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‘Aaj Rakh’ OR 'Aaj ke din rakh’ OR 'Arabic word for blue; Azrak'-Ajrakh Hand Blockprinting

Ajrakh is a hand block printing and dyeing tradition practiced by Khatri artisans in Kutch, Gujarat. There are a few interesting theories on the origin of the name of this craft. The first one goes something like this, there was a king once who loved to change his sheets every day. Artisans were exhausted making new sheets. One day an artisan presented the King with a sheet he had been working on using a new technique of craft, the King liked the sheet so much that the next day he told the housekeeper ‘Aaj Rakh’ or keep it for the day Our Ajrakh artisans however, have another thought on the origin of the name, the process of making Ajrakh involves...

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Climate change is no fiction only fact: Tarapur (Nandna Prints) Hand Block Printing

400 kms from the capital city of Madhya Pradesh lies a small town called Tarapur. The town is home to families of hand block print artisans who have been practicing the craft for over 200 years. Nandna prints are unique to the village of Tarapur in Madhya Pradesh. Craft is an embodiment of the many journeys taken by its creators, adorning itself with all the good from the various places it passed by and Nandna prints are a fine example of that journey. Traditionally worn by women of the Bhil tribe, the prints are actually a collection of various flora and fauna from the various geographies the tribe moved across. Making Tarapur home was an obvious choice for these artisans,...

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Kutch Weaving- Centuries old art form in Kutch, Gujrat

History is created by the forces of change and continuity working in their myriad ways. And at Bhujodi, a small village in Kutchch, history has been created and preserved for more than 5 centuries by the weavers, the Vankars, who have nurtured weaving into an art form in Kutchch. Like all art forms, this not just a practice, it is life’s devotion for the 200 odd Vankars in Bhujodi, and their brotherhood of weavers spread around in a few villages of Kutchch. And like all art forms, it has evolved in its own way, with time and technology, mostly with the former than the latter. So, the local wool and cotton used traditionally has expanded to include silk and acrylic,...

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How a Gujarat Institute is Empowering Rural Artisans to Set up Their Own Businesses

For many budding Indian artists, getting proper training and education can make all the difference between earning livelihoods and living in squalor. A crowdfunding campaign aims to help such a training programme educate three budding artisans from Gujarat. When Akram Jusab Khatri was just two years old, his family was left fractured by the historic Gujarat earthquake of 2001. The home that had once served as a cocoon for the family, nestled in the hinterland of Dhamadka, had been decimated in seconds. But Akram’s spirit was kindled with a fire for craft at a tender age, and his zeal carried him through. His grandfather had forged a rich tradition for the family, having immersed himself in creating traditional garments, known...

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

Using natural materials and processes in the crafting process can help reduce carbon footprint, and make the manufacturing process more environmentally-friendly. Several Indian handicrafts and artisans have embraced this ideology, reducing the environmental impact of India’s handcrafted products. 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. Curiously, and quite wonderfully, the meticulous artisanal methods...

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