At Kashmir Fine Arts & Crafts, we believe that our human vision is what shapes our business mission – not the other way around. We believe in sustainability for artisans who should be paid well for their stunningly beautiful work. We believe in bringing together the finest craftsmanship from the Kashmir region of India into the living spaces of customers around the world who want hand-crafted, eye-catching, and durable pieces of art – rugs, shawls, pillows, jewelry, and table decorations. Our goal is to reverse a 40-year downward spiral of low pay and lack of marketing by throwing open the personal touch and customizable beauty of the Kashmir region’s handicraft talent to the international market, so that younger and older craftsmen in India are able to create a sustainable livelihood for their families.
Fair Trade and Maintaining Traditional Family Businesses
Though Kashmir products have been created for centuries, our family business was created in 1996 in northern India, and transported to the United States in 2001. Our first retail outlet opened in 2005 in the city of Boston. We maintain close ties with our Kashmir artisans and master craftsmen who make the magic happen. They are busy reviving ancient designs, textures, and weaves; our job is to showcase their work on the international market.
As a family business, we support an entire network of family businesses who use locally produced raw goods to create handicraft products within their own homes. With the help of highly skilled artisans, our entire range of products are hand produced in cottages and villages in Kashmir. Each family specializes in one area, such as rug-making, embroidery weaving, or designing papier-mache. As retail outlets spring up in countries and regions beyond northern India, customers give feedback important for design and style innovation.
Vision Meets History
Our key objective is not only to preserve but to revitalize the Kashmir handicraft business industry, which began in the 11th Century and incorporated influences from the Persian, Mughal, Afghan and Sikh cultures. With the knowledge that paisley shawls were a great fashion trend in the 18th and 19th Centuries, and our hand-knotted rugs were at one time considered the equivalent of Kashmir stocks and shares, we fully believe that the Kashmir arts can be updated for the needs of today while building on the lessons of the past.
Mission Meets History
We endeavor to establish fair trade practices in Kashmir, with a dual purpose. If these incredible artists are duly compensated, this will ensure that they not only continue this trade, but are also passionate about their work. We want these artisans to prosper and restore the arts and crafts of Kashmir to their past glory, without having to resort to factory methods that have overwhelmed the textile markets in recent generations.
Our dedication and passion for empowering and enriching the lives of the Kashmir artisans will in turn fuel their creativity and the confidence to experiment, scaling new and daring heights in the pursuit of their craft. They can register their contribution in history by becoming part of our mission, to work with relentless force toward the revival of Kashmir’s arts and crafts. Our efforts to conserve this form of art will make a difference in the lives of these artists, as they are allowed to shape a sustainable livelihood. Their production of the finest Kashmir products that have ever been made will foster recognition and appreciation by connoiseurs and patrons of the art for the quality of their work.
In the same way that we believe in the power of bringing together artists and conoisseurs of living art, we believe that the second part of our mission is to be the communication bridge between our artisans and customers to further enrich this noble Kashmir tradition. Keeping alive a continual feedback loop will allow for increased experimentation and new color combinations that keep the products fresh and unique. We are dedicated to supplying the artists with a continual flow of ideas that encourage innovative techniques and modern designs, retaining classic elements of trends and styles without allowing the flavor-of-the-month to override true beauty. We value the creative use of ancient techniques in order to create the finest products in the 21st Century. We do not live in the past; we are in a partnership with the artisans to create history while engaged in the creative pursuits of producing Kashmir art.
As an authentic source for buying exceptional handcrafted products made in Kashmir, we take great pride in the high quality and intricate workmanship of our products. We have introduced high-quality products at reasonable prices, and have revived age-old patterns and styles using ancient techniques with stunning accuracy. At the same time, we believe that we are providing much more than living wages to our contractors and appealing products to our clients. While most people cannot afford pieces of art displayed in museums, our company allows the refinement and allure of a rich and living tapestry of color into homes across the world. That which was merely allowed to be seen and photographed can now be owned and worn.
Rooted in the beauty and lessons of the past, Kashmir Fine Arts & Crafts is bringing about a revival of the rich traditions and beauty of the past into the future. There is much potential for these practical folklore items, and the journey has just begun.