Rural artisans of Assam will get an opportunity to showcase their talents at a trade show in New York City. Weaving patterns of Assam will be showcased in NY Now, a premier tradeshow in the Javits Convention Center in New York City from August 20-24, 2016.
Kristine Gottilla, a Brooklyn entrepreneur/designer discovered the weaving patterns of Assam, when she made a visit to Assam in 2012. She is the founder of Spencer Devine, a Brooklyn-based maker of leather handbags, travel bags. In collaboration with the Bokakhat-based non-profit organization North East Social Trust (NEST), a module was designed to develop Assamese handloom and handicraft as an avenue for women empowerment and incremental income of local communities.
She visited Bokakhat every year and spent time with the artisans for a better understanding of the traditional designs, skills and their lives. Branded as ‘Assam Capsule’, the bags designed for the US customers integrating the fabrics woven at Bokakhat are available on the Spencer Devine website. A part of the profit she earned out of selling those bags is given back to NEST.
The organization, uses the money to provide sewing machines to women belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families to earn a livelihood. The women use the machines to run sewing schools and do other tailoring work. Already ten such sewing machines have been given to women in Bokakhat.
Bags for the Exhibition
For the last month, Bokakhat weavers and Brooklyn-based designers have been working hard to demonstrate the ‘Assam Capsule’ in premier exhibition NY Now in the US. Artisans of Bokakhat are weaving various fabrics of different designs.
Beneficiaries of the sewing machine project are making the preliminary shapes of the bags before sending them to Brooklyn. Once there, Kristine and her team convert those preliminary bags into finished products by adding the leather work and other value addition initiatives.
Photo Courtesy: Spencer Devine