Sindarfi- Love for Art and Community.
I grew up in Rajasthan, India, and at multiple places. My father, a businessman, moved around quite a bit and he set up a resort in a small village near Jaisalmer. I haven’t been there quite frequently, but on my last visit before leaving, one of my father’s most trusted aide gifted me a keychain. It was purely handcrafted, a beautiful figurine of mirrors, threadwork, and something I haven’t come across elsewhere. That is the beauty of the state. Talent resides in the most unexpected corners; colors define us, and all it needs is someone passionate enough to give wings to these gifted craftsmen. Many non-profits and businesses are working with local artisans but Sindarfi struck a chord with me, and as you read, you will know why.
Sindarfi in Ajmer Merwari language, widely spoken in Ajmer district of Rajasthan, a state in India means a combination of bright orange and pink colors. It is interesting how this small organization got its name. Radhika Rathore, from Kharwa village in Rajasthan, after having worked for an NGO for three years decided to come back to her village to start the home based craft project. A graphic designer by profession, she couldn’t stay away from her love for handmade crafts for too long, and the project was born. She was very clear of choosing a traditional name for her project. With inputs from her grandmother and father, out of the desire to keep a traditional name, Sindarfi was decided.
The founder is the most unassuming person I have met, and the organization has always intrigued me with their products and creativity. When I first approached this story, I was asked, “Do you think this will make for an excellent article? It’s more of a hobby and passion for the craft than anything else.” This statement fueled my curiosity and eagerness to do the story. It is a non-profit and producer owned artisan organization where profits are either divided among the artisans or reinvested in the project. Radhika and her mother carry out most of the work, they create patterns or a stitch and then teach others. If it involves geometrical patterns or illustrations for magnets, she uses a computer first. Sindarfi was born to help the people of Kharwa village in Rajasthan and also as a means to get to know them. Their products have taken them to various art shows and fairs throughout the country. Radhika’s parents have been instrumental in the set-up and running of the organization. While her mother helps her with designs, patterns and most of the stitching, her father readily gave her the room that was used to keep the chickens. The shelves that were used to lay eggs now house beads, laces, and other craft material.
For some of us, rewards come in the form of monetary profits, for some expansion of projects, but Sindarfi is not you and me. Since the organization revolves around local artists, a woman named Sunita, deposited her earnings with Radhika until she could buy a mixer with that. The happiness on her face was priceless, says Radhika. This joy, the beautiful array of colors forms an integral part of what the organization is, and how they thrive. They make a broad range of products like quilts, multi-purpose pouches, fridge magnets, journals, etc. If you haven’t come across this organization yet, check out their Facebook page. Their goodies have traveled as far as France, and the reason they create them is beautiful. Radhika also runs a small store from her home in Pune. Check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Sindarfi/?fref=ts