Jaipur’s Craft Renaissance

From gem cutters to weavers, artisans have long been synonymous with India’s Pink City, but Jaipur’s craft heritage continues to evolve. In recent years, Western designers have immigrated here and are learning from and employing skilled locals.

Swedish-born Sophia Edstrand discovered the centuries-old zardozi embroidery techniquezardozi embroidery technique while wandering the city’s bazaars and now works with artisans to make silk necklaces and accessories with nature motifs such as peonies and butterflies. Edstrand sells at Colette and Le Bon Marché in Paris, as well as at her pint-size Jaipur atelier.

At Frenchman Thierry Journo’s shop, Idli Design, in the Civil Lines neighborhood, lamps come in rich colors, and shawls and tunics are tie-dyed in the regional tradition of bandhani.

Homegrown talent is also on the rise, including furniture designer Ayush Kasliwal, who can recount the story behind each object at his studio, from a wood-and-brass coffee table to a stool made from recycled bicycle tire rims and old signboards.

Kasliwal is helping indigenous communities keep local styles of brass and woodwork alive. “We make things that have utility, that speak of the past, but with relevance today,” he says.

This piece, written by Tanvi Chheda, appeared in the August/September 2013 issue of Traveler magazine.

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