Chohan Deviben: 45 years old, born in Old Vadaj, Ahmedabad

Devi benDaviben was married at 16 to Laxambhai from whom she separated 11 years ago and now lives with her Father and two sons Tushar and Vishal. Having studied up to B8 level TTNC (a needlecraft teacher training course), she would like to further her education and get a good job. Deviben has worked for 3 years for the Samaj Kalay Sang NGO where she earns 6,500 Rupees a month as a textile tutor. With a keen sense of both colour and design and a thorough knowledge of her craft, Deviben is a skilled and dedicated maker whose practice is deeply rooted within her traditional heritage, something she takes great pride in hopes to keep active through her teaching.

When not working, Deviben enjoys cooking, taking her children to places of interest and inventing new garment patterns. Outside of Gujarat she has travelled to Rajasthan.

 Dahiben Monhanbai Makwna: 38 years old, born in Kubernagar, Ahmedabad

Dahi ben

Dahiben has been working in applique for as long as she can remember and has been working professionally from the age of 11 and is also a skilled embroiderer. Mainly supporting her sister, Jamanaben, with the projects she is working on Dahiben has had a long and varied working career working with a wide variety of clients and has also taken part in student workshops at the National Institute of Design and the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Dahiben’s work, like her character, is quiet and contemplative using cool colour combinations with a thoughtful process.

Dahiben is married with one son by the name of Paarven who is currently studying in 10 standard. When not working on applique or embroidery, Dahiben enjoys doing the household work and outside of Gujarat, has travelled to Delhi, Agra and Mathura with her parents.

Jamanaben Chauhan: 52 years old, born in Kubernagar, Ahmedabad

Jamna ben

Jamanaben has been making appliqué professionally for forty years, making for a wide variety of clients including FabIndia and numerous independent designers and earns around 8,000 to 10,000 Rupees a month from her craft. Amongst her many skills, Jamanaben is a experienced teacher and has shared her skills through workshops at both the National Institute of Fashion Technology and the National Institute of Design and has also worked for National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), travelling to Surandernagar to teach her craft to local women. Jamanaben and her husband Premjibhai work together as a team keenly marketing their own skills and those of the others within the community to help everyone get work; a key need within the community.

At the age of 20 Jamanaben married Premjibhai with whom she has three daughters, all of whom have learnt the craft from her. Jamanaben’s parents were born in Hyderabad, Almani in Pakinstan and migrating to Ahmedabad following independence, but her family still has numerous relatives in Pakistan. When not doing applique, Jamanaben enjoys shopping for the household and outside of Gujarat has travelled to Mumbai, Delhi and Rajasthan.

Kuverben Solanki: 45 years old, born in Ahmedabad

Kuvar ben

Kuverben has been practicing her craft since the age of ten after being taught by her Mother. With a good sense of colour and a methodical way of working Kuverben makes quilts, both by hand and using a sewing machine, earning between 1,500 to 3,000 Rupees a month. Throughout her extensive career, Kuverben has worked with various independent designers and has participated in week long workshops with the Gujarat State Handloom Board.

Kuverben’s parents were born in Pakistan and moved to Ahmedabad after independence. Married with two daughter and one son, her husband works locally making footwear. Both of Kuverben’s daughters are married but neither practice the craft, one is currently doing an MA in Economics, which Kuverben funds through her craft practice, and the other works with an NGO in computer technology. When not working on applique, Kuverben, enjoys working on the sewing machine making garments, something she has recently had to give up due to foot pain. Outside of Gujarat she has visited Rajasthan.

Miraben Nanjibhai Makwana: 62 years old, born in Matiari Village, Hyderabad, Pakistan

Mira ben

At the time of India and Pakistan partition in 1947, Miraben came to Ahmedabad, India with her parents when she was two years old where they already had family connections. For the first 8 years in Ahmedabad the family worked as labourers until a business man called Nanaji Valli from Rajkot visited their home and on seeing their quilt work gave the family their first order. At the beginning of her career, Miraben helped her mother applique a white on white sari for the late legendary Bollywood actress, Nargis. After a long and varied career, Miraben now only makes quilts domestically, giving her quilts away to family and friends. Working from home for numerous years has given Miraben time to really perfect her craft and become inventive with it, producing new designs and using traditional motifs.

Miraben has three sons and a daughter who works as a tailor making blouses. Miraben is very religious and often walks to Chotila, 200 kms from Ahmedabad, on pilgrimage and outside of Gujarat has travelled to Rajasthan, Karachi, Mathura, Delhi and Haridawar.

Rashmiben: 26 years old, born in Old Vadaj, Ahmedabad

Rashmiben has been working with applique for the last ten years. With good communication skills and a real enthusiasm for her work, she has previously worked on projects with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), when she was put in charge of cutting and distributing fabrics to women artisans for hand stitching, and also participated in workshops at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

Rashmiben use to be a front bencher at school and enjoyed learning English but dropped out during eighth class seven, due to pressure of household work at home.  Rashmiben had a love marriage, not very common in her community, and now has a five-year son Virat, named after the Indian cricket captain. Rashmiben husband is a tailor, however they prefer working separately.

Shantiben Jathabhai Solanki: 50 years old, born near Radanpur in Madhudar Village

Shanti benShantiben only learnt the craft of applique fifteen years ago from her neighbours, before which she practiced embroidery. With skilled finishing techniques and a keen sense of design, Shantiben now works with her sister selling quilts privately to various clients earning between 4,000 to 5,000 Rupees a month and has been involved in student workshops at the National Institute of Design and the National Institute of Fashion Technology. When not making for anyone else, Shantiben makes home furnishing and other decorations for her own home.   `

Never formally educated, Shantiben and married her husband Jathabai who makes footwear, at the age of 20 and has two daughters and one son. Both of Shantiben’s daughters are married but neither practice the craft, one is a nurse and the other is continuing her studies. When not working on her craft, Shantiben enjoys the household chores and working on the sewing machine.

Viashali Chauhan: 19 years old, born in Old Vadaj, Ahmedabad

Vashali ben

Viashali learnt her craft from her mother at the age of five and has been professionally practicing for the past four years. An enthusiastic maker, Viashali has methodical applique skills, a good sense of colour and is innovative with new designs. Despite her young age, Viashali has already been involved in workshops with students at both National Institute of Fashion Technology in Ghandinagar and the National Institute of Design. Keen to expand her knowledge, Viashali aspires to study design formally, something which is currently out of her financial reach.

The youngest of three sisters, Viashali studied up to 9 standard but was unable to complete 10 standard after being admitted to hospital. In her spare time she enjoys painting and also loves to dance. Outside of Gujarat she has travelled to Mumbai and Rajasthan.

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