Gujarat is a state in India that is next to Pakistan. It is the region of minority tribes where the traditions of stitch and embroidery are evidence of and connections to their tribal life.
My love of textiles and hand embroidery work took me to Gujarat to meet these incredible artisans with the needle and thread. I watched in wonder as women brought out their hand work to show me. They had such pride in their workmanship. It made me feel akin to them. When I explained that I also stitched, we both smiled in recognition of our connection.
A young girl is expected to make at least 15 embellished garments for her dowry before she can marry. On this last trip I visited one young girl who was making her wardrobe. She was embroidering outfit number 7 of the 15 that was expected of her. She showed me what she had finished and I amazed at such a beautifully embellished garment. She even asked me to try it on. I felt honored to do so.
In Gujarat, I saw such beauty and talent in young girls and women. The tribal life is a struggle. Young girls are still being married too early, sometimes at 14 years of age. The rate of women abused by their husbands is higher in this region than in other parts of India and healthcare is still below standard.