NIFT students help Guajarat artisans develop trendy craft designs

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 - 12:00pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Traditional arts and crafts have a special charm. However, lack of innovative designs often makes them dreary for the buyers.

Therefore, to get creative help from the experts, the ministry of textile has joined hands with the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) to come up with innovative and upbeat designs for traditional crafts to make them more contemporary.  

To design novel ideas, about 30 students of the Fashion and Lifestyle Accessory Batch- 2011-15 at the NIFT interacted with artisans of six different clusters in pockets of Gujarat. In the 15-day long workshop, students not only learnt different techniques but also taught artisans unusual designs to rejuvenate the craft’s demand.

The new and trendy designs will also ensure better opportunities to attract new buyers and improve the source of income of the artisans.

NIFT director Pavan Godiawala said: “The recently concluded workshop was a new project of the institute. The workshop-cum-research study helped the students in gaining knowledge about the technical aspects of the craft and the life of the artisans.”

Six clusters included – marble work near Ambaji, terracotta artists in Patan, Copper coat craft in Zura village near Bhuj, Agate stone work in Khambhat, Beads work in Gorva in Vadodara and wooden work for artisans in Jasdan near Rajkot. 

Marble work & stone carving
Students: Shailly Thareja, Ukti Tripathy, Komal Gupta, Nisha Banipurthy, Ranjeet Kumar Ranjan
The students visited two clusters and observed that the artisans used to work on giant stones to make parts of the temple. They said the artisans were comfortable making things they were familiar with. “We thought that making them work on small, fragile and intricate designs would be a challenge. Slowly but smartly, we kept changing our designs from simple to complicated ones,” said a student. They helped make jewellery box, home decor piece, lamps etc.

Copper coated craft, Bhuj
Students: Darshi Zaveri, Mohit Parmar, Namrata Singh, Saloni Sethi, Suchismita Jena
The students went to Bhuj to help artisan in nearby village Zura. The place is known for copper coated work but the artisans make few designs. The students came up with designs like an earthen pot with copper bell, a designer mirror with copper coated bells, a swing to keep god and goddess. “We not only taught new designs but also learnt to make copper-coated bells. One was a door bell,  where two copper bells ring just like doorbells using electricity,” said a student.

Agate stone, Khambhat
Students: Ruchita Rathod, Sonali Gupta , Kamal Nayan Gulati, Shubhangini Patel, Ankita Chaturvedi

The objective of this craft documentation was to learn various aspects of the craft to explore possibilities of growth, sustenance or revival of the craft. The entire process of making agate stone from breaking of stones to oiling and its application was discussed in detail. “We began with understanding how they worked. We came up with our ideas and techniques with the help of research,” said Ruchita.

Beads work, Vadodara
The students felt that beadwork symbolised purity and happiness in the lives of the artisans of Gujarat. “Different tribes practice the craft differently. We came to know about the development process, including the, history and evolution of the craft in Gujarat and about the cluster we worked with, their lifestyle and work,” said Arjita Verma.  The students helped make curtains, jewellery, designing garments with beads etc to teach artisans new items to woo customers. 

TerraCotta, Patan
During the stay in Patan, we visited terracotta shops in the city and learnt the process of making it.

We also studied the process involved in preparing the clay and the tools used in making the end product.  And this came as a starting point to a new design intervention. Realising the risks involved in it- be it baked product or raw terracotta products, students came up with no less than a dozen new designs- be it piggy bank, decor piece, wall hangings to mention a few. All the products are made unique to grab the buyer’s attention, said a student in the group Sana Singh.

Wooden craft, Jasdan
Wooden Pata, Metal embossing and enamelling – this craft document is about the study about the handicraft and its artisans. The look of an enameled embossed metal is very colourful and the designs, though intricate, are remarkable. After considering different factors, the designs that were already being used by them were combined and were used in the sample. Products like clutch bags, lamps, garments, jewellery pieces, phone covers, etc were developed with the same techniques but different base materials during the workshop.

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