When crafts get collaborative

By Saumya Pankaj | Mumbai

A meet-up aims to bring creatively inclined professionals to join forces with artisans and assist them with technical, entrepreneurial, managerial or design-related skills

Leather shadow puppetry artists in Andhra Pradesh

"of the 400 billion dollar global handicrafts market, the Indian share is only two per cent. This, despite the fact that Indian artists make up 40 per cent of the world's artisan population," Saumya Pankaj points out as she highlights the need for craftsmen to go beyond their artistic realms through creative intervention and collaborations.

With this aim in mind, the Delhi-based visual communication designer started The India Crafts Project (TICP) earlier this year, which works in the areas of research and documentation of the challenges artisans grapple with, creating an e-commerce platform for artisans, and facilitating collaboration between artisans and creatively inclined professionals. Pankaj will be in Mumbai this Sunday for the latter, with a meet-up that invites photographers, writers, artists, accountants, filmmakers, strategists and other professionals who can bring their entrepreneurial, managerial, technical, creative or design-related skills to the table, and help artisans with specific projects, or provide long-term solutions in their area of expertise.


Saumya Pankaj

The most skilled artisan may not have the wherewithal to also take care of the logistics of his venture, says Pankaj. "It's like going to design school. One may have the talent, but it needs to be honed with other streams of knowledge to make it as a successful designer," she explains. "At the same time, for most artisans this means having to leave their roots and travel to cities. The idea is to take collaborators to their villages," she adds. TICP has thus identified rural craft clusters across India and devised site-specific projects. The Shoot! Bamboo Project, for example, invites writers, product designers, and photographers to collaborate with NGOs in Wayanad. "While the government has allocated budget through several schemes, much of it remains product-centric," says Pankaj. "What artisans need is intervention at many levels."

On September 16, 2 pm
At G5A, Laxmi Mills Compound, Mahalaxmi. rsvp 7042547430
Entry Rs 400

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