Dream Come True

Education/Learning, Organisations, Institutions, Movements, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Dream Come True: Being a Jury Member at the first graduation of the Kalaraksha Design School

Tyabji, Laila

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Being part of the first graduation of the Kalaraksha Vidhyalaya crafts design students in November was an extraordinarily moving experience – fun, awe, pride, introspection, …Those four days, and the Vidyalaya itself, answered and raised so many questions – about the nature of craft and design, urban and rural, tradition and modernity, market-led and individual creativity…. Kutch and its craftspeople have been part of my life since 1978 – almost 30 years. I went to Kutch as a young, very urban designer, with no experience at all of working with craftspeople in rural situations, or how to interface my own sensibility with design traditions going back hundreds of years. In my 6 months in Kutch working for GURJARI, I struggled initially to integrate my own professional design vocabulary and working style with craftspeople totally unfamiliar with scale drawings, cross sections. Ways of measurement, words for colour, were all different. I blush to remember asking in one remote village whether they had tracing paper! They didn’t even have ordinary newsprint, and certainly NEVER felt the need to draw their designs before making them. The lives, needs and tastes of the consumers for whom I was developing products were so alien to those of the crafts producers themselves – how to bridge the differences and create something that was relevant to both sets of cultures and lifestyles? Working today with young student designers going out to tackle crafts projects for the first time, their dilemmas and dissonances are no differ...
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