Observations on Craft


Observations on Craft: Craft Journeys - Time Travel

Sunny and Meeta

Craft Journeys -Time Travel Sunny Introduces the Series The circle begins at the centre. Or does it? Do we already have the circle and find the centre and by then the circle has expanded, shifted and there is a new centre. Craft. Handmade. Tradition. Culture. Weavers. Printers. Potters. Jewelers. Millions of artisans, thousands of skills. Where does one begin? Since it's a personal journey our beginning could be anywhere. We may begin a thousand years ago at the dawn of civilization, at the birth of the nation in 1947, renewed interest through hippie led dharma fashion 1970's, the promotional and potpourri Festivals of India in the 1980's or economic and social liberalisation in the 1990's.

I, an IIT drop-out, Hindu Eco.(Hons) DU, came to craft through my college sweetheart who joined Dastkar in 1989.It was before the time NGO's were well funded, she started with a salary early four figures, nowadays a normal lunch for two at a decent nightclub. There was Moradabad brass. There were decrepit Khadi stores. There was Anokhi and Fabindia. I want to tell a story like the tree. Its many roots, many branches, but we share the trunk. The employment generation angle, less energy intensive, low capital outlay is common to most, a certain aesthetic vision of the universe, natural work rhythms and cooperative capitalism common to some, a glamorous high fashion to few. Craft spans more systems of production than any other, from tribal artisans to village specialization castes to semi ind...
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