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Chikan Embroidery From Lucknow

On our very first buying trip more than 20 years ago, we visited Lucknow and a love affair with the exquisite chikan hand embroidery began.  There are 32 different stitches and the embroidery is stitched on fine cotton, crepe silk & georgette fabrics to create kaftans, shirts and shawls.  This fine embroidery work is created mostly by female artisans in Lucknow engaged by SEWA initiatives (self-employed women working largely from home, eligible for micro loans, so they can both work and raise their children).

Hand Block Print Cottons From Jaipur

In a similar tradition, hand block printing on fine cotton fabric has continued for hundreds of years in Jaipur, Rajasthan in home workshops using natural dyes. Hereditary carvers, mostly fathers and sons chisel designs traced onto teak wood blocks and families of printers then precisely print the designs by dipping the blocks into natural colour dyes and stamp them onto lengths of cotton stretched onto long tables. For Opium, the beautiful hand blocked fabrics are made into kimono bath robes, kaftans, nighties, pyjamas, shirts, boxer shorts and children's PJ's.

Keeping craft alive in India...