Kala Raksha

Kala Raksha aims: to preserve and present cultures of ethnic communities of Kutch (Gujarat, India) through their traditional arts; to facilitate the transformation of traditional art into contemporary products by encouraging innovation within existing traditions; to assist communities in achieving economic self-sufficiency through cooperative efforts; to assist direct sale of contemporary arts, for entire local communities. Artisan initiative and participation are the pillars of our work.
Dec 13, 2010

KR MUSEUM INSPIRED COLLECTIONS LAUNCHED

Artisans draw inspiration from collections
Artisans draw inspiration from collections

THE FRUITS OF KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM DESIGN WORKSHOPS

 

Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces our income generation work.  The Trust established an international quality Resource Center and Museum of textiles and related materials in 1997. Two features of this Museum make it unique.  First, the Museum is based in the village itself. Artisans have access to and responsibility for it.  Artisans utilize the collections to develop new collections with cultural integrity. Second, artisans were involved in all phases of the development of the Museum.  They assisted in collection, were engaged in documentation, and consulted in the permanent exhibition.  The Kala Raksha Museum successfully proves the mutual benefits of involving communities in presenting and utilizing their own cultures.

 The Museum is intended as a resource base for artisans, designers and researchers. One aim is to perpetuate and revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration.  

During this period, sixteen senior design school students, ten professional curators from Scotland, and thirty women artisans actively utilized our collections to develop contemporary craft-based products.  In addition, numerous student and tourist groups visited the museum.  Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site.

KRV graduates regularly study the Kala Raksha Museum collections. Current KRV student Sajnuben Pachan was inspired by our ornament collection to create embroidered ornaments as her final collection.  She received the award for Most Marketable Collection and has already garnered numerous orders.

 In this period, 10 women Design Interns, sponsored with funds raised, developed new Heritage Collections pieces submitted in application for participation in the 2011 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.  The designs were developed using feedback from participation in the event this year, coupled with research in our collections. 

 In July 2010, Rutika Sheth, senior design student at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology began her diploma project with Kala Raksha to create a collection by combining Museum based garments with the developments of earlier Srishti students and KRV graduates. In November, she completed the project and presented it for her final jury.  The prototypes were then produced at Kala Raksha.  The collection will be launched, appropriately, at an exhibition at the premier Museum of Mumbai, the Chatrapati Shivaji Sangrahalaya  (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum) December 12-28, 2010.

Along with the contemporary collection, Kala Raksha is launching a new concept, Artisan Design, which will celebrate the individual’s heart, mind and hand. Artisan Design creates value for the integrated spirit of tradition.  This is the symbol of integration of concept and execution in craft—as is exemplified in the original objects in our Museum collection-- and of raising status of the contemporary artisan. It is a new fair trade idea—fair trade for the creative spirit.

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

Autum and winter are the peak seasons for visitors to Kala Raksha.  In November we welcomed a group of students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Curator Judy Frater introduced the group to craft traditions as well as our Museum.  Several students returned often in their two week stay to study our collection of Rabari ornaments, and use our library.  Later in the month, a group of curators from Scotland visited the museum under a new Cultural Connections Programme recently launched by the British Council to develop and foster links and cultural exchange with India.

 

As part of the Creative Scotland’s (formerly Scottish Arts Council) commitment through its Crafts and International departments to strengthening the network, knowledge and skills of curators in Scotland, and to stimulating international exchange and collaboration, CS enabled 10 curators from Scotland to visit India for approximately 10 days. The aim was to research craft practices in India within their cultural contexts, forge links with organizations and practitioners in India for future collaboration, and develop greater understanding of their work in an international context.

 The visit also intended to contribute to the development of Scottish Curators and institutions, and to encourage networks in Scotland with their understanding of diversity of cultures, adding value to existing programmes in Scotland seeking to broaden audiences.

 ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS

A group brought by Stephen Huyler, independent curator, writer and photographer, visited in November.  Stephen donated two books for the Museum library, and one member generously donated funds for a new library cabinet.  In December, scanned images from Judy Frater’s collection of archival black and white images from rural India were added to the image bank of the Museum.

RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY

By June 2010 the structural alterations for our Museum Exhibition Gallery facelift were completed.  In October he exhibition script was finalized, and visual images were professionally scanned.  To create a sense of interaction and orient the viewer to embroidery traditions of Kutch, the exhibition script is structured as a series of questions:

 

1. What did the embroideries express?

2. Why Did women Embroider?

3. The Wedding Ceremony

4. How did they Use Embroidered Pieces?

5. What are Embroidery Styles?

6. How Else Did Women Decorate Themselves?

 

Mayank Loonker, a graduate and currently Faculty of the National Institute of Design, has mobilized a team to implement the exhibition design.  However, with the constant traffic of visitors, it was decided to postpone construction and to open the exhibition to the public after March. 

THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING!

