Hunarmand Hoost (Skilled Hands)
Craft is knowledge…
Chitral valley lies in the heart of the majestic Hindukush Mountains in the North West Frontier of Pakistan, which stands some 6,000 meters high. It is cut off from the rest of the country for a quarter of the year due to extreme weather conditions. Chitral was nominated for a local peace award, as it is one of the most peaceful and safe regions of Pakistan, despite its shared border with Afghanistan.
The Khow Culture is a common heritage of different ethnic groups, who migrated from Central Asia over the centuries.
The main cottage industry of Chitral has been the production of Shu or Chitrali Patti; hand woven Woollen Cloth from local sheep, yak and ibex. It is one of the indigenous skills developed in Chitral and deep rooted in the local culture. Other crafts include embroidery, knitting, crochet, rug making, woodwork, pottery, metalwork, and the making of agriculture implements.
Traditional embroidery used silk thread; local historians believe that silk was introduced in Chitral during the seventh century AD by the Chinese who were the principal power at that time with the local rulers paying them taxes.
Chitrali embroidery to date is carried out by skilled female embroiderers with articles are made for wedding gifts, dowries and other household decorative items. The common stitches used in embroidery are cross-stitch and Satin stitch. Other stitches are also widely used.
Hunarmand Hoost (Skilled hands) of Chitral - Short film
The skill of embroidery is the pride of Chitrali women; a skill, that is handed down from generation to generation and is part and parcel of their everyday lives. Women of Chitral form a community through their craft. The film goes behind the scenes to show the process of Twilling Tweed products by capturing activities in the workshop and the artisan’s personal lives. The blend of both gives insight into the inspiration and cultural influences in the products.
As the products are an infusion of two cultures, all products are crafted with hand embroidery on Scottish Harris Tweed. These are unique and indigenous to the Chitrali culture in the remote north part of Pakistan. The imprecision of the handmade craft is perhaps the beauty behind the products.