A software innovation in the field of embroidery is helping artisans in craft clusters

Design software with a faster turn around time can change the life and work of craftpersons who painstakingly embroider for a living.

Towards this end, Media lab Asia (MLAsia) -- the not-for-profit company promoted by the Department of Electronics and IT -- plans to hard-sell its ‘Chic’ computed-aided design software across the country. The firm had developed the software as a vector-based computer-aided design tool for craft artisans and has already deployed this in various craft clusters in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh for ‘chikankari’, zardozi embroidery. Artisans were trained in this design-making activity for livelihood enhancement.

MLAsia has now invited proposals from agencies and state governments with a presence in craft clusters for deployment of the software in other clusters across the country. ‘Chic’ essentially enables artisans to make 2D designs of embroidery. According to MLAsia, it enables “design innovation, modernisation and digitization. “A library of basic motifs can be designed and stored which can be reused to create innovative embroidery design by artisans and entrepreneurs. It enables improved productivity, innovation and enhances opportunities of employment and trade. The software supports many motifs including circles, guavas, peepal leaves, rectangles, petals, text etc,” an official said.

Besides enabling design innovation and modernisation in the field of embroidery, ‘Chic’ reduces the time involved in embroidery design creation and modification. MLAsia claims it is very user-friendly and does not require any previous computer knowledge to operate the software. With ‘Chic’, the artisan gets a look and feel of the complete design before he or she transfers it to the actual medium.

‘Chic’ can be used with a digital pen and tablet, which provides the designer or artisan a very user-friendly interface for creating designs, just similar to using pencil and paper. The software, it claims, is also very cost-effective.