"I was born [...] in the Kashmir valley, where the tradition of carpet weaving and chain stitching is as old as the land itself."
I was born in the Kashmir valley, where the tradition of carpet weaving and chain stitching is as old as the land itself. Hailing from a family of Srinagar, I learned the art in my childhood, but it is for the last 12 years or so that I started off as an independent entrepreneur.
For chain stitching of carpets we use a cotton base, sketch out the design or impress it with a wooden die prepared by our master designer. Then, four artisans begin chain-stitching with pure wool from four sides giving rise to a well-prepared structure. It takes around eight to ten days to make a rug and, together with our master craftsman in Srinagar, I do most of the designs.
The demand for chain-stitched rugs has increased, however, most people have been mistakenly led to believe that such sophisticated products are woven on a machine and they are thus hesitant to purchase.
I have not only taught this art to many people but also helped them in developing their own self-sufficient projects. I have participated in fairs in India and abroad — in Singapore, for example, where I received an award.
I would certainly want this art to continue in our family, and my immediate plans are to give a worldwide exposure to our rugs. In this direction, I believe our work will gain good acceptance among your valued shoppers.
Syed Izaz Hussein also demonstrates superior skill in the realm of papier maché, and his workshop offers beautiful, intricate works crafted in this method. Some 700 years ago, Shah Hamadan, the Persian Sufia, came to Kashmir via the Silk Route and introduced the art of papier maché. Since that time, generations of Hussein's family have perpetuated the craft. Hussein even holds a copyright in certain teal-colored designs and patterns which he incorporates into select papier maché works.