Lessons from crafts

Crafts Council Tamil Nadu brings Crafts bazaar 2018 where weavers, potters, dyers and printers from the nook and corner of the country will arrive into the city. Learning about the history and geography of the far-flung places of our land from them is going to be an eyeopener.

As you hold up the handwoven Paithani sari, you are transported to Paithan in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra, where it was created. Fine silk, zari and exquisite skill has made it something every sari lover worth her six yards will want to possess. Take a closer look at the traditional motifs: the peacock (usually on the grand pallu), the munia or parrot, the flowerpot, the twine, the pheasant and so on.

From Patan and Mandvi in Gujarat comes the vibrant Mashru, woven with cotton and silk yarn. The colours are deliberately bright to make a splash in the sepia landscape of the Kutch desert. Mashru fabric was once a popular component of trade with Arabia.

When India was partitioned, many weavers from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) migrated to Phulia on the banks of the Ganga in West Bengal and continued to weave their beautiful saris. They kept alive a weaving tradition that harks back to the 15th century when Tangail in Bangladesh was a renowned weaving centre. Phulia Tangails preserve that bit of history we are all grateful for. The saris come in bright colours and with typical intricate motifs. These are also being woven in mulberry and Tussar silk, apart from cotton.

The stories are many and you can see and hear them for yourself at the Crafts Bazaar. Textiles from Manipur, the evergreen and beloved Maheshwaris, Pochampally and Mangalgiri saris. The age-old and never-out-of-fashion dyeing traditions of bandhini and ajrakh, Kutch, kantha, chikankari and phulkari, and Khadi will be there in their elegant splendour.

Weavers, dyers and printers, many of them National Award Winners, will also be there in person.

Also not to be missed is Bhagwan Das, the Jutti maker from Haryana who is known to add some magic pigment to his footwear to give them that extra zing! There will be accessories made of clay, wood and glass. Artists will bring Pichwai, Gond and Phad paintings and a lot more.

These are craftspeople who depend on patronage to survive. Many are often the last of their kind to continue creating these works of beauty. The next generation, in most craft communities, prefer not to continue traditions of wielding the brush, working at the loom or turning the potters’ wheel as these do not bring them enough to live a life of dignity.

Crafts Bazaars infuse a fresh impetus into the craftspeople and give them hope. They provide a platform for them to start conversations about their professions. And when they see the interest, appreciation and acknowledgement of their art, it keeps them going.

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