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Nasreen Khatri

Interview Summary

For the last four years Nasreen Khatri has been a mud-work designer and framer. She learnt the art from her Uncle and in just a month’s time she developed an understanding of the art.

After finishing cooking and taking a small nap in the afternoon, Nasreen does mud work for three or four hours a day. For preparing the mud mixture a substance called chalk powder is soaked in water overnight. This is mixed into clay to soften it. The mixture is then spread over the design on the frame. Finishing the work includes adding mirrored elements and colours. As well as frames, mud work can be applied to walls, vases and many other items.

Nasreen decides upon the designs and works directly on the frames. One of her most interesting works made out of mud is a likeness of the mosque at Mecca. Nasreen also takes orders to make mud work frames. Her frames are sold according to the square foot, and range from 300 to 3000 rupees. She believes that little financial investment but a lot of hard work is needed to make a piece.

mud_work_frame_by_nasreen.jpgNow, she runs classes herself and teaches girls living in the neighbourhood. She only takes around 6 to 7 girls in each cohort because of space constraints. The girls can learn mud work in one or one and half months’ time. Although she has received a good response from the classes she teaches, she doesn’t have that much time or space to teach many girls.

Nasreen's husband works in the bandhani business, and Nasreen helps him by tying or supervising the bandhani workers whenever she gets the time. The bandhani business goes on continually through the year. Her husband also sells real gold jari garchola (specially customised wedding saris). Nasreen has two sons and a daughter and they all are studying. Her sons help their father during the vacation. Her father in law works at Muscat and her husband had at one time joined him, but, due to a family problem he is now working back in Kachchh.