 Kala Raksha Trust is self sustaining in its income generation work- a feat not even attempted by many non-profits.  However, the earnings from our income generation can not cover the costs of expansion of The Kala Raksha Museum, which is the core of our sustainable, authentic work.  Generous donations from our supporters enable us to add to our collections, and host projects that utilize our rich resource.

 Global Giving  has enabled us to raise funds for collections. We thank Global Giving donors for your support, and welcome financial contributions as well as ideas for ways to reach out and share our holdings with interested people.

THE NEXT PHASE

 Kala Raksha’s online Museum includes a virtual gallery for changing exhibitions.  Currently, Recent Acquisitions are displayed.  Plans for our second exhibition and underway.  Innovation: Re- Purpose, Re-Invent is scheduled to go live in February, coinciding with an exhibition at The Textile Museum in Washington D.C.: Second Lives: The Age Old Art of Recycling Textiles.  For this exhibition, and for the ongoing collection development, a small collection of objects to be acquired has been identified.  The total value of these objects is RS 16,800 or US$ 363.

new products developed from collections
new products developed from collections
Detail of suf embroidered jacket for Museum show
Detail of suf embroidered jacket for Museum show
Rabari hansadi from KR Museum collection
Rabari hansadi from KR Museum collection
Sajnuben
Sajnuben's embroidered hansadi in fashion show
Sajnuben with collection at jury
Sajnuben with collection at jury
article in Ahmedabad Mirror
article in Ahmedabad Mirror

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Sep 20, 2010

Kala Raksha Museum Inspires New Collections!

Kala Raksha artisans study textiles in the Museum
Kala Raksha artisans study textiles in the Museum

Sajnaben: “When we study the Museum, we see ourselves in new, valuable ways.”

DESIGN WORKSHOPS AT THE KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM

The Kala Raksha Museum is a design resource for artisans, designers and researchers. One aim is to perpetuate and revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration. During this period, six senior design school students, two professional designers, fifteen KRV graduate design interns, and thirty women artisans actively utilized our collections to develop contemporary craft-based products. In addition, numerous student and tourist groups visited the museum. Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site.

KRV graduates regularly study the Kala Raksha Museum collections. The current group of 10 women Design Interns developed new Heritage Collections for Kala Raksha this year. These included quilts, jackets, stoles and bags inspired by objects in the Museum.

The new collections were launched at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and received an excellent response.

Harkhuben: “It was clear that people in Santa Fe liked our traditional work best!”

In May, KRV graduates Abdullabhai, Mohamedbhai, Zuberbhai, Dayalalbhai, and Ramjibhai began a design project with Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology interns Malovika, Sunayana and Kimberly. Two graduates were on a financial aid program wherein they will partially pay their fees in kind. The project included research in the KR Museum collections and working with a contemporary theme. All graduates will work together to design products for this year’s Kala Raksha collections. This insures that the graduates utilize their education in creating new collections, and benefits Kala Raksha with new products- a win-win proposition!

Mohamedbhai: “Seeing the pieces in the Museum, I was drawn back to my roots.”

In June and July 2010 Radhika Agarwal and Devanshi Sanghvi, two interns from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Gandhinagar worked with Kala Raksha. They began with a study of the Museum collections, assisting the KRV Design Interns with construction and fitting, which gave them a firm base for working later the current KRV students.

Also in June and July 2010, Kala Raksha conducted the second Development Commissioner Handicrafts sponsored Museum Inspired Design Workshop. Thirty traditional embroidery artisans from five ethnic groups worked with Ninoshka Alvares and Stina Gardek, professional designers from Mumbai and Sweden, for fifteen days to create a contemporary collection based on the traditional garments in the Kala Raksha Museum Collection.

Following this workshop, Rutika Sheth, senior design student at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology undertook her diploma project with Kala Raksha to take the collection forward by combining the Museum based garments with the developments of the earlier Srishti students and KRV graduates.

RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY By June 2010 the structural alterations for our Museum Exhibition Gallery face-lift were completed. The exhibition object list and script have been revised, and visual images have been identified. The interior design was sketched out, but due to unusually heavy rains this year, no work could be done. Mayank Loonker, a graduate and currently Faculty of the National Institute of Design, will finalize and implement the exhibition design. We hope to have the new gallery open to the public in October.

THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING!

Kala Raksha Trust is self sustaining in its income generation work- a feat not even attempted by many non-profits. However, the earnings from our income generation can not cover the costs of expansion of The Kala Raksha Museum, which is the core of our sustainable, authentic work. Generous donations from our supporters enable us to add to our collections, and host projects that utilize our rich resource.

In just a few months with Global Giving we have already raised funds for collections. We thank Global Giving donors for your support, and welcome financial contributions as well as ideas for ways to reach out and share our holdings with interested people.

THE NEXT PHASE

Kala Raksha’s online Museum includes a virtual gallery for changing exhibitions. Currently, Recent Acquisitions are displayed. Plans for our second exhibition and underway. Innovation: Re- Purpose, Re-Invent is scheduled to go live in February, coinciding with an exhibition at The Textile Museum in Washington D.C.: Second Lives: The Age Old Art of Recycling Textiles. For this exhibition, and for the ongoing collection development, a small collection of objects to be acquired has been identified. The total value of these objects is RS 16,800 or US$ 363.

