SETU works with underprivileged and marginalized artisans. Our partner artisans belong to the
following categories:

  • Grass-root level co-operatives
  • NGOs involved in art and craft activities
  • Clusters and self-help groups
  • Tribal and rural artisans
  • Persons with special needs / differently-abled persons
  • Mission based groups
  • Local entrepreneurs who help in boosting local
    economy and increase employment opportunities

If you are interested in partnering with us for supplying handmade products, please click here.

Currently, our artisan network is spread widely in different parts of India, indicated with green color in the map of India given here.

SETU works in 16 states of India
with more than 40 artisan groups
and more than 10,000 artisans !

Our Artisans & Art Forms

The art of appliqué is practiced by women artisans who are part of large co-operatives, located in hot, arid, rural desert villages of Rajasthan & Kutch. Women from distant villages come once a week to the cooperative offices, submit their products and collect more raw materials to work on in their small homes or huts. Profits from this art help the overall development of the groups; they now have medical centers providing basic health services, solar electricity, schools for kids and vocational colleges for women.

In the intricate art form of appliqué, fabric is first cut into the desired shape using a chisel and hammer. The artisans then trace the base fabric where this cut fabric pattern is placed and then hand appliqué the pattern with small stitches. These skills have passed down through generations as part of tradition & livelihood source. Embroidery art forms were developed by women as a way to embellish their clothing and household items, and many girls in India grow up learning the craft from the elder women in their families. Every intricate form tells a story through patterns and colors, and each style is representative of an artisan’s community & region. Embroideries were considered so special that these were traditionally given as dowries.

SETU is committed to provide these artisans with employment and empowerment, focus on health, social and environmental sustainability….We have conducted a lot of development projects for these artisans such as sponsoring solar lights in 100+ homes, skill upgradation workshops, workshops on health, hygiene & nutrition, installing computer training centre for artisans, various health & eye check up camps etc.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Though sewing seems to be a basic process of stitching together fabrics, it means the world to our artisans. Our stitching artisans mostly come from low-income urban community, while some of them are migrated from rural areas in search of livelihood. Sustainable & fair wages from tailoring allows them & their families to live a life of dignity. Because of this, their positions have become economically & socially enhanced. The artisans’ children are able to attend school, attain higher education and avail health facilities.

These artisans are based in urban northwest India. They sew upcycled denims, sari & cotton fabrics to create our beautifully repurposed and functional fabric products. They can sew everything, from garments to bags to fashion & home accessories. The fabric is sourced locally, including remnants and discards, checked for defects, washed and prepared for a new life. Men take the bulk of the machine stitching work; women work on finishing, embellishment, traditional kantha embroidery and hand stitching. Many fabrics created and embellished by other artisans that require complex stitching are also sent to this community for fine finishing details.

SETU ensures skill upgradation & sustainable livelihood opportunities for these artisans.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Using ancient Indian ayurvedic techniques, our herbal soaps are the perfect balance of purity and fragrance. Artisans boil all-natural ingredients such as rose, sandalwood, basil, turmeric etc to generate herbal extracts, which are mixed with oils and soap base before being molded and cooled. All our soaps are made of vegetable glycerin and are free of detergents and phosphates, so the gentle aromatic lather does not dry skin.

The women who make our soaps live in a remote multicultural region in South India. This artisan group was established to uplift women through livelihood generation in local villages. In addition to fair wages, artisans participate in workshops about improving health, hygiene and sanitation.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Our main products here are hand-woven baskets, created totally out of natural vegetation. Hogla leaves, Date palms and Jute fibre are some of the most sustainable & natural materials that are used to weave these beautiful & functional baskets. These plants are harvested and dried to convert into strips or fibers. These are then hand braided and woven into baskets by master artisans in Bangladesh.

Erstwhile an integral part of India & then of East Pakistan, today's Bangladesh has been through genocide, floods, cyclones and political unrests, and the dense population is extremely impoverished. As a response to these events, many co-operatives & Fair Trade Organizations came up to provide craft trainings, health camps, social and economic development to empower artisans. SETU works with such partner artisans to help uplift economic standing of the local communities in Bangladesh.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

This is an ancient craft, practiced by "Lohar" community, which means ironsmiths in native language. Most artisans live in the desert region of Kutch. Because of severe drought, this region is not cultivable. Artisans depend on crafts, such as bell-making, for income generation and support the local economy of the region. This is a traditional art passed down from generations where both men and women are equally involved. Due to consecutive droughts over the years, cattle breeders could no longer buy bells on a regular basis and the domestic demand for traditional bell making was on the verge of extinction. Now, with the help of fair trade and mission-based organizations, over 1000 artisans in villages across this region are repositioning this traditional craft for sustainable livelihood. SETU helps provide these disadvantaged artisans with international marketing platform to ensure economic stability and a respectable social standing.

