Kashmiri carpet with calligraphy Photograph:( WION )
Shahnawaz Ahmad, a craftsman, said that he wanted to do something innovative rather than making same old designs. His strategy has worked and his carpets have seen better demand. Kashmir carpets already enjoy fame across the world
Young artisans and designers are incorporating new design and techniques into the art of weaving and painting Kashmiri carpets, something that already has worldwide fame. Artists have started using calligraphy art for the first time on these silk carpets.
This has resulted in greater demand in markets. This may also attract young talent to try their hand at the art. Beautiful Calligraphy work on these silk carpets is adding to its beauty. Most of these carpets are sold outside the country.
Craftsmen like Shahnawaz Ahmad are making sure that this craft would not die. After completing his Graduation from Fine Arts School, Shahnawaz started experimenting with new designs. He not only started using calligraphy but also used Gold and Silver threads to make these Carpets.
“I am a graduate in fine arts and my whole family is into this craft. I thought of doing something different than routine designs. I started calligraphy art on carpets. The customers across the Gulf loved it. I made cultural paintings and people started liking it. I changed the trend and reaped a lot of benefits," says Shahnawaz.
He is also training his artisans in new techniques. He has held workshops in which artisans were taught calligraphy and how to use gold and silver threads to make designs.
"The workers needed some training and I also held a workshop for them. My father helped me a lot with this. The weavers didn’t take much time to learn the new techniques. I am getting a lot of orders after these new designs. If we do something different I am sure this art will grow more and more," said Shahanwaz
A local social Entrepreneur Imaad Parvez has collaborated with Shahnawaz and is trying to build a luxury brand with Kashmir craft. The idea is to revive the art and introduce it to those people who don't know anything about this art form. And also bring in designs which will attract the younger generation.
"I met Shahnawaz and he is not only a fantastic craftsman but he had a vision to make a product that can be called a luxury product. I collaborated with him and we are building a brand. We take all the Kashmiri crafts and we do something innovative with them. We also work on the lifestyle of craftsmen so as to retain them. So the next generation craftsmen are attracted towards this industry. We need to upgrade our system to keep up with the world. Luxury brand include not only high-quality products, but also handmade products. The craft will not be enough, you need more dynamics to it," said Imaad Parvaiz
These new techniques and designs for Kashmir silk carpets are bringing new life to this art. Not only is this helping to revive this craft but also generating employment for the younger generation.