Srinagar, Jan 03 (KNO): The intricate artistry of handmade chain stitch work is witnessing a decline, posing challenges for artisans who have mastered this meticulous craft through generations. The demand for such traditional craftsmanship is diminishing, overshadowed by the allure of mass-produced alternatives.
Artisans, who have inherited the legacy of handmade chain stitch work, express concern over the various challenges that threaten the continuity of this unique craft.
Speaking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Abdul Rasheed Bhat, a 60-year-old chain stitch master from Tengpora Nawa Kadal, lamented the decline of this art form despite his family running a Kashmir Crewel Chain stitch factory in the area for the past century.
“I have been associated with this craft for the last 40 years. Earlier, there were good returns but a person who works dawn to dusk on a handmade chain stitch doesn’t even earn Rs 100 per day and sustaining a livelihood on such earnings is impossible in today’s era,” he said.
With each passing day, this craft is sinking towards decline, Bhat said, adding that the shift towards mass production and the prevalence of mechanised alternatives led to the dwindling demand for handmade chain stitch work.
With such little earnings, how can young people take up this craft, he questioned.
Artisans said the intricate detailing and personalised touch of handmade chain stitch work have been overshadowed by the allure of machine-produced alternatives, which offer quicker and more cost-effective solutions.
Despite claims of a tourism boon in recent years, artisans said there was a minimal positive impact on their craft. “It is brokers who manage this craft and are responsible for low demand of handmade chain stitch work as they sell machine-made products at the cost of handmade items,” they said.
The artisans who have honed their skills over the years said they find themselves grappling with economic pressures as the demand for their craft is dwindling with each passing day. “People associated with this craft are leaving, opting for some other work,” they said, adding that with the technological advancements, youth prefer digital careers over mastering time-honoured artisanal techniques.
While the government claims to be making efforts to revive and preserve this cultural heritage, artisans said there has been no positive impact on the ground. They urged authorities to address the matter and take effective steps to safeguard this centuries-old art form from fading away in the face of modern trends—(KNO)
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