Discovering connections in Gujurat

Gujarat is a state in India that is next to Pakistan.  It is a 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 the incredible women who are such tremendous artisans with their 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 dowry wardrobe.  She was embroidering outfit number 7 of the 15  that was expected of her.  She showed me what she had finished and I felt such amazement that she could so adeptly create such a beautifully embellished garment.  I was deeply honored when she asked me to try on the garment!

In Gujarat, I saw such beauty and talent in young girls and women.  The tribal life can be such 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.  Health care is still below standard.  Yet in spite of all the hardship, the vibrancy of their smile and their passion for color and artistic expression shines brightly.

My husband and I have been donating to a health care organization to help these women.  We are committed to making their life better in this manner as well as using my work to share their stories and their spirit through my photography.

Part of this lovely young girl's handmade dowery.
Part of this lovely young girl’s handmade dowery.