Kashmir: Artisan blends traditional Kashmiri art with nuno felting technique to create world class products

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Kashmir: Artisan blends traditional Kashmiri art with nuno felting technique to create world class products
Masrat Shah
Srinagar, Nov 19: Khan’s family has been in Namda making crafts for decades, and it was his own curiosity that led to so many new designs and techniques being incorporated into the traditional art of Kashmir. He says that he doesn’t sell these products at expensive prices as he loves making them.
Kashmiri artisan, Farooq Khan, has blended Kashmiri traditional art with Australia’s nuno felting technique and created unique products found nowhere in the world. Khan is the only nuno felting artisan in India and has been able to unite the two crafts together to give a new life to the traditional crafts of Kashmir. Nuno felting is a technique that bonds loose fibre, usually sheep’s wool, into sheer fabric like silk, etc.
It was developed in Australia decades ago and now a Kashmiri artisan has incorporated the same technique while making traditional Kashmiri Namda and silk scarves. It took Khan months to learn the craft and later make unique products now sold across the world.
”I started learning this technique four years ago and I have been selling these products for the last two years. I was helped by an organisation called Connect to Kashmir, which showed me how nuno felting was done. Then I tried mixing the two techniques for making a Kashmiri Namda. I failed the first time, tried the second time, and failed again. I knew I would be able to do it but needed time and every day after finishing my work every day, I used to sit and work on it, and finally, after two years I was able to make the products. I have made jackets, silk scarves, namdas, and shawls which are extremely light,” said Khan.
Khan’s family has been in Namda making crafts for decades, and it was his own curiosity that led to so many new designs and techniques being incorporated into the traditional art of Kashmir. He says that he doesn’t sell these products at expensive prices as he loves making them.
”I have been making Namda since my childhood. I learned the craft from my Dad and uncle as they were artisans of Namda too. I was working in Kargil and saw a Namda there which led to a little curiosity about making something new. It didn’t take me much time to learn, but I failed a lot of times before making it a success. I am extremely happy that I am making new things, I don’t even sell these products at very expensive rates, as making them gives me the most happiness. ”said Farooq Khan, Artisan.
Khan has been working on these new additions and techniques with a private craft organization and is not happy with the government for not providing any support to further boost this craft. Khan has to travel outside Kashmir valley to get the raw material for making these products. He says that he went to the government many times asking for making the raw material available to the artisans in the valley. But no one has done anything about it.
”The main issue is the wool. They have great quality wool and yarn in a country like Nepal, but we don’t have anything available in Kashmir. The government is not helping us at all. I wanted colored wool for making these products and went to the government many times to make it available to the artisans in the valley. But they have not done it. We have to go to Ludhiana to get this and that too has to be bought in bulk even when making samples. It is a very expensive deal for us, and I had requested the government to make it available so that we could buy from them. ” said Farooq Khan, Artisan.
Its artisans like Farooq, are not only incorporating the new designs and techniques into the traditional arts and crafts of Kashmir but also making sure that the art lives forever.

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