Stitch in time

Sheela Patil believes traditional embroidery will never go out of fashion

Published - June 24, 2014 07:26 pm IST - Bangalore:

Needlework Sheela Patil. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Needlework Sheela Patil. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Clad in a simple salwar-kameez with a bright smile, Sheela Patil, is the change she wants to be. She runs two NGOs and has trained over 500 women in traditional hand embroidery.

“I never felt that learning from an institute would be any different,” says Sheela who was in town for a traditional hand embroidery workshop at Banna Creations.

Sheela is from Gadag in North Karnataka and is the taluk head of Mahila KadaliVedika, an organization that teaches women skills to help them earn a livelihood. is Apart from being the resource person for many NGOs in the region, Sheela also makes agarabattis, dolls, candles and cookies. “There was no financial crisis. I was bored at home after my children went to school and husband left for work. I do not like watching TV so I used to do embroidery as a hobby.”

Sheela doesn’t know when her hobby turned into a way of life for her. Sheela started teaching embroidery five years ago. She organises workshops, chooses the best and trains them in kasuti, kundan, buttonhole, pattern designing and other specialised forms of embroidery. She forms a team of 20 women who work on the orders she receives.

“Nothing can take the place of handwork,” Sheela says. “I do not feel this skill is in danger of dying out. There are many people who want to learn it and work on expanding it. Embroidery is in great demand in the world of fashion.”

Sheela is happy with her family’s support and she even completed her B.Com degree through distance education a few years ago. “My aim is to teach embroidery to women so that they can earn a livelihood. They can earn at home. It is important that women are independent so that they have confidence, exposure and a voice in society.”

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