The first group I visited was called Shradhanjali (“gift of trust”) in Auroville. There I found beautiful contemporary cards, coasters and placemats, made from recycled handmade paper with organic flower designs. Their purchase helps to support village people who make the items and live around Auroville, an international spiritual community in its 40th year.
Next stop was Sandur, a collective of Lambani tribal women, where I was amazed by the beautiful embroidered textiles. Each piece a true work of art, Lambani embroidery is an amalgam of pattern darning, mirror work, cross stitch, and overlaid and quilting stitches with borders of “Kangura” patchwork appliqué, done on loosely woven dark blue or red handloom base fabric, reflecting the women’s own traditional dress. The income from their sale directly helps the children as well as the women, whose husbands work in the iron and manganese mines.