A Rabari quilt in the KR Museum collection
A Rabari quilt in the KR Museum collection
Devalben creates a contemporary version
Devalben creates a contemporary version
A Rabari jacket in the KR Museum
A Rabari jacket in the KR Museum
Devalben
Devalben's quilt based on the Museum object
Harkhuben & the owner of her museum based jacket
Harkhuben & the owner of her museum based jacket

Attachments:
Sep 16, 2010

KRV to the World! KRV Progress Report 15-9-10

Nitesh working on theme board
Nitesh working on theme board

COURSES AT KRV

From April through August KRV held Courses 3, 4 and 5 of our six course year. Traditional Artisan students studied Market Orientation, Concept & Communication, and Collection Development. They have learned for whom to create, and how to shape their creations into collections of dynamic products.

INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT To link Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya to the Trust, and extend KRV education, in April Kala Raksha began a series of day long design workshops for Kala Raksha staff. Our premise is that design is useful for everyone! Permanent Faculty members Dayalalbhai and Harishbhai taught the first workshop: color theory and practical application.

To link to other educational institutions, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya hosted interns from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, The Institute for Rural Management, and the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

In May, KRV graduates Abdulla Khatri, Mohamed Hussain Khatri, Zuber Khatri, Dayalal Kudecha, and Ramji Maheshwari began a design project with Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology interns Malovika, Sunayana and Kimberly. Two of the graduates were on a financial aid program wherein they will partially pay their fees in kind. The project is important because it pilots our in-kind aid program. All will work together to design products for this year’s Kala Raksha collections. This will insure that the graduates utilize their education in creating new collections, and benefit Kala Raksha with additions to our existing product line- a win-win proposition! Abdullabhai- “This was the first time I could really use what I learned all together. I made my own collection!”

In June and July, Deepali Gupta, a student of the Institute for Rural Management carried out a feasibility study for developing KRV post graduate studies. She interviewed many of the 90 KRV graduates extensively about their needs and desires, and worked with the top of the line IRMA faculty to create a curriculum for a KRV course in business management.

In June and July, Radhika Agarwal and Devanshi Sanghvi, two students from the National Institute for Fashion Technology worked with this year’s KRV students to develop the apparel for their final collections. The lived with the artisan students for a month, listened to their dreams, and helped them forge them into realities by creating sketches, patterns and prototypes.

Radhika, NIFT student: “It was an amazing experience for me to work at Kala Raksha! I learned a lot. I’m looking forward for more of such opportunities.”

OUTREACH A New Film From Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya! This year, Kala Raksha completed a documentary Film Project entitled “The Masters’ Voices”. Funded by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Seagate and directed by Nilosree Biswas, “The Master’s Voices” comprises six short films portraying the understanding of design though the voices of embroiderers of Kala Raksha, and KRV artisan advisers. The project holds important archival material. For a more widespread audience, the material was edited into one forty-five minute film of the same title.

Artisan Design Logo KRV has developed a new brand, Artisan Design, to be launched this year. A logo was designed by the National Institute of Design as a classroom project. The brand is intended to raise awareness and value for the artisan’s complete involvement in creation.

Kala Raksha Vidhyalayaa Graduates Teach and Learn in the USA For the month of July, KRV Graduate Harkhuben Bhojraj Rabari and her colleague artisan Meghiben Meriya taught Kutch embroidery traditions and marketed their designs in six cities of the USA. They represented the work of 90 graduates of KRV and 1,000 women artisans. Beginning with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, they visited museums, college campuses, and textile centers. Sales totaled to over US$ 37,000.

Harkhuben: “I learned the value of our traditional work. People appreciate it and they like it most when it is made by our own hands!” (see attached report)

THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING! KRV has a long way to go before raising the funds we need to operate our school this year, but in just a few months since joining Global Giving, we have raised almost $950, including the generous match from Global Giving on Matching Day. We utilized the funds to complete our film, “The Masters’ Voices,” and toward the institution operational expenses. One person, YOU, can make a difference in the lives of our very creative constituency.

THE NEXT PHASE Sustainability! That is our challenge. Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya would like to never have to search for donations again. To make that possible we are thinking of ways to become self sustaining. It is a huge challenge for an educational institution. We welcome any entrepreneurial ideas –and ideas for gaining increasing visibility-from our supporters.

Anwar with batik inspired by Rann of Kutch
Anwar with batik inspired by Rann of Kutch
Hina with sketches inspired by a rock
Hina with sketches inspired by a rock
Sajana helping Hina think out a theme
Sajana helping Hina think out a theme
Harkhuben markets her design in Santa Fe
Harkhuben markets her design in Santa Fe
Harkhuben & Meghiben at USA embroidery workshop
Harkhuben & Meghiben at USA embroidery workshop

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