Award-winning quilter paramjeet bawa shares her expertise.
You may remember quilting as a hobby that your mother or grandmother took up. With precision and dedication, they would manage to create stunning masterpieces that would keep you warm but could be passed down for generations. Paramjeet Bawa is bringing that hobby, and for a lucky few — a profession, in an elevated form to Chennai for young and old alike with her workshop ‘Cheats as treats’ organised by The Square Inch. The award-winning quilter talks to us about how she chanced upon this art form and more.
The Delhi-based quilter begins by telling us about her journey, “I’m originally from Punjab, and there we considered a day unproductive if we didn’t do something creative. My mother and other women would do embroidery and pass it down to their daughters. Although I enjoyed it, only when I travelled the world including places like Bangladesh did I understand how little I knew. When I moved to Kuwait in 2000, I got exposed to a quilting group in a bid to make friends and the renowned quilter Leela Cherian, who inspired me to take this up. We didn’t have many materials, but that ignited our passion further.” Although Paramjeet won many awards for her work including first place in the first international competition, she considers meeting renowned photojournalist Steve McCurry (of Afghan Girl fame) one of the most memorable moments. She shares, “With his permission, I had recreated his iconic photograph ‘Dust Storm’ in quilt form. After many years of winning awards, I happened to meet him in Muscat at his exhibition where I showed him the quilt. He was so happy that he asked me to choose any of his photographs to recreate, and offered to buy it!”
Talking about her workshop and how the craft still resonates with the youth, she says, “I will be teaching people how to create original quilts, because there is a different kind of joy in creating something on your own from start to finish. I want to encourage younger quilters to learn photography and create original pieces. Although now, women are much more empowered and have jobs, quilting can be extremely therapeutic and serve as an indulgence. Sometimes, I get so engrossed that I forget to eat! I hope to nurture that passion in others through this one and a half day workshop.”