Papermache: A Tradition of Kashmir

The home of the Gods, a haven for mystics, the traveler’s - the artist's dream destination Kashmir is nature’s favorite child on whom she has bestowed all her abundance in breathtaking hues and form. Snow capped mountains reaching their arms upward in endless longing to embrace the sky, rivers and streams dancing their way through lush forests tucked in the lap of the majestic mountains, Kashmir is a paradise beyond compare. The mountain air entices with the aroma of woodsy pine. The mountain pathways matted with pine needles, floral cones and green ferns. The night sky twinkles with a zillion stars while the mountain mesmerizes with nightlights that pour out from tiny cottages like a million candles afloat on the sea by night. Temple tops glistening in gold, prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, that is Kashmir, the Pride of India.

The valley of flowers Kashmir is home to some of the finest artisans, weavers and crafters. As the sun rises families gather around the room, backs leaning against the wall,  pulling out their craft, dexterously working as they share their stories over cups of tea,  no haste to make wealth, no craving for likes, no lure of marketing. Just being - Just doing.  A system steeped in traditions from over a thousand years back. From walnut wood carvings, to hand woven wool rugs, from the art of paper mache, to the finest pashmina shawls, there is complete dependence on nature by nature, depicting nature.

The Kashmir rug is mostly a hand-knotted rug woven and embroidered in intricate designs reflecting the Kashmiri way of living, their habitat and natural environment. Concentrating on a floral style, weavers mimic the chinar leaves and flower fields, cherry blossoms and tulips in bright jewel tones, weaving magic on pure wool and silk. Soulful, soul stirring, heartwarming, to witness humans come together in harmony to bring forth their creative best.  

The Kashmiri Shawls are handwoven in the finest wool picked from the pashmina goat, often times fine enough to pull through a small finger ring. From raising the flock, to hand picking the wool left behind on bushes where the goats graze, from weaving the yarn to weaving the fabric, the entire process is labor and human intensive, hand-crafted all the way through!!!      

The Art of Paper Mache involves the recycling of waste paper and converting it into beautiful artifacts painted by expert craftsmen. The wonderfully vibrant hand painted motifs come alive as shiny lacquer finish is added as a final touch. The delicate decorative art of paper mache has a long and rich tradition in Kashmir. Birds, flowers, blossoms, leaves, paisleys are the most commonly used motifs. The craft stretches across wall hangings, boxes, bowls, napkin rings, picture frame, jewelry and holiday ornaments.

At Ekaa, we are express gratitude to the wonderful artisans of Kashmir and feel privileged to showcase their amazing creations. This is just the beginning!!! 

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