Sitaben Chavda ~ beaded jewellery
Sitaben Chavda is a traditional bead artisan based in Ahmedabad's old city.
When Eddy and I visited in January this year (just before COVID) we were, unfortunately, unable to meet her.
Artisans like Sitaben Chavda face an uncertain future as their work is often undervalued and most certainly unheralded by clients. Opportunist middlemen have been placing more pressure on Indian artisans during the COVID-19 pandemic to accept lower prices for their work.
When interviewed by LOkesh, Sitaben said “I could somehow manage during the initial lockdown, but things are hard for me now, and if the lockdown continues, I will not be able to have two meals a day. AMC workers responsible for picking up garbage are not coming to my street. We have to clean the street and walk to the main road for garbage collection. It is hard for a senior citizen like me.”
Sitaben has a few necklaces in stock, but no raw materials to use except very tiny Italian beads which she was avoiding using due to her weak eyesight. She is now threading these to make an elaborate necklace, which she calls a garland. “It could be worn in a classical dance performance, in a festival such as Navratri, or for any special occasion. It’s inspired by the women of the Rathwa tribe. I started making jewellery like this long ago, I have been making garlands like these for more than 30 years.”
Here are Sitaben's garlands.
Bead netting handmade with Italian glass beads.