Sari Bari: An Ancient Bengali Stitch Leads Women to Freedom

  • January 5, 2018 - January 31, 2018
  • Recurring daily
  • Gather :handmade shoppe & Co.:
  • 116 N. Walnut Street, Bloomington, IN 47404
  • (812) 287-8046
  • 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Free

Sari Bari is a flourishing NGO located in the heart of Calcutta, India. Known as a ‘freedom business,’ it’s a source of training, income, and support for impoverished women, enabling them to leave work in the sex industry. At Sari Bari, they train to not only become skilled seamstresses, but also strong, successful, empowered women and leaders, both within Sari Bari and their communities.

As they begin a new way of doing life, they enter into an ancient Bengali tradition of sewing layers of old saris with a single running stitch, the kantha stitch. For hundreds of years, Begali women have used the method, done completely by hand, as a way to upcycle worn saris and to keep their families warm.

Stitch by stitch, the women at Sari Bari transform old saris into works of art that take the shape of blankets, purses, and home goods. There is also transformation within, as the women begin to feel pride, dignity, and respect in themselves and in their limitless abilities.

The following photographs showcase the details of the heart and soul of Sari Bari: the fabrics, the stitches, and the beautiful hands of the women. No faces have been shown to respect and protect the women.

Please visit to learn more and to see and purchase their beautiful products. Each product is handmade, and signed by the woman who crafted it.

Artist Bio

Frank & Sarah Schweikhardt are professional photographers, who have called Bloomington ‘home’ for many years. They co-run their wedding photography business, Wandering Heart Photography. Frank also runs Schweikhardt Photography, which focuses on real estate, headshots, and small business needs.

Their love for travel borders on obsession, and they spend time each year exploring the world. Their recent partnership with Sari Bari was an amazing intersection of the things they feel most passionate about: photography, travel, and telling the stories of fellow humans.

You can learn more at:

Sari Bari: An Ancient Bengali Stitch Leads Women to Freedom