Usha Sewing Machines weave magic on Delhi streets

Source: St +art, India

Source: St +art, India

Usha Sewing Machines weave magic on the streets of Delhi with 90 kms of fabric! With the help of a very creative crochet artist from Poland and St+art India, Usha Sewing Machines literally painted the town Red in this inspiring project.

60 people, 3 weeks, 40X20X8 feet installation and around 90 kms of fabric! One of our biggest street art projects, in collaboration with the Delhi Urban ShelterImprovement Board, is now complete! Olek, the world famous crochet installation artist from Poland, covered an entire family night shelter with a beautiful crochet installation.

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Source: Polish Institute New Delhi

Spot this incredible beauty here: Before the Sarai Kale Khan Fly over, on the left side, behind this bus stop, after crossing Bara Pulla.

The mammoth project was supported by  Polish Institute New Delhi , Allkraftz & USHA International for supporting this mammoth project. Other fashion designers associated with it were Tarun Tahiliani and Manish Arora .

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Source: Polish Institute New Delhi

The HAB at Kala Ghoda Art Festival

1The HAB organised a bookmark making activity for kids at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival’s book swap event in Mumbai on 8th February, 2014.

X-change it, a popular organization that holds such barter events hosted the book swap event for kids between the age group of 4-12, at the Prince of Wales Museum Grounds. As part of the Kala Ghoda Art Festival,  the event gave kids a chance to exchange their read-old books for unread-old books. The HAB’s workstation next to the book swap stall encouraged children to make their own Bookmarks.  The venue was buzzing with several other activities from quiz workshops to a Zumba classes and storytelling sessions.

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The event scheduled for 11 noon, started on time, with The HAB workstation getting crowded right away!  As children queued to make bookmarks on the Dream Maker 120 Sewing Machine with the help of our resident sewing expert.

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As the day passed by, the number of children who approached The HAB workstation simply kept increasing. A few of them were as young as 4 and 5 years of age, but were so interested in the activity that they wanted to do it all by themselves without help from their parents or our sewing expert.The kids and their parents were all excited about learning to sew.

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Ours was the only workstation which attracted both kids and their parents. With several parents being very keen on making bookmarks. By the time the event ended around 5 pm, we had made 130 bookmarks!

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Kala Ghoda Art Festival Trivia:

  • The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, now in its 16th year, is a community celebration of the arts within one of the most beautiful and historic precincts of Mumbai, The Kala Ghoda Art District.
  • It is open to all, free of charge.
  • It has traditionally offered various programmes in Visual Art, Urban Design & Architecture, Music, Theatre, Dance , Street Acts, Heritage Walks, Literature and Workshops for children as well as adults
  • The Festival has grown exponentially, and is hugely successful, drawing over 150,000 people from all over the city to 350 events over 9 days. Tourists from all over the world plan their trip to Mumbai to witness the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
  • Funds raised from the festival go towards the restoration and upkeep of the area. Several heritage buildings and institutions in the area have benefited from this.

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Usha Silai Schools: Creating Opportunities in North East India

1NagalandBackground and Context: UIL has been successfully running the Silai School program in Nagaland since the year 2013. This case study is an attempt to record how the 10 Women Entrepreneurs from the 10 Silai Schools in Dimapur have successfully joined hands to start a Showroom Cum Sales Centre by mobilising support from the Nagaland State Social Welfare Board in Dimapur.

Presently, UIL is running 20 Silai Schools in the state. All the Silai Schools are in the districts of Kohima and Dimapur

The state is inhabited by 16 major tribes and a large number of smaller tribes. Each tribe is unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress

2nagaland(II) Main trends of Silai Schools in Nagaland

  1. Silai Schools have helped the economies of these 20 Silai School women entrepreneurs
  2. A positive enthusiasm is visible in the communities where the Silai Schools are operational
  3. Even the local district administration is aware and positive about the Silai Schools

Dimapur, which is the main commercial centre of Nagaland has 10 Silai Schools in the neighbouring villages (the other 10 being Kohima). For the State of Nagaland, MSS had conducted the Silai School training through the Training of Trainers (TOT) model, where 2 master trainers from the state were trained by UIL in Guwahati for a period of 7 days. One of the Master Trainers from Nagaland was an enthusiastic lady named Ms Thine Sekhose.

