I thought that I would share a photo of the Bollywood Christmas decorations, which we are stocking for the first time this year.
They are hand made in India by family run businesses.
Two of the businesses are based in Kashmir and supply the painted products.
One of the Kashmir based businesses has been running since the end of the 19th century, the other since 1965. Both specialise in producing paper mache painted products. The businesses employ artists who create the designs and then local artisans (mainly Muslim men) come and choose the designs and the number of pieces they want to paint, either going home to paint them or staying in the business' premises. One ball may involve 3 or 4 artisans, one doing the base colour for example, one painting birds if that is his specialilty, and one adding the final touches. Many artisans come from a long family tradition of painting paper mache and the skills are passed down from father to son.
The sequined decorations are made by a Delhi based family business which has been passed down three generations. The beaded embroidery product is sewn by mainly Muslim ladies in Rajasthan in their own homes, and they are paid accordingly to the complexity of the design and therefore their required skill level. Many of these ladies would not be permitted to work outside their own homes so this work gives them an opportunity to earn some money towards the family's income by a group of families in the North of India.
Oh so pretty and a gift with a conscience.... Leeann x