Only a Side Business but...
By Priyangwada Perera
When you have Sewing as a subject, as early as Grade 2, you either learn to love it or hate it. Of course some people take it on a moderate level; do what you are supposed to do during classes and quit. But that was not the way with Kavini Fernando. Kavini started stitching in school as a little seven-year-old. Then she moved on to stitching her uniform pocket, which read HCC in a cursive font. So, amidst those who had no love for stitching but for whom it was just a chore and those who had to be scolded and threatened to do their sewing, Kavini just aced her way. She enjoyed needlework.
Nobody had to force it on her. However, according to Kavini it was not until 2015— quite a few years after leaving school – when her fascination with cross-stitch began. “I started crossstitching after I saw a girl who was junior to me doing the same. I took on cross-stitching for fun. I really enjoyed it. After completing them, I must have given about 20 of my cross-stitch creations as gifts to my friends. Some of these were for their little ones. Most of these were friends from all over the world.” Before she knew it, she fast-developed a fan following.
Suddenly, Kavini’s cross-stitch was in demand. People from the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand and even Sri Lanka, wanted to buy Kavini’s work. Though this was the last thing she expected, the demand overwhelmed her. She was flattered by the response and appreciation that she thought of starting a side business. In spite of starting it as a side business, Kavini does it like a true professional. While she works a regular job in Italy, she takes customer orders for crossstitch. Her Facebook page Kavi’s Cross Stitch is in full demand. If you are someone who looks down on cross-stitch as a simple stitch that can be done by even a third grader, you are not quite wrong.
But how this small stitch can transform a simple thing into utter magic can be seen by just looking at Kavini’s work. Of course, we have seen unbelievably beautiful cross-stitch designs. Some of us may even own a book or two about crossstitch designs. Yet, what Kavini adds to her designs is different. “I pay great attention to the other side or the inner side of my design. If you cross-stitch or if you have seen an ordinary crossstitch design you would see the inner side as mere strokes and lines. But my work has a mirror effect even on the other side, or the wrong side of the stitch. So, the same cross-stitch design is seen on the wrong side of the stitch.
That is the challenge in my work. That is also what makes my work uncommon,” Kavini said with a smile. She said that she loves the fact that she can use all kinds of colours and make her work vibrant. Creativity has no end to it. The time it takes to complete a piece of work, depends on the design. “By now, when I take an order, I can tell how much time I need to finish one. So, I make sure that I finish it on time, wash, dry, and iron it and post it to any part of the world,” she made it sound very simple. “Doing this kind of work from a country like Italy, is all the more special.
The quality of the material we use is excellent. Especially the thread we use. Of course, they are very expensive. But doing this type of creation and putting a price to it is not my reward. My gain is my mental peace and happiness. “When I concentrate on it, my mind does not get clogged with disturbing thoughts. This becomes my purifying meditation. On top of it, I get money,” Kavini said. She added, “The beauty of it is seeing my work, adorning someone else’s living room or mantelpiece. My hard work giving someone else happiness makes me feel very fortunate.”