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Many Beads, One Thread – To Find Yourself Through Art

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Introduction

She finds her voice as she weaves the thread.

She paints in her colors, chaos born of beads

creating herself and her art

As the pattern comes alive, so does her glowing smile. 

 

For the women of Jhabua and Neemuch district in western Madhya Pradesh, beadwork is much more than an art form. It is their way of self-expression and creative pursuit. 

Jhabua Beadwork Art Form

Neemuch is a sleepy hamlet, a 4-5 hour drive from Udaipur entering Madhya Pradesh. The town, wrapped around a single bazaar, with a simple layout, is bubbling with tuk-tuks and rickshaws. It has remained unexplored for a long time. But Jhabua beaded artwork has managed to capture global imagination. Designers and artists across the world are looking to rework these pieces to suit various styles. 

Jhabua beadwork is a beautiful combination of colors and patterns. The patterns are made using various kinds of bright-colored beads. It’s amazing how women from villages sit together and create these pieces of art. 

The artisans practicing the craft learn by doing and learning from experienced artisans. Each piece holds a status symbol and carries inherent value within the tribe. 

Our Pride – Our Artisans 

Sheela Ji

I met Sheela Ji in 2017 at Dilli Haat. It was inspiring to me how she picked Jhabua art as her way to battle depression. 

She learned the craft quickly. She then started training other women in her village. Sheela Ji now employs many beaders who stitch glass beads on fabric or sometimes even leather or paper. She has worked with buyers, designers and government agencies. Her daughters helped her design new styles of work, which were not made by anyone else at that time. She arranges for the raw materials from Delhi, giving them to anyone who wants to learn this craft or start making beads for themselves.

Women from all around the village gathered at Sheela Ji’s house to learn Jhabua. They would finish their chores at home and then meet at Sheela Ji’s house between noon and 6 pm.

Besides making beaded jewelry, these artisans have figured out ways to incorporate beads into products as diverse as hairpins and brooches. There’s a broad range of variety to choose from like bracelets, anklets, necklaces, and earrings.

Cosmic Dance Collection by Swarang

We’ve met craftswomen from all walks of life in our travels and learned about their unique challenges. Jhabua helps give these women a sustainable livelihood. 

Our Cosmic Dance Collection is a testament to the skill and creativity of the artisans who create it. Making their work more valuable, translates into higher income for the artisans. We strive to create pieces that are not only helping the collectors but also the makers behind this art form. 

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