This is a guest post submitted by ARSALAN SHAHID. All views expressed in this article are of the contributor.
A daughter tries to keep traditional handmade embroidery alive. We often do hear about a mother or a spouse defined as “an Ordinary Housewife”, implies a meaningless occupation? While we use Jean Little’s much-quoted observation, “A man can work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done”, home is where a woman is the least visible.
Barbara Van Schaik states that many married women have a “derived identity” determined by the needs of their spouse, kids, and, in other cases, new extended family.
Hand embroidery is the art of attractive stitching on fabric with needle and thread. Embroidery on fabric has now been done by machines as the technology of each era is enhancing as its age. In Pakistan, today there are still women and teenage girls still learning and making embroidery by hand. Farzana Shahid is one of those housewives that create eye-catching designs with handmade embroidery. From knitting table mats to Kurti, executing handmade embroidery on bad sheets to painting on bad sheets as well. In addition, she also knitted and made embroidery on pillow covers and cushion covers.
Farzana stitched her first design at the age of 8. She stitched the design on her cloth’s sleeves which was nothing more than a simple flower. The artist’s mother also used to make handmade embroidery and stitched clothes as well. The Pakistani housewife said, “I saw my mother doing something on an odd-looking thing, circling it back and forth and thread on the above of the machine getting attached to the clothes,” also, “this is when I started having an interest in (Salai Karai) stitching, I learned it from my mother and always try to make better things with it.” She added.
The 52-year-old artist, who spend most of her life in Karachi, was not born here. She migrated from Dhaka to Karachi in 1982 as the conflict started to rise dramatically because East Pakistan had been separated from Pakistan and became Bangladesh. She migrated with her mother and with her brothers and sisters because of the tension between the two countries. The family had to leave their property back in Bangladesh as it was not possible for them to wind up everything in a short amount of time.
The artist mentioned, “I had to leave everything that I made by myself because we did not consider them essential items at that moment”. Later on, she married a businessman and have three children.
The second-generation artist did not stop her passion after migration, she went on making more beautiful and better-stitched designs. The 52-year-old said, “After marriage, as the technology is more advance in Karachi, it helped me to make better embroidery and I was doing more accurately as the machine-stitched machine uses electricity which reduces the work of the hand.”
Every good thing must come to an end, the mother of three children started losing her physical strength as the age factor begins to haunt her and ultimately she left making embroidery and knitting designs. She still stitches her clothes for different occasions or ceremonies. In the end, she told, “I never left my passion of (Salai Karai) stitching even in the hardest stages of life, but time shows us that it never stops for anyone”.
To conclude, people who have different passions and have a handsome amount of skill in it, certainly not waste it on doing redundant things, instead of misusing it they can turn their passion into a profession by putting the right amount of hard work, especially women who have skills in stitching, cooking, organizing, etc. They have to think wisely as these passions are easily convertible in professions just by doing a bit of hard work and having moral support.
This is amazing article … I learn a lots of things