The physical edition of the annual crafts bazaar hosts a special sari exhibition with 15 craftspersons under the title 'Sari Specialists of India'. The exhibition showcases 10 new saris by each craftsman giving 150 new saris designs which have not been created before in natural block printing, dyeing, weaving, batik, shibori and others. The colourways, blocks and combinations are theme based, some are naturally dyed, some are revivals of decades old blocks and geometric explorations. All the known masters have worked to offer a rare never-before attempted treat for sari lovers, says Dastkari Haat Samiti.
The collective has been working for the dignity and economic uplift of its members since 1986. The bazaar has been made possible in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic and its challenges, especially for the crafts sector.
A recent survey report brought out by All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) has also mentioned cash flow crunches, wage losses, cancellation/withholding of orders, supply disruptions in the raw material value chain and uncertainties regarding shipment (both domestic and export) as some key challenges faced by craft enterprises because of the lockdown.
The opening ceremony also saw the release of an e-book offering documentation of 21 art, craft and textiles skills of India, covering over 100 styles and techniques. It also announced a revamped website dastkarihaat.org that highlights 35 years of Samiti's work, and the entire atmosphere of crafts bazaars, with videos, skill demonstrations and snippets of craftspersons' voices. A separate crafts shopping website also entails.
"The only way to counter the negative is to offer the positive. The work of the Dastkari Haat Samiti completes 35 years of proud and exciting interactions with our wonderful karigars which deserves a collective celebration and an announcement of new work in new areas. These are a new e-commerce platform called dastkarhaat.com, two major publications on craft skills and graphic design and an exhibition of 20 sari specialists of India offering 200 new sari designs. Never before has this been done exclusively with saris. Everyone has worked valiantly and creatively during the past horrible year. This itself is worth celebrating," says Jaya Jaitly, President, Dastkari Haat Samiti.