The Artisans

Jeta Ram Mishri Lal Chauhan

Jeta Ram Mishri Lal Chauhan and his wife Vimla moved to Ahmedabad from their hometown Jodhpur in 1988 in search of better opportunities. Moving to a bigger city did not translate into instant success for them. Jeta Ram started out as a cobbler while his wife stayed at home. They barely made ends meet and hence Jeta Ram decided to change his trade. He opened a raw material shop. However, this venture too did not bear much fruit. In his dark hours, Jeta Rama and Vimla decided to go back to what they knew best, a craft they had learnt before they moved to the big city. Making bags and clutches came to them naturally and they soon started to reap the benefits of their skills. On his artisan salary he is able to support his 3 children – 2 daughters and a son- to receive good education. His eldest daughter now works as a teacher while his second daughter and son are still finishing college. After ten years of making bags, Jeta Ram feels fortunate to have taken the call and changed his trade at the right time. He and Vimla have been working for Tresor for last four years. “We like the creative process when we get to share our thoughts on the design,” Jeta Ram says.

Kaliben Sevantilal Parmar

As a girl, Kaliben Sevantilal Parmar learnt the art of hand aari (embroidery) from her mother and has been doing so since she was 11 years old. Kaliben’s technique and choice of colours are famous.  Despite her talent, Kaliben often struggled to get constant work. This meant her family struggled financially as her husband too is a daily wager. She was worried for the future of her 2 daughters and son. She had heard of Gramshree, a collective that provides work for women and enables them to achieve financial independence by earning monthly wages. Kaliben decided to approach Gramshree who instantly took her into the fold.  As Gramshree allows their artisans to work could work from home, Kaliben’s worry of childcare were put to rest and she got to work with enthusiasm and hope. Her hard work soon bore fruit, as she quickly became one of the stars of Gramshree with her eye for detail. “It has been 5 enjoyable years with Gramshree. My craft is appreciated and I am respected as an artisan,” Kaliben says. 

Ranajit Gayen & Shivani Gayen

Originally from a small village in West Bengal, Ranajit and Shivani Gayen, like many others, moved to Ahmedabad in hope of better opportunities and financial prospects. Both husband and wife are experts at embroidery. It has not been smooth sailing for them. “Being from a different state, it took us time to adjust to the local ways,” Ranajit says. While they moved to Ahmedabad a decade ago, it is only 4 years ago, that Ranajit started working for Tresor.  He had been struggling to find a constant flow of work until then. “Someone I knew had worked for them and was happy with the wages and respect he got for his work. So I asked him to introduce me. It was a great decision as we have been involved in new projects that also enhance our craft,” Ranajit says. Ranajit and Shivani are working hard these days. They have two daughters. The younger one still lives in their village with her grandmother. The older daughter lives with them and helps out. “We want to save money so that we can bring our little one to live with us,” Shivani says.