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Exclusive: Learn About Female Artisan Lovitoli's Inspiring Journey

The pandemic had a significant impact on livelihoods across India, with handcrafts being one of the most hit.
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Published -18 May 2022, 18:34 ISTUpdated -20 May 2022, 11:37 IST
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artisan of indian lovi toli

Artisans or skilled craft workers who make or create material products partially or entirely by hand make the backbone of the non-farm rural Indian economy. Official estimates put the number of artisans in the country at around 70 lakh, while unofficial numbers could be much higher. 

Lovi Toli is one of the talented artisans of India. She began weaving at an early age and has an incredible story about her journey.

Lakshita Singh from HerZindagi spoke with artisan Lovitoli from Nagaland about her work, inspiration, and empowering story in an exclusive interview. 

Inspiration Behind Weaving

 
 
 
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A post shared by LOVI_TWINE (@lovi_twine)

Lovi says, "It has always been my passion since childhood to engage in various women’s folk activities. And as time went on and I got to learn and grow my skill set, I got more attached to weaving and cultural craftworks."

She added, "I have been weaving handloom products since I was a teenager. I started weaving professionally to make a living in 2020."

Family Members In The Business

At present 5 of her family members are engaged in various activities across the production process.

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Hardships In Journey

 
 
 
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A post shared by LOVI_TWINE (@lovi_twine)

Talking about her journey and hardships she faced, she said, "I think knowledge-building was a slow, uphill climb. I lacked proper training and had no exposure to other varieties of handloom work.  I needed to earn money once I started weaving professionally, but lacked the right market awareness to place my products and price them right.  Once I was more confident about my knowledge base, financial aid was still an important obstacle that I had to cross before I could finally reach where I am today. But all seems to have worked out well now."

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Turning Point In Her Life

 
 
 
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A post shared by LOVI_TWINE (@lovi_twine)

On being asked about what was the turning point for her, she said, "My main turning point ought to be the opportunities availed to me by Antaran, (an initiative by Tata Trust). I also learnt to grow my business beyond Nagaland with the help of social media and can now aspire to grow my business beyond a humble single handloom." 

She added, "Even though I am grateful to be making more than what an average weaver makes, this amount is certainly not enough to take care of my family's  needs. This is why I strive to sell more quality products and hope for the right prices so that they match the amount of effort, skill, and time that goes into the making of each yard of fabric. I believe all artisans that are keeping these traditional crafts alive deserve to earn the right value for their work."

Ultimate Goal

Talking about her goals, she said, "I aim to produce not just quality but also a good quantity of products in order to grow my business and reach a wider audience. I also wish to guide, encourage and inspire as many women as possible. I believe they hold great skills and potential and simply need a little push in the right direction to reach for their dreams and stand on their own feet. "

Change About Work Or Work Conditions

When asked, is there anything that you would like to change about your work or work conditions, she said, "I wish to be directly acquainted with different yarn production sectors and manufacturers, as well as acquire basic infrastructure such as a home lighting system, and health care amenities for myself as well as for all the artisans engaged in work. If my dream is to build a business that promotes artisans, my priority is to take them with me, so they grow as I grow."

Lovi believes that it’s important to conserve traditional and cultural pride and wishes for loin loom weaving to reach out to more people. Her mission is to conserve, earn, create, and excel.

Women like Lovitoli fill us with hope and happiness.

I hope you liked this story. What do you think about her journey? Share your thoughts with us by commenting on our Facebook page. For more such stories, stay tuned to HerZindagi!

(Image courtesy: Antaran programme: an initiative of Tata Trusts)

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