Tem Jal was born during the wander-lusting adventures of a young designer traveling independently throughout India in search of her gypsy heritage. Her one goal was to embrace the soul of everyone and everything she met along the way. She landed in the State of Rajasthan on the border of Pakistan where she spent time in the Thar Desert between nomadic gypsy enclaves hailing from the craft villages on the beaches of Gujarat. There she developed a love for tribal culture, so enormously full of devotion and tradition.
Tem Jal was created with a deep respect for the intricate embroidery and textile traditions of this region. A mother initiates her young daughter into Bharat (embroidery) in order to prepare her elaborate collection of textiles for her married life. Afternoons are devoted to handicrafts in the villages, where women diligently embroider textiles as an expression of creativity, aesthetics and identity. One of the most distinctive characteristics of embroidery from this region is the contrasting and non-repetitive use of colors. The verve and pleasure of the wandering gypsy life is reflected in the geometric motifs of the embroidery. Designs are taken from mythology, while vibrant colors and the use of Shisha (mirror embroidery) distinguish the women from their desert landscapes.
Precious antique and vintage handmade textiles and jewelry pieces are meticulously sourced from many different tribes in Gujarat, Rajasthan, the border of Pakistan, and parts of Afghanistan. The materials are then brought to the city of Jaipur where they are made into contemporary handbag designs. Our handmade process allows us the pleasure of personally working with artisans, and ensuring they are paid a fair and living wage. This directly contributes to the livelihood and sustainability of the indigenous communities that these cherished items travel from. Tem Jal concentrates on the importance of preserving the cultural traditions of tribal artisans by encouraging a redevelopment of their crafts in the younger generations as an alternative source of income, especially for women.
While encouraging the craft traditions of tribal artisans, we also believe in tackling the root causes that continue to keep tribal women in India uneducated, exploited, and vulnerable. Our Community Development Initiative partners with Nari Utthan Sansthan, a grass roots organization based in Rajasthan, where many of the tribes we work with are based. Nari Utthan Sansthan has worked on initiatives of female empowerment, health, education, environment, child labor and awareness programs for 18 years with over 6,000 individual success stories.
This project was partially funded by a grant from DCASE Chicago