The mood of people stepping out of the Lalit Kala Akademi on Greams Road was quite upbeat. Many had shopping bags with them, while a few were dialling their near ones and sharing the experience of the ongoing craftepreneur exhibition at the venue. The fourth edition of the exhibition is showcasing the products created by 22 craftepreneurs drawn from textile, product and fashion designers to artists and craft artisans. Many of the products are remarkable in concept — the artists have used various Indian craft techniques, wholly or in part, to create products for contemporary lifestyles and needs.
Kohima-based Kevisedenuo Margaret Zinyu’s Woven Threads is a design initiative that encourages women weavers of Nagaland to sustain their roots and preserve their unique weaving traditions. “We give women a platform to express their creativity and support young weavers in Nagaland. The loin loom (also known as the back strap loom) gives them the flexibility to weave from their homes and continue to do farming as well. We abide by the traditional ethos of fabric making that our forefathers have practiced through the ages. All of our products are hand woven and are also hand stitched. The fabric used is off the loom, with minimal or zero wastage.”
While you hop from one stall to another, you can see the passion reflected to respect and nurture our ancient skills and integrate them into sustainable and eco-friendly products. The focus of designers Kripa Shankar and Poonam Nishad from Ahmedabad is to develop special jamdani fabric focusing on sustainability. “We follow IKI — a Japanese aesthetic concept that is an expression of simplicity, sophistication, spontaneity and originality. Minimalist designs and originality of techniques are expressed in our collection with an emphasis on colours like the kora, blue and black.”
Mita, another designer at the expo, has explored the beauty of cardboard to create furniture pieces and home decor products like hanging lamps, decorative wall plates, nesting boxes, etc. “There are umpteen creative possibilities with cardboard. We can create discs from thin cardboard strips and shape them to create products that can be used daily,” she tells us.
Devrai Art Village, a non-profit initiative that connects with nature, celebrates the creativity of highly skilled adivasi craftsmen and artists from the Naxalite affected areas of Gadchiroli and Chhattisgarh. “Afraid of the threats from the Naxalites, many people have left the villages and come to Panchgani to find a livelihood. We combine various mediums like iron, brass, stone, wood, bamboo and terracotta, but our specialty is Rock Dhokra (a fusion of brass and stone). First, we have to create the shape of the product in beeswax around an appropriately chosen rock, and then the rock is fused with molten brass in a high-temperature kiln,” one of the artisans says.