CONVOCATION MELA AT KRV!
After completing the final course of the year, Merchandising, Presentation, our traditional artisan students prepared to launch their careers as Artisan Designers. Since beginning the institution, the infinite creativity of the individual has clearly emerged. When encouraged, each individual effortlessly finds his or her unique expressions. And they confidently articulated these to their juries. This year, Jury members included Subrata Bhowmick, world renowned designer, Shilpa Sharma, previously in charge of products at Fabindia, Amit Sinha, head of the Apparel Department, National Institute of Design, and Priya Kishore, designer entrepreneur and owner of the high fashion boutique Bombay Electric.
The new graduates walked the fashion show ramp with their collections, under the stars on our rural campus. It was a dream come true for many of them.
Monghiben: “My dream was to be in the fashion show.”
Govindbhai: “For years we have made prize winning pieces for others. This year, my father and I will submit an entry in our own name.”
Graduates received certificates and awards for Best Collection, Best Presentation, Most Marketable Collection, and Most Promising Artisan. Alumni Hariyaben Uttam (KRV 2009) and Shakil Khatri (2009) addressed the audience of several thousand with confidence and sincerity.
Sajnuben- “If we do something new we can advance.”
The Convocation ceremony was followed by a public Mela, in which artisans showed their work to local visitors and craft lovers from Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, the USA, France, Germany, Austria, Australia, Portugal, Italy, UK., and China. Over 5,000 people attended the two day event, and the graduates sold their new products. This year’s winner of Best Collection nearly earned the cost of his annual tuition! The winner of Most Marketable Collection recorded orders for domestic and international clients.
Bhagvatiben- “I couldn’t see the sea at night. I had to imagine—I used my mind.” And her husband said, “I am so proud of her, because she did not go to school, but she can think.”
The Mela included craft workshops and local music, with a grand finale of a concert of traditional music and the now customary “Sanedo,” which drew graduates, staff, friends and family onto the dance ground.
Hanifbhai- “When I came here, I wasn’t an artisan. Now, I am on my way.”
At the Convocation, we took the benefit of the presence of our Chief Guest, Ms. Kasturi Gupta Menon, Honorary President of the Crafts Council of India, to officially launch our trademarked logo, Artisan Design.
Innovation has always been an integral part of tradition. In traditional arts or crafts the artisan both conceived the product and created it. When the old relationships between maker and user broke down, design emerged as a separate entity. At its best, design- like art- is understood as the work of an individual, whose creative efforts are the most highly valued aspect of the product. But when concept is separated from execution, the execution becomes “labour.”
In order to reverse the trend of artisans becoming laborers, Kala Raksha started Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. Here, we value the unique concepts of each artisan designer, consciousness and confidence increase, and the art aspect of craft re-emerges. Artisan Design emphasizes the aspect of the artisan’s thought. The Artisan Design logo will create visibility and value for the individual’s creative effort.
Artisan Design certifies that a product is an artisan’s own creative innovation. It celebrates the individual’s heart, mind and hand. Artisan Design also creates value for the integrated spirit of tradition. This is the symbol of re-integration of concept and execution in craft, and of raising status of the artisan. It is a new fair trade idea—fair trade for the creative spirit.
Continuing in its linkages with premier Indian institutes of Design, Kala Raksha is currently hosting two National Institute of Fashion Technology students for their diploma projects. Richika Pallavi is working on sourcing raw materials. This is a timely project, since one important feedback of the KRV jury this year was the need to have a good materials bank to encourage students to experiment with new materials. Smita Srivastava is creating a recycle collection, in line with our focus on sustainability.
Two of the KRV graduates who worked with the Srishti interns in the summer, Abdulla Khatri, and Zuber Khatri have submitted new collections for an exhibition in Mumbai December 12-18. The fabrics developed by Dayalal Kudecha and Ramji Maheshwari in the same workshop have been used for Kala Raksha’s current collection. All four of these graduates have now firmly established their independent businesses.
Shyamji Vishramji, KRV Advisor: “No one who has graduated from KRV has not gotten orders for his work.”
An Exhibition of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya at the National Institute of Design
As NID celebrates completion of 50 years of design education, KRV has been given the honour to exhibit our five years of work for the NID Convocation, December 14-15th . KRV graduates will be present to discuss their work on display.
E-Portfolios of KRV Alumni
KRV will initiate a separate website which will host e-portfolios of the Artisan Designers who have graduated from Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. Through the e-portfolios, Kala Raksha will facilitate contact to world markets for each of these artists. The contemporary market has a critical role to play in recognizing and honoring the spirit of the creator. With information technology, emerging artisan designers can be discovered by people who can value their work. The portfolios will be maintained on www.kala-raksha-vidhyalaya.org to be launched in January 2011.
Collaboration for Online Marketing
Another initiative is live in time for the holiday season. Through collaboration with Equal Craft, a socially conscious marketplace that provides world citizens with excellent world art, and artisans with true global market value and recognition, KRV graduates are able to sell their designs at www.equalcraft.com
The collaboration was developed through the Ashoka network. Combining age old tradition and the latest technology, Kala Raksha and Equal Craft are breaking social barriers. E-commerce makes it possible for rural artisans to directly connect with long distance markets. The fact that one can ask what is the difference between a quilter in Vermont selling her quilts on Etsy.com and Lachhuben Rabari selling her embroidered bags on Equalcraft.com says it all. The venture is leveling the playing field. In the way that Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya offers design education to artisans with no formal education, Equalcraft.com makes social networking possible for artisan designers who may not read and write.
THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING!
KRV has made great strides in narrowing the gap between the budget and the coffers, and Global Giving has made a substantial contribution. In the second Matching Campaign, Kala Raksha received $2,850- more than three times the previous campaign. This almost equals two scholarships for our artisan students. We utilized these funds to balance the budget for the year. One person, YOU, can make a difference in the lives of our very creative constituency!!
Sustainability! That is our challenge. Our students are working toward their own sustainability. At the dress rehearsal for the jury, KRV alumni gave sophisticated feedback that proved Artisan Design is sustainable.
Anwarbhai Khatri, president of the men’s class of 2010: “KRV was the chance of my life. I know I will keep going with what I learned.”
Kala Raksha has submitted ides for becoming self sustaining to one of our major funders for feedback. This is a huge challenge for an educational institution. We welcome any entrepreneurial ideas –and ideas for gaining increasing visibility-from our supporters.
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.
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.”
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.
Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya has interviewed 50 or 78 graduates. Analysis shows an overwhelmingly positive impact of the program on artisan participants.
• 100% of the students are of the opinion that they have learned something new in their craft and are completely satisfied.
• Nearly 34% have gotten employment have become independent because of Kala Raksha and the learning they received at Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya.
• 14% have increased their income by 50%.
• 20% have doubled their income.
• 4% have raised their income by five times.
• 4% have raised their income by ten times.
• 1% has raised their earning by twenty times.
• 28% of students are recent graduates from Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya and are hopeful for the future and about to start something new soon.
• 20% to 25% have started working on their own instead of doing job work.
• Nearly 50% to 60% have come in contact with and begun collaboration with other NGOs and Clients through Kala Raksha
Read the attachment for excellent quotes by graduates
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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