Thine, very successfully trained 10 women in Nagaland after having motivated them to start Silai Schools in the villages. In addition to being the Master Trainer, coach and mentor for these 10 village women, Thine is also the program coordinator for the local NGO called EDITI, which is monitoring the Silai Schools on a regular basis.

4nagaland(III) Spin-off effects of Silai Schools in Dimapur

One of the main problems that the Silai School teachers face is that once the number of learners have stabilised or if the teachers have completed the target of teaching 20 learners, they are enthused to do “something else” or “something big”. In Dimapur, the teachers wanted to sell their finished products and wanted to make a successful business out of it. However, since the Silai Schools are located in remote villages, not many people used to know or buy the finished products. Hence the number of customers was limited.

Gradually, the teachers, under the leadership of Thine Sekhose, planned to walk an extra mile to augment their income. They approached the Nagaland Social Welfare Department and appraised them about the Silai Schools and requested them for assistance to start a Showroom and Sales Centre in Dimapur. The Silai School teachers, planned that all the quality finished products that they create in the Silai Schools would be displayed and sold from the Showroom.

Happily, for the 10 women and Thine, the Nagaland Social Welfare Department  approved the proposal and agreed to support them by paying the monthly rent of about Rs 6000/- . Moreover they agreed to support the furniture and fixtures for the Showroom and a computer for their day to day work.

Therefore, the Showroom and Sales Centre, named as “Emergence” by Thine and her band of 10 Silai School Teachers came into operation on September 2014 at PWD Road, Midland, Dimapur.

6nagaland(IV) The Business Model of the Showroom and Sales Centre:

  1. The 10 Silai School women contribute to the centre, whatever products they make in the Silai Schools in the villages
  2. The finished products range from skirt-tops, soft toys, mobile pouches.
  3. The Silai School teachers have to contribute 5-10% of the profit for the maintenance and management of the centre
  4. Ms Thine has also started training centre on Sewing and dress making, soft-toy making and artificial flower-making centre. Traditional Bridal dress for wedding is also an especial item.
  5. Many people visiting Dimapur request for customised items and these orders are then completed at the Silai Schools by the teachers.
  6. The Centre has been named as “Emergence” by Thine and her band of 10 Silai School Teachers.
  7. This  EMERGENCE is evolving as a backward linkages initiative for the Silai School Products

The program has just started two months. There is an enthusiasm amongst Thine and her team. So far the response from buyers have been positive. Silai Schools are paving way for many opportunities for rural women.

Free Sewing Tutorials: Where Knowledge is Free

Gandhi copyUSHA Initiatives brings Gandhian principles to the new age by adopting new technologies to empower women and thereby awaken the world to new possibilities: “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high / Where knowledge is free…” (Rabindranath Tagore)

On 21, October, 1936 Mahatma Gandhi wrote to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur “If you women would only realize your dignity and privilege, and make full use of it for mankind, you will make it much better than it is.” The Father of the nation believed both in women empowerment through education and the power of the Spinning Wheel. USHA Initiatives with the help of the growing power and penetration of Internet in the country is trying to reach out to self-motivated women either with a passion for sewing or beginners who would like to take it up as a source of income or hobby.

Besides its many Silai Schools, USHA has made available a series of free downloadable Sewing tutorials under various titles. These books range from basic sewing tutorials to complex stitching and tailoring of garments and embroidery work. The Books so far released are:Downloads

  1. Indian Garment Design Course Book
  2. Little Girls Dress Making Course Book
  3. Machine Embroidery Course Book
  4. Western Casual Wear Course Book
  5. Sewing and Design Course Book
  6. Creative Design Course Book
  7. Cutting and Tailoring Course Book

Each Book caters to different needs and together contains thousands of instructions on how to sew, starting from the basics of a stitch and fiber choice to complete garments, home décor items and fashion accessories.

You can download them at: www.ushainitiatives.com/free-sewing-courses or at the Usha International website

Thread Art: Embroidery & Stitches in Time

American Quilt, 1840 (Brooklyn Museum)

American Quilt, 1840

“After all, a woman didn’t leave much behind in the world to show she’d been there. Even the children she bore and raised got their father’s name. But her quilts, now that was something she could pass on,” Sandra Dallas a reputed American voice once wrote. With all apologies to those quintessential Western words and quilting enthusiasts  we disagree, when it comes to the East. Especially in India thread art in form of embroidery are heirlooms – things of beauty, joy and truth, like Keats’ Grecian Urn.

The ancient Phulkari (flower work embroidery); the legendary Chikan craftsmanship (believed to be introduced by Nur Jahan); Kahsido work inspired by nature; the now trending mirror work embroidery – to name just a few. And who can ignore the elegance of Chinese Silk work embroidery. Yes, generations will come and go and your quilts will stay on, but eastern embroidery works are aesthetic creations not just pass me downs.

Eastern Emboridery work: Phulkari, Chikan, Mirror Work, Chinese Embroidery & Kashida

Eastern Embroidery work: Phulkari, Chikan, Mirror Work, Chinese Silk Embroidery & Kashida

However, times they are changing, the West has suddenly woken up to both Thread Art and Embroidery and have turned it into a fabulous medium of art – versatile and avant-garde, we are now looking at them from a whole new perspective. What punctuates our discussion now onward are a billion words, if each picture could be said to worth a thousand words.

The following piece is by Ana Teresa Barboza from Lima, Perú. Titled Suspension the artist uses Embroidery on cloth Knitted wool yarn.

Suspension

Suspension

While, the artwork of Annemieke Mein is unique. She combines fabric, paint and sewing threads to produce works that are realistically accurate. In the following piece titled Bulldog Ant, she uses Machine Embroidery along with applique, quilting and other techniques.

Bulldog Ant

Bulldog Ant

Inge Jacobsen uses thread work mostly on vintage commercial imagery using a Embroidery technique she has named ‘hijacking’ to throw new light on beauty and materialism – with a subtext that runs in every stitch. The work displayed below is a  Threaded Vogue Cover.

Vogue Cover

Vogue Cover

The last piece we present is by the Mondongo Argentina art collective, which includes artists Agustina Picasso, Manuel Mendanha, and Juliana Laffitte.The Untitled Portrait presented here uses various techniques created from Cotton threads on wood.

Untitled Portrait from 2008 Exhibits

Untitled Portrait from 2008 Exhibits

Wasn’t those thread and embroidery works breathtaking? Inspired?

Inspired enough to create your own pieces? Yes, we know most of you are not experts but like all of us yearn to be, when it comes to things we are passionate about. And here is where we can help you live your dream through our USHA Janome Memory Craft Embroidery Machines. Machines so technological developed and artistically inclined that they will help you weave your dreams come alive, be it an art piece or an embroidery work to adorn a dress. It is Embroidery on Autopilot! Well almost, imagination is a must though.

USHA JANOME MEMORY CRAFT EMBROIDERY SEWING MACHINES

USHA JANOME MEMORY CRAFT EMBROIDERY SEWING MACHINES

 To Know more and Get Started Click Here

Have Visited HAB, Yet?

The HABHere is a little secret for you, there is this amazing place in Mumbai called The HAB and another one at Kochi. Short for Haberdashery store , The HAB is perhaps the best Sewing R&D center in the country. But don’t let the dreaded abbreviation ‘R&D’ intimidate you because Research and Development is just one aspect of it. It was primarily set up by Usha to encourage sewing among people .

projectsDoesn’t matter whether you are a kid or a mother or a grandmother The HAB has tailored (pun intended) course for about everyone. You could start with something as simple as a Bookmark and move up the sewing ladder unto garments and home decor – anything is possible at The HAB. You dream it and we will teach you to weave your dreams into reality.

There are also short activities and workshops catering to various occasions from Father’s Day and Monsoon sessions to the upcoming Raksha Bandhan. An expert will take you step by step through these various workshops and activities, helping you create magic out of fabrics. These workshops can last for anything between 30 mins to 6 hours (spread over days if you want it that way).

And believe us The HAB is as glamorous as Sewing can get with its eloquent ambiance and highly advanced sewing and embroidery machines.

Thinking of picking up a new Hobby? Why not head to The HAB to unleash your creativity, we promise it will be more than worth it. To Check out what people are sewing, stitching  and creating Click Herebag

Address: The HAB, Opp Sahib Khatwara Darbar, Road no. 7, Linking Road, Khar (W)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Tel: 022 6127 4444