Knotty, Colourful and Creative
Crafts are today’s new ‘meditation’! Meet Crochet & Macrame artists from neighbourhood- Shalini Mithal of Knots and Crosses and Sriparna Das Chakraborty founder of Aamani’s Crochet, rebuilding the strength of knotts and spreading cheer
Ongoing research points to physical, cognitive and psychological benefits of craft. With our hurried pace of life, where multitasking is the expected norm, and numerous distractions continuously pull us in different directions, the repetitive nature of crafts soothes the mind.
Knots and Crosses, an art and craft hub emerged from the desire to reconnect with some of the traditional art and craft forms that Shalini Mithal, a Gurgaon resident grew up seeing as a kid. “Knitting, crochet, needlework and sewing would often keep my grandmother, and other female relatives occupied for hours, creating many wonderful things for the family. To keep me busy, I was given a simple project to do alongside! That was perhaps the beginning of my journey as a craftsperson,” says Shalini with a twinkle in her eyes.
She is a fibre arts facilitator, and Books and crafts of all kind have been two abiding passions in her life. Knots and Crosses: An Art and CraftHub is her second foray into the world of craft entrepreneurship. Back in the nineties, she ran ‘Needlecraft,’ a hand- embroidery boutique in Delhi to train local women in the craft, which, in turn, provided them with an additional source of livelihood.
A Stint as a Teacher
Life has a way of taking you where you need to go. In 2005 I joined Shikshantar as a facilitator. I finally found the soil where my beliefs about teaching, learning and life blossomed. I found my true calling and had 13 years filled with immense knowledge and joy. “And then I was ready, once again, to learn, to explore, to grow and my old love of art and craft came calling, and Knots and Crosses was born,’’ continues Shalini.
Handwork should be an essential element in every child’s and adult’s life. Handwork helps us think of ourselves as makers and not just consumers.Shalini Mithal
The Workshop or a Creative Meditation?
The workshops cater to participants aged 7 to 70 (so far, our youngest and oldest participants). Often the groups are mixed in ability and age. Many a time, children provide the inspiration to ‘adults’ in the group!
The workshops are flexible and allow space for individual exploration. “Nothing makes me happier than having participants return to next level workshops as it is a sign that they are hooked!’’ The duration of the workshops may vary from two hours to up to ten hours, stretched over days or weeks.
Sriparna is an award-winning passionate crochet and macrame artist. Apart from being a founder & design head of Aamani’s Crochet, she through her social endeavour Zarriya, imparts free training to underprivileged women.
Sriparna Das Chakraborty, the resident of Gurgaon, is an acclaimed crochet and macrame artist. Macrame is a handcrafted knotting technique to different patterns and creates weaves with knots. She says with a gleam in her eyes, “It is my dream project which I have named after my daughter, who is my inspiration.’’
The studio established in 2017, with a vision to build a refreshing and revitalised brand of crochet. Apart from the regular crochet patterns, she has introduced Crochet – Fabric fusion in her collections. For the wedding luxury market, she has a premium collection of dazzling Zari crochet of Lehengas and Potlis apart from designing a range of products including apparels, fashion accessories, jewellery, home decor, footwear, bags, corporate gifts and more.
Macrame is her recently acquired skill. It is a handcrafted knotting technique to create beautiful masterpieces. Using cotton Dori loops and knots, she does wedding décor pieces which are eco-friendly. Being made of cotton Doris, each piece is re-usable.
“Wedding décor pieces made from macrame make a great alternative to real flowers used in the event decor, prevents recurring wastage and also saves time.’’
Zarriya- Free Crochet Training
Zarriya, an endeavour of Aamani’s Crochet is a free crocheting class for underprivileged women and children. The project very close to Sriparna’s heart to empower women to become financially independent.
At Vidya Mandir Margam, Nathupur, a batch of 15 ladies has successfully completed three months of the training programme under Zarriya, and currently, the artisans have tied up with Aamani’s Crochet to earn their living.
With our hurried pace of life, where multitasking is the expected norm, and numerous distractions continuously pull us in different directions, the repetitive nature of crafts soothes the mind.
This article was first published in the print version of January 2020 issue.