Jan became interested in namdas during a research project on declining crafts while getting her master’s degree at the Craft Development Institute in Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital.
As part of her research, Jan was required to introduce innovations to increase the marketability of Kashmiri namdas. So instead of using local wool, she used 100-percent merino, a type of sheep prized for its wool quality. She also used dyes free of azo compounds, a chemical used in dyes for its vivid colors, so they wouldn’t be harmful or bleed.
“You can hand wash our namdas,” she says. “They won’t lose their color. You can even vacuum them, things you can’t do with the ordinary namda you find in the market these days.”
For embroidery, she opted for a superior thread and a style called crewel, often used on curtains.
Photo by Neil