Nir is from Bhutan. Her fine weavings often have plaids and stripes. Nir concentrates on lighter hued threads (yellow, light green, pinks) patterned in stripes and plaids. Her textiles can be used as scarves, head cloths, table runners, or wall hangings. She learned the rudiments of floor loom weaving in Bhutan but perfected their skills in textile work in the camps.
Maia is originally from Bhutan. She uses striking abstract designs. Maita specializes in stunning, head cloth-sized textiles in abstract motifs, colors in vivid magentas, greens, dark blues, yellows and purples. Her textiles can be used as scarves, head cloths, table runners, or wall hangings. She learned the rudiments of floor loom weaving in Bhutan but perfected their skills in textile work in the camps. Maita greatly enjoys the respite that her weaving gives her from the workaday tasks at her job. She grew up on a farm in Bhutan. Collaboration with RAW allows Maita more room to grow in her craft. Nowadays she chooses her motif structures and the colors for her threads. The distinctive shimmering quality of her pungently colored clothes are due to Maita’s own tastes. She is developing a warm reputation around town as a particularly fine weaver and cloth designer.
Buddha began to try his hand at carving stone at about age 10, through observing master carver. He was strongly influenced by Indian and Sikkim styles from the time he was refining his craft. Buddha is becoming well known in Central Massachusetts as a stone carver. He collaborates now with Camosse Masonry family owned local stone masonry firm. The company has given Buddha art space at the business so that he can learn from them about American stone masonry while Camosse Brothers can benefit from Buddha’s expertise in Nepali, Indian, and Bhutanese styles of work. In Worcester, he has become a specialist in figures of the Buddha. He prefers softer stones for carving, such as bhutanese or Indian sandstone.
A master basket maker and a formidable, dignified woman in her sixties - learned her craft as an adolescent in her home village in Rwanda. Her mother taught her to make traditional baskets from reeds. These were used for practical purposes such as carrying fruit but were also employed to present ceremonial gifts to friends and potential in-laws. Enwrapping a gift in a special, carefully crafted basket meant that the presentation carried more respect for the gift receiver - and allowed the basket makers to shine. Severe sectarian strife and disastrous civil war with thousands of casualties forced Patrisiya and her family to leave Rwanda for safety in a U.N.-sponsored refugee camp. They lived there for a year, arriving in Worcester, MA in 2009 as U.S. State department-sponsored refugees.
Kul Maya is from Bhutan! She creates tiny, droll baskets in green, pink, and yellow. Sometimes she uses natural colored corn husks and other times she uses gaily colored plastic strips. Her work is Very colorful!
Halima is an expert embroidered from the Fulbe ethnic group of Central African Republic (CAR). She and her family are Muslims and she graciously converted with us in her home near Elm Part one afternoon during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. At age 18 Halima learned how to sew in school lesions with her friends in CAR. Many girls and women from that nation’s various ethnic societies do similar embroidery work. This form of thread work may have some influence from French-style embroidery brought to CAR during colonial times, when home economics classes channeled girls into crafts. Halima’s embroidery may also have been shaped by a long-time African art form: kuba cloth. In her home village in CAR, Halima used her stitching skills to decorate window and door curtains, wall hangings, food covers, and baby blankets (emblazoned with the infant’s name). The Fulbe house was an intensely cloth-filled space decorated with pride and stitch work intensity by girls and their mothers. Embroidery work has been a constant in Halima’s life amidst forced migration. She did this craft for profile when she was in a refugee camp in Chad for five years and now she continues her thread work in RAW in Massachusetts. Halima’s bright colored embroidery threads and tufted work called Kasai Velvet (cut loop pile) can be seen in the fabric greeting cards that she produces for sale through RAW. She also makes jauntily decorated jean jackets and vests for sale via RAW. In many of Halima’s decorated cloths she uses a bar parent quite popular in CAR embroidery.
Hugama is a Bhutanese weaver. Hugama’s loom is in her airy studio on a third-floor porch near their apartment. Virtually every day Hagama weaves patterned lengths of cloth on small, compat floor loom, provided by RAW. Hugama is proud and pleased to show her Bhutanese/Nepali heritage objects, made with an eye toward an Asian past but also with a view of an American future.
Bhim is a master bamboo weaver from Bhutan. His bamboo expertise is evident with baskets of numerous sizes and shapes, winnowing trays of different sizes, small sitting mats for the floor (or decorating the walls), and open-weave containers. Bhim prefers Bhutan’s own soft, pliable, flexible big bamboo but he has learned to make do with the smaller, harder bamboo found in Massachusetts.
Fadhila is an embroidery expert from Iraq. She is an embroiderer operating at the top levels of the craft from, for pleasure profit, and solace. She learned to embroider as a child, studying from her mother and in school lessons. According to Fadhila, craft is an extremely old one in Iraq, tracing back long before the time of European incursion into the Middle East. Fine embroidery work in a sign of Iraqi identity, cultural accomplishment, and women’s and girls’ experience. She creates embroidered greeting cards (with linen inserts with trees, birds, butterflies, etc.) with detailed stitches into the cloth. All of her embroidered inserts are different from one another. She enjoys doing embroidery work and exploring new motif possibilities. The range of her stitches is also extraordinary: she uses well over a dozen different types of embroidery stitches in designing her greeting cards. She draws deeply on a domestic art from once in flower in Iraq.
He is the creator of a wide variety of Bhutanese heritage crafts. Nandi and his wife spent many years in a refugee camp in Nepal before coming to the United States as refugees several years ago. His family is education-minded, committed to taking good avantages of Massachusetts’ opportunities for schooling. Nandi enjoys making crafts in his new life in Worcester. He specialized in bamboo but also works with fabric and yarn. He produces a remarkably large range of objects and bowls; pir coiled seating mats (for the floor but also for the walls, as ethnic heritage decorations); and knitted winter hats and sweaters. He sells some of the mats to other Bhutanes/Nepali families or to members of the state's large Nepali immigrant community.