Traditionally used by Indian farmers to identify their livestock, each bell was hand tuned to produce a distinctive chime. Made from recycled metals like iron scrap, artisans manually cut and hammer the metal to hand-shape the bells, then coat them with a clay-cotton dough, containing powdered brass alloy before firing in kilns. Each rustic bell is then hand tuned to reveal a rich, unique sound like no other bell. Most artisans work from their homes on local or homemade furnaces.

SETU has ensured many socio-economic development projects with these artisans such as, projects related to health & safety, sponsoring of work sheds & tools, installation of technically upgraded kilns and so on…

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Block printing is a traditional art form native to Rajasthan & Gujarat, India. This is a 'resist' form of printing & dyeing… a process of labor-intensive steps that require mastery, especially in wood-block carving & stamping. Artisans hand carve a wood block with patterns inspired by local flora and fauna or geometric constellations. It is then dipped into natural dye, and then carefully stamped on the fabric, creating beautiful patterns.

Each color needs a separate block and intricate designs can take several days to carve the blocks. Fabric is desized with a mixture of herbs to make it absorbent for natural dyes extracted from plants, minerals and flowers. Artisans press the carved wood block with wet dye onto fabric and reapply at precise spots for pattern continuation. When the pattern is complete, the printed fabric is washed or boiled for the final color to come to surface. The color changes throughout the process — shade variations can be dramatic depending on the weather, temperature & fabric's exposure time in sunlight while drying. Since these are dyed & washed in drums, and printed over small tables, the batch size is limited in production, giving every piece a distinctively handmade, unique and rich feel.

The fabrics used are sourced locally and are mostly cotton. All dyes used are natural, extracted from vegetable & mineral sources.

Our block print artisan partners live in scattered rural villages that are challenged by poverty and lack of infrastructure in their isolated communities. There are few opportunities for jobs in this desert region, where the climate is too dry for agriculture. We partner with local entrepreneurs, who help create employment opportunities for local people. Master craftsmen & national awardees help train local youth to learn this craft as a means of livelihood.

SETU focuses on economic, social and environmental upliftment of these communities and provides development solutions such as solar power, training and health care. With support from SETU, this group has now market opportunities & sustainable income. We have not only conducted skill development & motivational training workshops for the artisans, but have sponsored an entire water recycling plant to save water resources. The million litre water saving project has taken this environment friendly art form to a much higher sustainable level!

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Bone carving dates back to pre-historic era, across all civilizations. This involves cutting and carving of bone & horn to create ornate or utilitarian articles. After the ban of ivory, bones & horns of naturally deceased large animals such as camel & buffalo are the basic raw materials for this craft. The art forms include carving, filigree & metal inlay work on bone & horn. These are also mixed with wood, MDF, brass etc to create more versatile & bigger product range. The final products include ornate jewelry, boxes & frames, handles & knobs, table ware, decorative sculptures, and many other home décor accessories.

The process involves cutting of bone pieces in required shape & size, cleaning & disinfecting them, dyeing if needed, joining to create required shape & form, carving or doing filigree, inlaying etc. The final products are then cleaned, buffed and fitted with accessories.

The artisans are mostly from underprivileged Muslim communities. The craft has passed down from generations. Due to lack of education & growth opportunities, these artisans are dependent on this craft for livelihood. We work with a group of over 25 artisans, located in Northern India.

In addition to economic sustainability, SETU supports these artisans by sponsoring machinery & tools, installing bone-dust removal systems to ensure healthy & safe working environment for artisans & so on.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Chindi means "textile scrap" in the native language! As the name suggests, chindi weaving is one of the most sustainable art forms we work with. Traditionally, Indian women upcycle old cotton clothing & saris, creating useful items for their homes to save money and resources. For our products, cotton scraps and sustainable jute fibers are woven together and sewn to create beautiful, functional products such as rugs, baskets, trivets etc. These materials reincarnate into beautiful, colorful home additions.

The artisans are all under-privileged women, who work as a small Self Help Group. This group consists of 12 women artisans and is located in the state of Rajasthan in Northwest India. The village in itself is rural but well connected to nearby markets, allowing them to easily source & transport materials. Due to lack of education, they face unemployment, poverty & male dominance. They are even forced to work as casual laborers in the harsh environment of farming. Through their craft, they are now gaining independence and participating in trainings to polish their skills.

SETU not only supports them in providing sustainable livelihood, but also works on their socio-economic upliftment, such as conducting skill upgradation workshops, training programs, workshops on health, hygiene & women rights, sponsoring sewing machines & tools & so on…

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

The only tool needed for crochet is a simple hooked needle and thread, yet the intricate patterns can have a basic mathematical structure that express delicacy and beauty. Using a hook, artisans interlock thread loops into beautiful, desired products. Our crochet partners live in the West Godavari delta region. This craft was introduced in south India in the middle of the 19th century to provide employment to poor and dalit (the so-called low caste) women.

Our partner artisans belong to a women's community co-operative. About 100 women crochet our products, mostly from their homes. The co-operative focuses on economic development and artisan training. This group provides education, savings and loan programs, and promotes anti-dowry advocacy.

SETU supports the group by sponsoring various skill training workshops, sponsoring sewing machines, conducting free health & eye check up camps, conducting health & hygiene campaigns & so on.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Handloom weaving is of high historic importance in India, with Mahatma Gandhi promoting it as a part of India’s independence movement. It is a symbol of self-sustainability &  promotion of local trade.  Raw cotton threads are dyed and reeled into small spools, which are creeled behind a loom. Artisans bring the work to life using wooden pit looms, weaving intricate patterns into the product. They do this by counting threads, not using knots, resulting in the same pattern on both sides of the weft. The patterns are made following four types of stitches: backstitch, horizontal, vertical or diagonal. That is why these beautiful woven products have been called “exquisite poetry in colorful fabrics.”

In the past, this traditional art form provided profitable employment, but now artisans struggle to compete with the modern textile industry. Job options are few and the growth of industrialization entices artisans of this region to move into cities to work in factories.

Our partner community of textile handloom weavers is located in north central India on the outskirts of large urban areas. This small group of about 15 men and women have low education levels and face increasing economic challenges.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Ornate jewelry is an age old and proud cultural tradition in India. Every piece in our collection hints at a deeper story & culture.

Our partner artisans who make jewelry are scattered in different parts of North India, from urban slums of New Delhi to various rural & under developed towns in the vicinity of about 200 kms from Delhi. Most artisans belong to Muslim community. This is a traditional art, followed from generations. In ancient days, these artisans made jewelry & handicrafts by doing intricate carving on ivory. With ivory getting banned, these artisans started using other sustainable raw materials such as wood, metals, bone, glass, seeds etc. Artisans use numerous techniques to create a wide range of unique styles, such as etching, beading, wire drawing, polishing, electroplating, soldering, carving, braiding, threading, embroidery and so on. The entire community is very inter-woven and supports each other to create these unmatched beautiful pieces.

Other than providing sustainable livelihood opportunities, SETU supports these communities by providing financial aid, promoting girl child education, sponsoring computers & machinery, organizing free health & eye check up camps etc.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Metal work is an art form that dates back over 16th century in Rajasthan. Being the land of Rajput kings & fighters, metal craft was used to produce armors, helmets, swords & weapons. Huge stone "havelis" also had engraved & enameled metal decorations. Kings encouraged local wood craftsmen to integrate carved designs in their work. Even today, large palaces, havelis, forts, and local houses in villages carry traditionally carved antique doors and furniture, involving wood, metals & enameling work.

The metal work is inspired by battlefields, hunting scenes etc and involves processes like forging, embossing, engraving & lots of painting. And so, one can commonly find motifs & shapes inspired by elephants, peacocks, havelis, fighting soldiers etc. Green, blue & red are the most common colors used, which are symbolic of the Rajputi culture of those times.

We currently partner with local entrepreneurs, involving 150 metal craft artisans. They make home accessories like frames, boxes, decorative bells etc. The raw materials include reclaimed wood from old doors, windows, ships etc, sustainably harvested mango wood and MDF, a material made from recycled wood fibers. The metal engravings are produced with upcycled and salvaged materials such as iron, aluminum, bronze, and brass. Painting & some finishing work is done by women, whereas wood & metal work is done by men.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Paper Maché is a French word, which means "mashed paper". This art was born in Persia and was brought to the Himalayan region of Kashmir in the 14th century. This is one of the most beautiful handicrafts of Kashmir. Today, the state of Kashmir is home to thousands of Muslim artisans who create papier maché products for their livelihood. Once known as “Paradise on Earth,” the serene valley of Kashmir has suffered terrorism and battles due to political unrest between India and Pakistan. This has resulted in a drastic decline in its tourism industry, which  used to be the main source of income for the locals. Industry jobs are scarce and farming is tedious, so most villagers now rely on craft production. Being on the foothills of Himalayas, the artisans battle extreme cold & rain, in addition to difficult terrains & terrorist activities.

Paper Maché is a composite material made by paper pulp, textile reinforcements & adhesives. Artisans first soak used newspaper for many days until the paper dissolves. It is then mixed with cloth, straw & starch to form a reinforced pulp. The mixture is molded in moist condition, left to set and cut into shape after drying. It is then filed and coated with glue paste & chalk. After again rubbing smooth with baked bricks, more layers of paper are pasted to avoid cracks. The base color and motifs are all created freehand, using non-toxic paints, then buffed and coated with varnish. Mostly bright colors are used, with extensive use of gold. Patterns are inspired by nature, involving flowers, animals & birds, and have a strong Persian zest.

SETU provides these artisans with sustainable employment opportunities, and thus our groups have expanded from initially 10 to over 20 artisans now. We also support these groups by sponsoring skill upgradation workshops, product development, solar inverters and so on.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Pottery is an age-old art in India. Artisans use a potter’s wheel, handmade mold, or their hands to shape natural clay into beautiful pieces of art. Our pottery collection includes various ancient forms, from rustic Terracotta to the delicately hand painted Blue Pottery of Jaipur. Pottery is considered to be of yogic nature & a mystical trade because it incorporates five vital elements of nature: air, fire, earth, water, and space. This art leaves no carbon footprints.

This art dates back all the way to the Bronze Age to the Indus Valley civilization. Every region of India has their own native form of pottery craft. To support local artisans, we currently partner with three groups in Rajasthan, consisting of a combined 60-70 artisans. All of these groups are from rural areas that are well connected to urban markets by highways.

The Blue Pottery group uses advanced techniques to glaze and fire pottery at high temperatures reaching 850 degrees celsius. Their geometric designs are inspired by regional flora and fauna. Our Terracotta co-operative partners carry on an ancient legacy. They use just local clay & manual wheels to create magic out of nothing!

SETU has helped in upgrading these crafts to international standards. A lot of research & support has been provided to develop lead free Blue pottery so as to safeguard the health of artisans. Infrastructural support has been sponsored to artisans like refractory grade kilns & stands.

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Shibori is the Japanese term for tying & dyeing cloth in a special way. The art dates back to 8th century. It involves binding certain sections of cloth before dyeing, so as to achieve desired patterns. Artisans can creatively bind, clamp, stitch, fold, twist, pleat or compress cloth for shibori. Each technique results in very different patterns. Traditional shibori requires the use of thread for binding. The pattern achieved depends on how tightly the cloth is bound and where the cloth is bound. Raw materials used in this process are locally sourced cotton fabrics and non-toxic dyes. Indigo is still the most preferred dye & color for shibori. Most patterns are geometric due to the nature of binding techniques.

Our artisans are located in the dry desert climate of western Rajasthan, India. Being desert region, people depend on crafts, tourism and mining for their livelihoods. The shibori art form has been passed down through generations. This small group of artisans works in their in-house workshops. Women do the binding & tying and work from within their homes. Men do the dyeing work.

SETU has helped their craft to evolve to international level. We have also made their processes more environmentally sustainable by sponsoring solar water heaters of heavy capacity. They now heat the water for dyeing by using solar energy instead of non-replenishable resources.

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As per the Vedic astrometry, pure silver has affinity to the Moon & the planet Jupiter. It balances water & other fluid elements of human bodies. Silver is believed to bring energy, abundance, luck, beauty & happiness in the life of the possessor.

