Sustaining craft heritage and qualitative social empowerment
S jo creates original, one of a kind accessories, drawing inspiration from traditional textile craftsmanship and handcrafted by artisans mainly women from villages in Pakistan.
S jo works through ‘Threads of the Indus’, a design-led research and development project committed to empowering village-based marginalised craft communities towards creating social change through their own agency. Central Saint Martins (UAL) textile design (weave) graduate, Seher Mirza, initiated the project in 2009/10, as part of her PhD design research at the Royal College of Art, London. The products created in rigorous design workshops are a combined effort between Seher and the traditional craftswomen, a testament to their design journey together. The project is now self-funded, having worked with Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) in the past.
Concerned about the deteriorating quality of craftsmanship in traditional textile crafts in her native country, and the lack of emotional connection between maker and craft - Seher decided to address this through her own design and craft practice and started the project. S jo’s unique pieces reignite passion, excitement, and inspiration between craftswoman and her traditional craft. By encouraging creativity, design thinking, and design decision-making, it enables personal development of the women while creating a sustainable fair wage income.
The pieces are handmade collectively, through the exchange of ideas and shared craft practice, building a special relationship and journey, to form S jo, our brand.
S jo takes its name from the values it stands for. In the regional local language (Sindhi), 'jo' means 'of' or 'from', and the letter 'S' stands for our values; Social empowerment and enterprise, Sustainability and Stitch-craft in the region of Sindh.
The villages and communities
We work with four villages of different crafts in the region of Sindh in Pakistan with about 75 artisans. Three of these villages are of various kinds of stitch-craft working just with women artisans. Our most recent village AMB is a traditional hand weaving community with a few remaining master weavers of Kheis. This community of makers consists of both women and men. It required us to re-think our methods and adapt them in a way better suited to weave.
Learn more about our work below! - Courtesy the fabulous lifestyle blog Indigo Memoirs
'S Jo is a hybrid project made business model that improves the quality of life in micro communities through craft. The outcome is beautiful, unique quality jewellery pieces and higher living standards. For more check out Threads of the Indus project.'
More on the Threads of the Indus project methods.