Rare Crafts of India
Modern lifestyle has enabled comfort living yet vast repertoire of knowledge and wisdom that sustained and nurtured these communities are fast disappearing. There is urgent need to preserve and revitalize these crafts and contemporize them. The Craft Village aims to revive traditional skills and techniques to make a sustainable living. An estimated 7-million artisans are engaged in craft production to earn a livelihood. As the majority of craft production remains unorganized with its full market potential untapped, especially by the artisan, who more often than not struggles for sustenance.
Propelled by loss of markets, declining skills and difficulty catering to new markets, a large number of artisans have moved to urban centers in search of low, unskilled employment in industry. According to the United Nations, over the past 30-years, the number of Indian artisans has decreased by 40%, indicating the need to re-invest in artisans to safeguard history, culture and an important source of livelihood. Craft Village has been dedicated to Craftsmen & Artisans of the world.
Crafts have been the largest employment provider after agriculture, so initial challenge was to help artisans/craftsperson to stop migrating in search of low key jobs (especially becoming daily wage labour). Moreover this imbalance was also caused due to Demand-Supply gaps in the craft sector, with majority of Governments, NGO’s and even leading bodies engaging themselves in re/up/new skilling instead of preserving these long drawn and rare skill sets. Lack of newer market opportunities, brand awareness and new platforms most of the market was getting lost to machine-made. Another bigger challenge was pseudo consumers who believed in “bargaining is must” ideology. And perhaps this was due to “Low Key” perceptions of Crafts Products. We started the initiative of sharing “Real Stories” of each craft and its evolution that was more fascinating than any epic. The craft that lost their narratives, essence, due to the brokers of Craft making an object of desire, an ordinary looking product was revived after intense efforts of many years. The value system was generated after an effective communication to the urban centres finally resulted in “Net reductions” of bargaining practices.
Craft Village has been established to bridge the gap between rural & urban communities; the objective is to provide a platform for learning and sharing Rare & Exclusive Traditional Crafts, which finally helps in up-liftment of Craftsman and their communities. The initiative has been taken to educate children in their formative years to understand the importance of Crafts in nation building, livelihood, social inclusion & sustainable culture besides giving major source of employability to millions of people.
Craft village also offers trans-disciplinary education to improve the quality of life of crafts persons by providing formal contemporary design and product development through design-technology-skill development programs/ workshops on regular basis.
Craft Village has trained more than 6000 Urban & Global population through Rare & Exclusive Craft Workshops, including learners from countries like Singapore, Indonesia, USA, UK, Netherlands, Poland, Mexico which has helped not only helped Indian crafts build a interface with global consumers but also increased demands of cultural & craft products. The various activities helped 100's of Craft Forms and thousands of Artisans a chance to get connected with modern consumers, Industry and Craft Patrons. Government recognized Craft Village for its innovative approach for bringing newer talents and connecting traditional crafts with modern consumers. Craft Village has impacted more than lives of 2-million people directly & indirectly, while connecting metros & Tier-2 cities with Rural India.
Craft Village has also been instrumental in dedicating a day (marked as15th October, recognised now by Google) as “International Craft Day” for Craft community, patrons, organisations and countries to celebrate global crafts. International Craft Day was inaugurated by Dr. Ghada Hijjawi Qaddumi, President, World Craft Council-APR in the presence of dignitaries from across the world. The day saw Craft Display, Craft Shops, Rare & exclusive Craft workshops, Interactive session titled An Agenda for Survival; Crafting Lives, Traditional and Folk Music, Traditional Food and many others.
Craft Village also instituted the 1st ever International Craft Awards in 2017 to recognize Craftsman, Artisans, Designers, Individuals/Organisations from across the world for their outstanding contribution in sustainable & inclusive development for Craft Sector. The awards got participation from across the world from more than 30-countries and finalist from Nepal, Egypt, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Serbia, South Africa, Hong Kong and many State Governments from India. The Chief Guest for the International Craft Awards 2017 was Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, Govt. of India, and the esteemed jury members from across the world including Dr. Ghada Hijjawi Qaddumi, President, World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region, Padmashri Laila Tyabji, Founder, Dastkar & legendary craft activist, Padmashri S. Shakir Ali, Master Artist Indian Miniature Paintings, Dr. Himadri Ghosh, Director, BID and former academic head NID, Ahmedabad, Erroll Pires Nelson, Master of Camel Split Ply Braiding and Retd. NID Faculty, Ahmedabad, Manisha Jha, Brand Ambassador of Sante Fe Tribal Art festival, USA & the National Award Winner, J. Niranjan, President, Paramparik Karigar & Nantong International Award Winner, Dr. Fatina Saiklay, Founder and Director of Co-Creando & Sustainable Ideas Lab, Milan, Italy & Prof. Aftab Gharda, Former Director, BIAD, United Kingdom, Shri HKL Magu, Chairman, AEPC, Shri Rakesh Vaid, Vice-Chairman, AEPC, High Commissioners from Award winning countries, delegation from Punjab & Kerala Government amongst many others