Since the ancient times, silver has been commonly used for making ornate & utilitarian items, such as ornaments, utensils, sculptures etc.. even enameled on thrones, buildings etc by the kings of the past. It is considered to be a precious metal and is used along with gold for high end jewelry. In India, silver is considered to be pure & auspicious and is used in worshipping, festivities, weddings etc. It is common to give silver in dowry, as it can be used in contingency by the couple or invested for future. Most silver is passed on as heirloom and stays within the family. Silver jewelry is very symbolic of culture & tradition and the styles vary from state to state.

For Silver jewelry, we work with "Sunar" & "Patwa" communities.  These also include marginalized artisans migrated  from  Bihar & Bengal regions, in search of livelihood. They need to be highly skilled to handle this precious metal.  Our artisans are skilled in various techniques, such as stone studding, filigree, embossing, engraving, carving, hammering, texturing, casting,  soldering & fusing, beading, threading etc. Numerous finishes can be imparted such as matt, high lustre, enamelling, oxidising, rhodium plating, 24 carat gold plating & so on. All the raw materials used in our sterling silver jewelry are high quality, natural & sustainable.  We ensure 92.5% purity of silver and the best quality precious and semi precious stones and raw materials to give our products a high end appeal and everlasting quality.

All our jewelry pieces are hand crafted by artisans in the royal Pink city of Jaipur.  Being urban artisan community, their challenges are different. We provide them financial support, marketing opportunities, skill development trainings and sponsor tools & machineries so as to bring them at par with large manufacturers & exporters who dominate this trade.

The brand name of our exquisite sterling silver range is "Kallista". Please click here to browse the range of sterling silver jewelry made by our partner artisans.

Sari is the traditional attire of most Indian women and has great cultural significance in India. Every Indian woman takes great care of her saris and tries to use them in all possible ways even after wearing them out. Each sari has a fabric length of 5-6 metres and so its uses can be numerous. Even today, women can trade old, worn out saris to barter steel utensils for their household.

SETU promotes upcycling of worn out sari fabrics to create eco-chic home & fashion accessories, at the same time empowering women artisans to build sustainable livelihoods and communities. This is one of our most powerful women empowerment initiative!

We help create small Self Help groups of under privileged women from urban slums. There are total 5 such groups in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, involving more than 100 women. These women are then trained in simple techniques to create fashion accessories and home décor with upcycled saris and other recycled materials. Because of the male dominated culture in illiterate society, most of the women are confined to their homes with family responsibilities. A lot of community mobilization efforts go behind creating & stabilizing every such group. Once a group is ready, more and more women join these groups. The training and income provided by this craft empowers them financially and strengthens their confidence and support for their families and community. The women not only become self-sustainable, but they get a voice to participate in family decisions and dream about the promising future of their children.

SETU continually conducts various social development projects for these women, such as.. literacy classes, vocational trainings, women & child right advocacy, counseling, distribution of sanitary napkins, training centres, financial aid, sponsoring of machinery etc.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.

Wood craft history in India can be traced back to ancient times. Wood has always been considered to be auspicious. Ancient wood carved temples can still be found in some areas. The traditional craft of wood carving still plays an important role for many Muslim artisan communities in small towns and agricultural villages in north central India. These regions have abundance of trees which are commercially grown & harvested under strict Government laws to sustain wood crafts. The artisans use manual tools to skillfully carve blocks of sustainable woods such as Indian Rosewood (sheesham), mango, acacia etc into fine treasures. This art form requires mastery to create sculptures, do intricate carving, filigree and metal inlay work. Many of the floral, geometrical & figurative patterns are deeply influenced by cultural patterns from Muslim dynasties that ruled the region centuries ago. Artisans finish and detail each item, impart different finishes as per need, buff with wax and also use non-toxic paints.

Our woodcraft partner artisans belong to small collectives in the region. Literacy rates and income opportunities are quite limited in the area, so woodcraft production is vital for community livelihoods. Most wood craft artisans are men. Women usually work in finishing and production assembly.

SETU focuses on their continued development for sustainable income generation, skill up gradation & process improvement. We conduct & sponsor skill development workshops for local youth, free health & eye camps, sponsor tools & technically upgraded machinery, sponsor saw-dust control units to ensure safe & healthy work place and much more.

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.