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Natural Dye & Printing

Ajrak Textile Printing

The unique hand block print textiles are produced in Sindh province (Pakistan) alongside banks of river Indus. The tradition of natural dyeing and printing in this region goes back to 2500 BC where inhabitants of Indus Valley civilization practiced it. The craft is survived today by master artisans who specialize in making hand carved wooden block for stamping and dyeing with natural sources such as plants, vegetables and salts. Bellisimo is honoured to support this cultural practice by actively engaging with tradition bearers in Mityari and Haala( Sindh, Pakistan). We have successfully partnered with master artisans Ustad Yaqoob Soomro, Muhammad Ali Soomro, Muhammad Ishaq and others in creating original Ajrak textiles using indigenous methods of resist stamping and natural dyeing. Through our efforts we have been able to effectively contribute in livelihoods and income generation for families associated with this craft. Our design team has successfully collaborated with artisan led workshop in creating one of a kind signature patterns and products. We share concepts with master artisans, who at their respective facilities materialize ideas in most traditional, ethical and environmentally friendly way. The Ajrak making process involves stamping natural resist with high precision onto fabric surface followed by sun drying, dipping in natural dye and river water. It is repeated multiple times for design detailing purpose and dyeing fabric in required colours. Designers at Bellisimo have paired Ajrak fabrics with other cultural textiles, trimmings and craft techniques such as embroidery and chunri in making our signature Do Darya Shawl that has been a massive hit with South Asian diaspora buyers in North America.

Needle Crafts

Hand Embroideries

The craft of hand embroidery is practiced by women and men across Pakisan. Bellisimo has partnered with women artisans in south Punjab with aim to produce high quality embroideries for apparel and home textiles. Our design team has collaborated with master artisans in creating new surface patterns using age old techniques for contemporary use. Master artisan Ustad Zaitoon, Shabana Bibi, Bashko Khatoon, Khursheed Bibi have contributed significantly in achieving our goal by actively engaging other female embroiderer clusters in Multan. Skills training and experimental prototyping has helped artisans in learning time management, quality control and sampling of new ideas using traditional craft.
Traditional painting

Naqashi Craft

Bellisimo has collaborated with master artisans of national acclaim in diversifying craft of traditional painting (Naqashi). Our ‘co-creation’ series with Ustad Muhammad Baqir featured signature home accessories and products. Master artisans have been able to apply their craft usually used for adorning building, into smaller scale products using oil paints and mix media. Drawing and painting skills of professionally trained fine artists (including miniature painters) are also used to create motifs and patterns for contemporary product. This unique collaboration has provided opportunity to engage and train artisans in contemporary painting styles.
Resist Tie-dye

Chunri Crafts

The art of chunri tie-dye is practiced by women in south Punjab region. Over time we have been able to engage families associated with this craft in Bahawalpur, Abbas Nagar and Kehror Pakka . Our collaboration with master artisan Ustad Surraiya Bibi and Ustad Nusrat Bibi paved way for creating signature cotton drapes ‘Do Darya Shawl’ series which is a combination of naturally dyed and block printed surfaces. The collections have been displayed and appreciated in Texas, New York and Atlanta (US). Our endeavour of engaging women led craft practices has massively assisted us in building extensive network and partnerships aiming to provide sustained livelihood and empowerment.

Traditional pigment

Block Printing

Bellisimo has partnered with block printers in Punjab and Sindh. While artisans in both regions work with different materials, there are similarities in both traditions. Artisans in Sindh predominantly use natural dyes, salts and sources to produce Ajrak fabric (as mentioned above), whereas hand block printing done in south Punjab employs mostly manufactured pigments. Hand carved wooden block is dipped in dye pigment and applied on flat surface resulting in colourful impressions on fabric. The process requires utmost precision and accuracy that is learnt from an early age when an apprentice joins a workshop. It is mostly a family tradition where father and sons work together. Multani block prints have unique motifs, patterns and colours that distinguish it from similar practice around the country. Over time we have produced multi-craft collaborative collections that present surprising yet pleasant amalgamation of craft printing and embroidery techniques.

Looping love

Crafty Crochet

Crochet collections at Bellisimo are produced by liaising women artisans with contemporary hobbyist crotcheters. We have been able to identify and engage female art-design students from different universities in Pakistan who work with us in conceptualizing the products. Collaborative projects led by Sabina Tariq (Hyderabad) and master artisan Amma Nooran have been instant hit with customers.
Hand painted & glazed ceramics

Kashikari Blue Pottery

Our partnership with master artisans in Multan and Hala has helped us in reimagining and design of contemporary products using indigenous materials and techniques. Ustad Muhammad Wajid is a world renowned kashigar/ ceramic artist based in Multan. He comes from family of acclaimed master artisans who have been part of iconic cultural and architectural monuments in south Punjab region. Hand crafted table ware such as tea cups, mugs, ornaments, plates and accessories have been appreciated by our customers globally. Our sales have massively contributed in sustaining the craft by providing livelihood opportunities to the tradition bearers and their families. Bellisimo is honoured to partner with more studios in creating unique and contemporary home accents. Products made at award winner Ustad Alam’s institute in Multan have also been featured at our exhibits.

Beyond borders

Cultural Experiences

Bellisimo Crafts has curated experiences of cultural and craft learning in Pakistan and internationally. These include workshops, lecture, exhibitions and hand on experiences of traditional crafts. Our participation at forums and master class sessions, international events such as ATX+Pak Fashion Forward initiative, University of Texas, Austin Fashion Incubator, Asian American Resource Center, Designer Series, Shop south Asia, IAC Sanjhok collective, Fashion by Global, APPNA Fashion event etc. has helped us in representing cultural techniques and hand on demo of various craft to international audience. The experiences have brought awareness of Pakistan’s cultural practices, traditions, textiles and fashion. Through such endeavours we have been able to gather much needed support for artisans by providing real life insights and glance into artisans’ lives and roles in sustaining heritage of the country.
Fostering Partnerships

Collaborative Ventures

Building networks and fostering linkages across creative and cultural industries has been a key force in creating opportunities for learning and collaboration with an aim to engage artisans in creating user friendly designed objects. Our partnership and collaboration with various organisations has helped us in generating livelihood and income generation for many regional craft collectives such as women embroiderers in South Punjab and natural dyers in Sindh. Our trusted partners at ZKV Digital have helped us with e-commerce solution and online marketing, thus creating a better online visibility and approach for broader audiences. Collaboration with Olomopolo Media has been instrumental in organising craft centred activities and workshops at primary and secondary schools in Karachi and Lahore. We have been able to raise awareness on significance of cultural identity, climate change, river pollution and its adverse effects on artisan practices in the region. Our friends in Austin, New York and Atlanta have assisted us in reaching broader audience in United States. APPNA forum provided us with chance to connect with south Asian Diaspora and immigrant communities who generously endorse our commitment with Pakistani craft and artisans. We continue to build our network with non-profit organisations, NGOs, educational institutes and industry partners to effectively contribute in supporting sustainable craft activities in Pakistan.