I had the privilege of working with three Rabari ladies at Kala Raksha Museum, during my stay in India. Parma-Ben, Hasu-Ben and Lakma-Ben were the master crafts people who realised artwork underpinned by a natural health philosophy. During the workshop, I observed, drew and asked questions while the ladies stitched and embroidered. Initally, I tested out some printing tools with the group. I knew this was unusual, but I was curious to see how the rabari ladies, who did not print, responded to this new medium. I was interested to drawing comparisons between them and older community groups I had worked with in the UK regarding dexterity and material curiosity. As we printed, I could see the ladies were itching to embroider. I didn't want to give limitations, as in fact the choices the ladies made regarding cloth and thread colour were important. I am interested in the slippage betweem intuition and leaned aquisition of skill. 

Each of the ladies embroidered a medicinal and auspicious plant that had been used traditionally to treat their families, neem, tulsi, mango were depicted. We next moved onto a more narrative piece which uncovered some of the personal strories held by the ladies. I found the workshop to be sensitive and moving. I was grateful that both Judy Frater and Shweta Dhariwal were with me who translated since my Gujarati is poor. Finally the ladies each made a traditional motif. Highly details and complex in nature these designs completed a patchwork wonder. I hadnt set out with preconcieved ideas of what would be made in the workshop. In fact the converstations and the experience were enough. Far beyond my expectation the ladies created a beautiful artwork, which I will now take into UK hospitals to open new stories with dememtia patients. Who knows maybe this is the start of some longer standing connections and research opportunities.