The Kashmiri Cross Cultural Project began in 1996. We have been working with the same people for 20 years now. Handicrafts are very important to the Kashmir region, supplementing rural incomes and enabling people to stay in their traditional, beautiful, clean aired villages.
We have found several kinds of handicrafts from the Kashmir region that translate the Aboriginal artworks well. These include the chain-stitch work which brings the Aboriginal designs to life as rugs and cushions; lacquer-ware made from recycled paper and or wood, faithfully hand painted and varnished; and hand knotted silk rugs. The hand knotted silk rugs were very hard to produce and it appears to be a dying craft, as only a few people still know how to make these rugs and they have to be specially commissioned each time we order.
Handicraft cultures are endangered cultures. This work is being pushed aside by a consumer market that wants cheap, pretty, but highly disposable mass produced products. The making of the silk rugs for example, required the dusting off of old looms that had not been used for some time. The product speaks for itself, these exquisitely reproduced images are a testament to the historical skills of the Kashmir region. This project has shown longevity, we are still working with the same workers who produced our first order. On our last visit to the remote village where our chain-stitch work is made, we were thrilled to see the artisans sitting on Aboriginal designed cushions.