, with patterns made of light-colored running stitches. It is made by artisans in North West India.
This fair trade item...
Shibori Cotton Scarves
These are 100% cotton scarves embellished with fine tie-dye. They have a soft feel and come in two colors: Black and white, pink.
This is a Fair Trade product made by...
These soft-feel cotton stoles are decorated using the traditional art of wood-block printing by artisans in the Kutch area of India. The script stoles come in red and black designs....
Earth Link Stole
This stole is decorated through the traditional art of wood-block printing by artisans in the Kutch
area of India. A wooden block is cut and shaped into a shape that...
Tie-Dye Wool Stoles
These stoles are woven with fine wool threads. The variation in the weave gives the stole a rich texture. It is then tie-dyed using beautiful colors: green or red.
Fair Wool Stoles
Woolen Weaves I & II
Coral Woolen Dobby
Mirror Magic Stoles
These scarves are made with fine cotton, soft and well finished. The scarf is embellished with beautiful mirror work done with silk threads. The edge of the scarf is trimmed...
Colorful Peace Wallets
We've made our original peace wallet even better with color options! These handmade tri-fold wallets have six slots that house cards as well as a space for bills....
This cotton wallet comes in one design: a parchment-colored background with Sanskrit script writing in black and red. It is bi-fold, without a clasp, and offers plenty of pockets for...
Assorted Cloth Wallet
These trendy, functional wallets come in an array of different colors and designs, perfect for anyone’s style. All designs of this tri-fold wallet have a zipper pocket on the back...
Shibori Tassel Scarves
These lightweight, 100% cotton scarves come in three colors: fuchsia with an ellipse pattern, indigo with a zig zag pattern, and turquoise with a diagonal pattern.
To know more about the...
Shoe Key Chain
Made with 100% leather, these key chains depict the traditional Indian footwear. Various details have been beautifully crafted on the shoe using cutwork and embossing techniques.
To learn more about the...
Mirror Work Key Chain
Intricate thread and mirror work embellish this key chain. It has a small hanging bell at the end. It comes in assorted colors and designs.
Artisans working on these key chains...
These dolls are dressed and decorated in the traditional daily attire of the women from the rural region of north western India. Every small detail is taken into account from...
Color Splash Photo Frame
These frames are wrapped with recycled sari fabric, most sport fine embellishments such as embroidery or sequins. Holds a 4" x 6" photo under glass.
This is a Fair Trade product...
Rich, traditional embroidery on cotton. Embellished with glass beads. Assorted colors.
Size: 2.5” x 1.75”
Variations of this product
QCK 211 - Mandala Keychain
Rich, traditional embroidery with mirror work. Assorted colors. 2 card slots.
SIZE: 4" x 3"
ITEM CODE: WMCB 305 - Mandala Wallet
To learn more about the artisans who create this product:...
This bookmark is made of a thick piece of cloth that comes in assorted colors. It is finely stitched into a neat rectangular shape. The bottom of the cloth has...
Leather Pocket Mirrors
Pocket mirrors in festive colors are encased in cruelty-free leather pouches. Compact design makes this accessory convenient to take anywhere. Assorted colors.
Size: Various Shapes. About 6” x 3.25”
Materials: Cruelty-free Leather,...
Named after the technique used to make them, these light, cotton scarves are easy and breezy for the summer. ACS 105 is deep blue and has a zig zag pattern...
Block Printed Scarves – Floral Terrace
Handmade block printed scarf with beautiful floral pattern. Stripes at end of scarf add a modern element to design. Scarfs are lightweight and made from 100% cotton. Available in Pink,...
Nature’s Dip-Dye Scarves
Soft and light, this handmade 100% cotton scarf has a vibrant paisley block print motif, naturally dip-dyed ends in a complementary hue and subtle fringe along the short edges.