Ishrat Kamal from India
"I have worked all my life weaving carpets, rugs and wall hangings. This was my parents' trade and, despite taking a degree in electrical engineering, I entered the field propelled by my own interest and family tradition.
"We believe in making world-class products and use the highest quality fast chemical and natural colors to support our classic designs. The raw materials used for rugs, carpets, runners, and wall hangings are wool, cotton, jute and silk. The labor intensiveness of our work can be understood from the fact that it takes five full days for a skilled weaver to make a four by six-foot rug. All our designs are completely hand-woven on the traditional handloom. We use all kinds of floral and geometrical designs for our carpets. I have introduced a lot of changes in these years in terms of quality, design, and colors since we can survive only by supplying the very best.
"In our family, my elder brother Shakeel Ahmed has won a National Award for Excellence in Handicrafts in 1982. He has also traveled abroad to Germany and Netherlands. I have not received any award as such to date. I have great expectations that this craft, that happened to be our family tradition, should continue down the generations in our family."