Harshaben with her father, making a khatwork design
Harshaben Ashokkumar, of the ‘Krishana Mahila Mandal’ group, had just been discharged from the hospital, the afternoon that I went to visit her. She had been admitted for a nasty bout of chikungunya. But despite that, she was still upbeat and in great spirits when she learned we were to discuss her work and her art.
Harshaben is a ‘khatwork’ artist. She makes intricate and beautiful embroidery on various ‘kurtas’ and blouses. This work is created on a ‘khat’ (cot), hence it is called khatwork. She learned this beautiful art from her father, and she plans on teaching this art-form to her children. It's one of India's old art-forms that trickles through generations. Harshaben took the Milaap loan to buy the expensive raw materials that are required in creating these designs. It takes about 3 days to design and complete a simple khatwork kurta.
When asked to pose for a picture, Harshaben insisted that I take one with her father, the man who gave her knowledge and training in this ancient, beautiful art.