Calling handloom and craft enthusiasts
Conscious clothing and craft labels at the forefront in Crafts Council of Telangana’s Kausalyam expo
Crafts Council of Telangana will be hosting Kausalyam 2021 at CCT Spaces, its new premises in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. Spread across the spacious atrium overlooking the 47-feet craft wall and the adjacent halls will be more than 20 craft and textile labels from across India that work with artisans at the grassroot level.
- Learn a craft: At the ‘Kausalyam Experiences’ section, register and learn Cheriyal mask painting, pottery, Madhubani paintings or listen to Ancient Living representatives talk about native grains. Artisans will also be displaying their products for purchase.
- Honouring craftspeople: In 2006, the Crafts Council of the then united Andhra Pradesh introduced ‘Sanmaan’ awards to recognise craftspeople. This year, Chintakindi Mallesham will receive the lifetime achievement award for the creation of Asu machine that helps ikat weavers process yarn with ease. Mallesham is a Padma Shri awardee.
- National level Sanmaan winners: Ambika Devi for Vaikuntapali in Madhubani painting style and Mobina Banu for Kota sari weaving.
- State level Sanmaan winners: Sapavat Kamala Yadagiri for Banjara needle craft using Vaikuntapali, Kurapati Srinivas Venkatesh for portrait weaving, Kalingapatnam Usha and Kola Rajeswari for jamdani weaving, Niranjan Jonnalagadda for kalamkari, D Sai Kiran for cheriyal painting and Naveena Dosada for silver filigree designing.
We put the spotlight on some of them:
Reuse, recycle: Mala Pradeep Sinha founded Bodhi in 1983 in Vadodara; their headquarters is powered by solar energy and follows stringent water recycling and conservation methods. Bodhi adopted sustainable practices long before it became fashionable to do so. “We were conscious of using natural resources wisely. If we tapped groundwater, we tried to return the water through rainwater harvesting. Since we didn’t have funds, we were frugal. Sustainable practices were a natural evolution,” says Mala. She and her husband Pradeep are alumni of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. She founded Bodhi to develop utilitarian textile products: “At that time, people wouldn’t pay for design ideas, but I understood that they will pay for tangible products with good design,” she remembers.
Bodhi specialises in hand block printing, hand screen printing, appliqué and embroidery. The label uses traditional techniques to arrive at contemporary designs. At Kausalyam, Bodhi will display some of its time-tested designs as well as ‘Bodhi Reborn’ line developed during the pandemic — ‘constructed saris’ stitched together using fabric end pieces. Some of the saris have patterns inspired by the pandemic — of people being home-bound while animals found freedom, of a young girl cycling across States with her father pillion riding, and the new masked looks.
Keeping it real: ‘Asal’, headquartered in Ahmedabad, patronises the forgotten art of spinning Ahimsa silk yarn on the ‘takli’. “Natural fibres were spun on the takli or bamboo stick before the charkha began to be used,” says Shripal Shah, of Asal. The organisation works with 5000 women weavers in West Bengal. Asal revived the ‘kinkhab’ brocade technique of Gujarat: “Each loom requires two weavers and the technique is such that they can weave only four to five centimetres per day,” says Shripal. Asal uses natural dyes and azo-free chemical dyes on natural fibres; Shripal says the hand spun silk yarn makes their fabric breathable for Indian summers. They will be displaying saris, stoles, yardage, dupattas, towels and napkins. One of their core principles is striving to be eco-friendly; their Ahmedabad store is energy efficient and uses no electricity.
No shortcuts: Handloom weaving involves time and it’s also about continuing unique textile traditions, believes Weaver Story. The five-year-old organisation works with 61 weaver and craft families in Banaras and Chanderi. Weaver Story has helped revive the gethua, dampaj and double weave brocade designs from museum archives. “Reviving archival designs requires economic strength and we provide that to our weavers. Weaving is about practising an art over generations,” says Nishant Malhotra, co-founder and CEO of Weaver Story.
Kausalyam is also hosting collections from Ahmedabad-based Gamthiwala, labels Manas Ghorai, Shivani Bhargava, Kameez Jaipur, Bhavani’s kanjeevarams, Andaaz by Jyoti Dhawan, Shunya Batik, Juanita, Little Gaurang, Purvi Doshi, SSaha, Marm, Studio Varn, Hastkaar and Village Art, alongside Weaver Studio established by Sally Holker, Shrujan Creations and Sidr Crafts from Kutch, among several others.
There will also be short eats from Old Madras Baking Company and vegan products from ‘No beef’.
For those residing outside India, there’s the option of ‘Virtual Kausalyam’ where volunteers walk them through the stalls and help them make virtual purchases. Those interested can text 9391230221 on Whatsapp or Signal.
(Kausalyam 2021 is on from February 11 to 13 at CCT Spaces, Road no.12, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad)