Fabrics that echo the landscapes of their origin

Artisan women of kullvi WHIMS stand on stairs together in sun in Himachal Pradesh India

 

A Collaborative Partnership

The Women of Himachal Pradesh Self Help Group (Kullvi WHIMS) started out as a group of 9 women artisans from the small village of Naggar, in the mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh, India. The women mobilized into a self-help group with the help and support of Nisha Subramaniam in 2010. The aim of the group is to share their handknit and handwoven textiles globally, by producing exclusive collections for likeminded businesses, like RANI & REINE. 

RANI & REINE then finds a market for the women’s beautiful work, while supporting the creation of handcrafted textiles made with sheep’s wool indigenous to the mountain region where the women live.

The group recently increased to 14 artisans, and continues to grow as demand for their handcrafted products increases. 

Artisan women in India work together and discuss knitting

Palmo and Indra

artisan woman in India leans on friend's shoulder smiling

Vandana and Lata

The Artisans

Vandana, Indra, Lata, Palmo, Neema, Renu, Teji Devi, Sapna, and Kusum.

The women possess a variety of skills in traditional local craft forms such as hand spinning, knitting, crochet, weaving and natural dyeing.

They operate in a decentralized manner. Mainly working from home, they fit their craft into their busy daily lives amidst cooking, caring for children, harvesting apples and other fruit from the family orchards, and caring for livestock and gardens.

group of artisan women in India knit together surrounded by pure wool
Kusum, Lata, Neema, Palmo and Indra
artisan woman in India giggles while knitting
Neema and Palmo

The Land

With a backdrop of majestic mountains and the river Beas snaking through the lush valley below, the women of Kullvi WHIMS travel the few kilometres from their homes to meet in and around the village of Naggar, Himachal Pradesh.

They meet to review current collaborations and distribute new orders amongst themselves, to package orders, to collect local seasonal plants such as berries and barks for natural dyeing, and to clean large and unruly batches of freshly sheared raw wool.

 

artisan woman in India smiles brightly with trees in the background
Sapna
artisan women in bright clothing in India sit and chat together
Indra, Palmo, Sapna and Renu
Artisan woman in India smiles brightly wearing green shawl
Renu
artisan women in India discuss knitting patterns
Palmo and Kusum
artisan woman in India gazes intently at wool she is spinning with a spindle to make yarn
Teji Devi
woman in India playfully jumps out of tree while friends take pictures
Palmo, jumping out a tree Bollywood style, while Sapna and Kusum film!

Next: Craft Traditions