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Traversing Heritage Mountains

Written by Imogen Peacock - 6th December 2023

Cherishing the ancestral spinning, weaving and slow craft processes of Kullvi Whims from Naggar village in the Himalayan mountains. A team of over 84 all-female traditional artisans forms Kullvi Whims, spanning over 250 pastoral families in the local region to maintain the fading craft of traditional hand-spinning, weaving, knitting and crocheting, inherent to the local community.

The championing founder behind the collective is Nisha Subramaniam. Nisha has been involved in the community development and working with female artisans in Himachal for over 10 years. Her interest in traditional craft and how it can fit into the modern lifestyles of artisans while still maintaining its cultural context has motivated her to explore the craft, vernacular and pastoral traditions of Himachal in depth.

“Our inspirations come from our magnificent surroundings, heritage pieces as well as elements from traditional attire like the ‘pattu’ or ‘dhordo’ which results in contemporary weaves and knits born from a traditional identity. Techniques and design rooted in the place and people are celebrated right from the hands-on yarn to the final fabric of product.”

- Nisha Subramaniam

Visiting Kullvi Whims in the Himalayas, is always a cherished trip for ZAZI - watching, listening and learning from all of their inherent wisdom. Along with Fauve Bouwman, we strive to capture the essence of Kullvi Whims as a community collective and their reciprocal relationship with their surrounding nature.

With a focus on editorial campaign photography, Fauve Bouwman reflects this relationship between Kullvi Whims and their cherished land, by intertwining the style and textures of ZAZI creations with the charm of Mother Nature and her home in the mountains.

“We love working with our ancestral craft of knitting. But as women of the mountains, we feel working on our land is such an integral part of our being. It’s in this work of weaving / knitting, that we feel the interconnectedness of our work ties to the land. Working with our indigenous wool is rooted in the reciprocity of nature — the shepherd that walks the land and sheep that feed off the mountains, then give the gifts of reciprocity — wool. Which we then weave into beautiful pieces.”

- Lata Ji from Kullvi Whims.

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