The story of Arati Hiremath conceptualising Artikrafts dates back to 1989, when she got married in Karnataka.

A couple of women came to visit her in her Dharwad home in 1990, asking her if she could give them some work.

“I knew these women,” she says. “While my father was posted in Dharwad, they would embroider my mother’s sarees.”

Excited to help the women, Arati began by putting them in touch with shops in Bengaluru where they could get regular orders.

In 2011, Arati started a collective that would empower these and other women to earn through embroidery.

The craft that they were focusing on was the kasuti embroidery.

What makes the kasuti embroidery unique is that it is done using four types of stitches — gavanthi (double running stitch), murgi (zig zag stitch), negi (running stitch) and menthi (cross stitch).

The 15th-century art form has motifs that are inspired by rangoli designs.

When an artisan begins kasuti embroidery, it is on a blank canvas of cloth with no sketch of the design to trace on.

Only artisans who have mastered the craft over years can perform it.

Once complete, the design looks the same on both the right and wrong sides of the cloth, which makes this embroidery form unique.

Artikraft’s creations include shawls, sarees, dupattas and bags, and ships pan India and even abroad to the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore.