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May 17, 2017

India Kala: More Human, Less Machine

Originally published at Eminent Craft Book, 12th April

Three friends, chocolate cravings over coffee and a burning desire to start something that would bring value to a large section of society is what led to the start of India Kala, an extension of the artisan’s atelier. They work directly with artisans across the country and not only source the best handmade products but also collaborate with them to create unique products without diluting the heritage of the craft.


April 18, 2017

How Supporting India’s Handcrafted Products Can Also Help Protect the Environment

India’s handcrafted heritage has always drawn inspiration from the environment. Traditional craftwork techniques have been deep-seated in up-cycling, material optimisation, and waste minimisation, developed by indigenous craftsmen many millennia ago. From the stout bamboo trunks that support a charpoy, to the blend of flat grass and natural fibre that goes into making a mooda, or even a jhadoo, elements from the environment have made their way into most Indian homes today. Likely, even yours.


April 18, 2017

These Initiatives Are Giving Hand-Made Products a Fighting Chance by Keeping Them Affordable

A handcrafted product is always a harbinger of joy for its maker. For an artisan to whom each handiwork is an exquisite labour of love, every buyer is emblematic of a better tomorrow. The same handicraft possibly fulfills its newfound owner in equal measure, benignly adorning this buyer’s mantle, or ornamenting a wall as a celebrated centrepiece. It’s incredible the way a handmade product travels an economic arc as it journeys from maker to connoisseur. The truth is, the crafts sector is the second largest industry, by income, amongst rural Indians. It is estimated that there are 7 million artisans employed in crafts pockets across the country, out of which 50 % have had no formal education. Dig deeper, and you’ll realise there’s more. 90 % of the women in crafts-producing households are uneducated, and because employment in crafts is unorganised, income is inconsistent and slow. The result? An infinite social spiral that has descended on rural populations.


April 15, 2017

Here’s How to Differentiate Between Fake & Authentic Handlooms & Handicrafts

Mechanization of processes has led to an influx of fake handlooms and handicrafts in Indian markets. Here’s how to differentiate between authentic products and fakes.

Every individual handcrafted product has a unique story to tell. And yet, as the product moves through the value chain, this story gets buried deeper and deeper in the layers of time till eventually, it is lost to the world. This story is most often a reflection of the craftsman who poured himself into his handicraft. It may speak of the long hours that he laboured at his potting wheel, perfecting minute details by candlelight. Or it may convey the many miles that he had to walk to transport his deftly crafted goods to the nearest market.


January 30, 2017

Exquisite Block Printing from the hinterlands of Madhya Pradesh

Master artisan Mohammed Yunus Khatri from Bagh in one of his master creations.

The only thing synonymous with Bagh other than some of its historical sites are its master printers, even Wikipedia lists only two people as notable people from Bagh - Mohammed Yusuf Khatri and his son Bilal, we were lucky enough to meet both.


September 28, 2016

Learn the Different Styles of Hand Block Printing from a National Award Winning Artist

Master artisan Lalchand Derawala talks about his introduction to hand block printing and his journey of becoming a National Award winning artist.

On an India Kala buying trip in Rajasthan, we visited Bagru, a small town about 35 km west of Jaipur, renowned for its distinctive hand-block printing and natural dyeing techniques that date back half a millennia.

We were there to meet Lalchand ‘Chippa’ Derawala, an artisan-entrepreneur with a National Award for block-printing.


September 07, 2016

Artisan Story - Rajesh Jangid - Metal Inlay on Wood

Rajesh Jangid's awe-inspiring #Tarkashi (Metal Inlay on #Sheesham wood) works have been celebrated in the US, Austria, Vietnam and Vienna and has bagged four district, state and national-level awards


July 31, 2016

From Kathputlis to Meenakari to Warli Art – The Story of Indian Handicrafts

Originally pubished at The Better India on 09/06/2016

Trace the rich and fascinating history of Indian handicrafts as it makes its way across states and borders.

If the Indian map was depicted by its craft clusters, it would be a vibrant diamond, housing pockets of handicrafts along its length and breadth. The map would feature deep zaffre Jaipur pottery in Rajasthan, burnished Bastar metal art in Chhattisgarh and russet wooden toys in Sawantwadi, Maharashtra. Tinkling Kutch metal bells would form the rivers of Gujarat and ivory marble would sit atop the mountains in Uttar Pradesh.

As you traverse the craft-dotted landscape that enriches the country, you’ll witness a grand spectacle of vivid colours and magnificent designs. Rajasthan, for instance, has nurtured and celebrated centuries-old crafts within its folds; Kathputli is one such craft.


June 12, 2016

From Ajrakh to Leheriya – Learn About the Fascinating History Behind Indian Textiles

Originally pubished at The Better India on 25/05/2016

Textiles have been a part of India’s legacy since the Indus Valley Civilisation. The first ever traces of Indian hand crafted textiles appeared in the form of cotton saris draped around Sumerian statuettes, dating back to 3000 BC.

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