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Protecting Craft Identity in Changing Times

By indcareer on Fri, 09 December 2016 at 11:21 IST
Protecting Craft Identity in Changing Times
College / University: IMS Design & Innovation Academy (DIA), Noida


In a growing technology-run and industrialised world, increasingly people are forgetting the traditional craft and moving towards new innovation. Due to this the artisans are moving to the alternative source of income generation for instance – daily wage labours and farming; and the art is losing its grip. Preserving and protecting the skills and knowledge of traditional crafts is a growing challenge. So it is desperately needed to revive the art and form and spread awareness about them in urban space. The idea should be a world where the handmade things are given the respect it deserves and the artisans are also recognised for their talent and effort.

To keep the traditional craft alive it is important for the artisans to understand trade fair and participate in the same, with an all round understanding of the profit and loss and pros and cons involved in the global market. If the artisans want to keep their art alive they need to interact with the consumers and tell them all about their work and meaning to it.

Since the craft sector is the second largest employer in rural India after agriculture, it is a source of supplementary income to the seasonal agricultural workers, who have limited alternative employment opportunities in the village. According to the research of students of IMS Design and Innovation Academy, many Artisans and crafts as a secondary source of income in times of drought, lean harvests, floods of famine. The most of the crafts is the largest arena of woman employment, in the free time they have to depend on these crafts for earning the income for their family. As women’s of Kishinnda Trust which is running in a small village (Anegundi) of Karnataka state are producing the “Paper” and other items made by Banana trees and their leaves in their free time.

Craftsman these days are bringing the mixture of old and new designs to strike a balance between the avant-garde and the traditional. Through this mixture of forms of craft the traditional craft somewhere has hope to shine. To bring back in this art in the market the craftsmen and the artisans needs to understand the market and its promotion strategies. They have to understand their space in the global market and then fixe the price of their products. Many of the artisans work has ended because of lack of money and material. There are many more things that’s affect the work for instance – Gujarat, famous Kalamkari work is going to vanish because of non availability of material and loss in benefit of work.

To bring back the traditional craft and also to solve the problems that are faced by the craftsmen and artisans some steps should be initiated and worked upon. At both the rural and urban levels workshops should be organized that enhance the skills and also the knowledge of the people like skill showcase, design education, creative and product development workshops followed up with pricing, marketing, branding, micro-finance etc. These workshops help the artisans to eradicate the communication gap and encourage between the two representations of society. It also initiates traditional art awareness.

These awareness programs will also initiate collaborations between the artisans and the urban designer and brands to explore the opportunities together. Through these kinds of initiatives and activities, we can save our crafts and promote our traditional craft in nationally and globally with the various art and craft forms to find place in the dynamic art culture of the world. These initiatives will bring out the traditional craft and also introduce hidden talents of India.

Neha Jain
The author is Senior Faculty in Interior Design Department of IMS-Design & Innovation Academy (IMS DIA), one of the leading Design Institutes in the country.


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