Crocheted Lace Work in Narsapur


Crocheted lace is an art form known around the world.  Beautiful fabric is created using only fine thread and a small hook.  Elaborate designs are possible when these simple materials are in the hands of skilled artisans, such as the lace artisans of Narsapur.  For over a century, rural Indian women have created beautiful lace products from high quality cotton threads made in India.


Historically, crochet was invented by French nuns, who used it to create lace decorations for church use.  When Irish families were suffering during the potato famine, nuns taught crochet to rural Irish women who developed a special style still known as Irish crochet.  It consists of many small motifs, often flowers and leaves, joined with a crocheted netting background.  Irish lace and other lace forms are now created all over the world, including India, where rural women have created thriving businesses based on lace production.


The term “crochet” comes from a French word meaning “hook” and is done by holding thread or yarn in the non-dominant hand while the working hand uses a hook to draw yarn through loops.  The chains created as loops are drawn through loops can create an infinite number of variations, reproducing outlines of flowers, animals, geometric figures, etc.  Cotton thread and crocheted construction create items that look delicate, but are actually quite strong and sturdy.  Cotton crocheted lace makes lovely mats, edgings and trims, kitchen towels, and other beautiful household items.  Lingerie, children’s clothing, ladies’ skirts, and other clothing items are also made in crocheted lace.


Because there is so little capital investment required to begin creating crocheted lace, it is an ideal business for rural areas.  ArtzFly exists to promote Indian artisans and manufacturing by presenting handmade lace products made in India using organic cotton from India.  The quality products in our collection represent the best India has to offer—natural cotton fibers, spun in India and crocheted by skilled hands in Narasapuram, Andhrapradesh in the West Godavari District.  Because India has such a wonderful climate for growing cotton, it is natural for crocheted lace businesses to thrive in India, too.  Quality is assured as the spinning, bleaching, dyeing, and crocheting are all done in India by highly skilled and specialized workers.


Employment in small businesses is empowering to women who would otherwise have limited opportunity in rural areas.  Providing women with some hooks and a supply of cotton thread can lead to  a thriving business limited only by the worker’s own creativity and energy.  Crochet patterns do not even require literacy, provided the patterns are charted (in picture form.)   Women who have not had the opportunity for formal education can thus still thrive with only some instruction in the fundamental crochet stitches and how these stitches are represented in lace charts.


Check out this video for a view of how this craft is practiced by the artisan entrepreneurs of Narsapur: