Sanjuben Pachanbhai Rabari | Dhebaria Rabari Embroidery

Dhebaria Rabari is a form of embroidery found in the western part of India, particularly the areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Sanjuben belongs to the Rabari community who are a pastoral community but have lived a nomadic life in search of pasture for their cattle. There are numerous sub groups of the Rabari community which include the Dhebaria Rabari community. Irrespective of different groups, the community identifies themselves firstly as the Rabaris.

As the name suggests, this particular embroidery is done by the Dhebaria Rabari community. It boasts intricate designs of various colours that are later used on a child’s cradle and for various decoration purposes. Women of the community adorn themselves with their work. The embroidery plays a significant role in the weddings of the community. Girls from a young age are taught this craft by the elder women (preferably the mother) of the family.

Sanjuben’s relationship with Dhebaria Rabari Embroidery is fascinating and has gone on for over 20 years now. Over the decades of experience, she is more intimately connected to her art than she can ever be. Just like any other girl of the community, Sanjuben too, was handed over the skill of embroidery by her mother. We have worked on some custom orders with her, since each piece takes months to make sometimes.

 As much as this embroidery has played a role of visual and material aesthetic in Sanjuben’s life, things changed when the community leaders decided to ban it. Those days, Sanjuben lost hope for her cultural heritage. Despite the ban, the women continued to embroider in secret. When things started to look grim, they had to stop. She lamented the loss of art (and in some way still does because of our modern life and disconnect with our tradition).

Later on, gradually, Sanjuben took up embroidery again from 2001. She embroidered for Kala Raksha and went on to study at Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya in 2010. After that, there was no looking back.

Sanjuben now gets her orders on her KRV collection and has participated in Co-Creation Squared. She has created logos for Sangam and Somaiya Kala Vidya. In 2019 she participated in a co-design project with Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology. During the same year, Sanjuben created objects for The Textile Museum, Washington DC collection.

Sanjuben successfully received her certificate in Business and Management for Artisans in January 2015. She continues her design development, has taught workshops and instructed in classes at SKV (Somaiya Kala Vidya).
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