Expanding museum for women artisans of Kutch India

 
$2,670
$22,330
Raised
Remaining
Jun 24, 2013

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM REACHES FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL

Jivaben and colleagues in the KR Museum
Jivaben and colleagues in the KR Museum

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM

 

REACHES OUT, FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM

PROJECT REPORT 25 JANUARY -15 JUNE 2013

Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation.  The Trust established an international quality 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.  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. Traditions embody the identity and heritage of a people. Increased appropriation of design intellectual property across cultures has resulted in a generic commercial ethnic look, as well as loss of knowledge of textile traditions.   Kala Raksha's challenge increasingly is to innovate within traditions, and to tell the story that makes cultural integrity more valuable. 

 The strength of the Kala Raksha Museum is its local basis.  Yet, much of its support, use and appreciation lies in the world beyond.  In this period the Kala Raksha Museum reached out from local to world audiences.

SERVING THE ARTISAN COMMUNITY

In January 2013, the eighth year of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya began.  Our design education program emphasizes two main sources of inspiration: Nature, and Tradition.  Accordingly, we make sure to include a visit to the Kala Raksha Museum in the first classes of the year.  It is a pleasure to see how artisans quickly learn to see with new eyes.  Just as this year's men students wondered and pondered over examples of the traditions which they had never seen, this year's women studied the colours of embroideries and bandhanis from different regions and eras.  With direction from fiber artist Nita Thakore, they joyfully explored the minds of earlier embroidery artists.  Someone once said that artists work better with artisans than designers do.  In this instance it surely seemed true.  By the end of the colour class enthusiasm for traditions had visibly grown. 

 "We saw all kinds of embroidery in the Museum." Jivaben, Dhebaria Rabari artist.

 "I came to take my tradition forward. I saw all kinds of bandhani in the museum and learned that all communities use bandhani for good and sad occasions." Zakiyaben, bandhani artist.

OUTREACH

Enjoying its local location, the KRV students have become the most active and regular users of Kala Raksha's Museum.  Yet the collections and documentation have a much greater potential audience.  During this period, the online presence of the collections provided an opportunity to students of Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. The students were part of the program Designers Meet Artisans 2013 Social Responsibility Studio. This project aims to develop an understanding of socially responsible design through a focus on user- centred design and was developed in collaboration with Dr Kevin Murray (Adjunct Professor RMIT University) and the Sangam Australia India Design Platform (www. sangamproject.net/)   The objective of the project was to provide a link between Australian Designers and Indian Artisans, as a way to sustain crafts and to enhance the Artisan’s economic and environmental sustainability.

Socially Responsible Design involves both participatory and human centered design strategies. In this project student designers undertook some of the techniques developed by the Stanford Boot Camp team (dschool.stanford.edu/wp.../03/BootcampBootleg2010v2SLIM.pdf) and the IDEO Human Centered Design Tool kit (http://www.ideo.com/work/human-centered-design-toolkit/)

As a means to building in a participatory aspect to the project’s development students had direct contact with Sangam and Kala Raksha.  Online research in the Kala Raksha Museum was encouraged in order to insure that the Swinburne students would design appropriate to the artisans' traditions.  Serendipitously, Line Jorgensen, a Danish student who had participated in the program last year was doing an internship at Kala Raksha to test out her prototypes in real life.  She provided valuable feedback to the Swinburne students and finally guided the prototyping process.

The products designed ranged from an embroidered kite, embroidered men's tie, baby accessories, and embroidered jewelry travel bag and storage containers.  Most imaginative of all was an embellished dog coat, based on the Rabari camel trappings in the Kala Raksha Museum.  Look for final results in the next report.

In March, KR Museum Curator Judy Frater participated in a UGC Sponsored National Seminar "The Cultural Heritage of Gujarat" organized by the Department of History

Faculty of Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.  She presented a lecture, "Embroidery: A Woman's History of Kutch," which was illustrated with objects from the Kala Raksha Museum. 

As the final step in renovation of the Museum, Kala Raksha is upgrading and reproducing its permanent exhibition catalogue.  The catalogue will include the exhibition text and selected illustrations of the objects on display.  Since visitors often do not have the time to study the exhibition content, the catalogue will insure that the exhibition text is read at leisure.  In this way, both awareness of the museum and the information it holds will be more widely disseminated. 

DOCUMENTATION AND COLLECTIONS CARE

Documentation and collections care are less glamorous than building the collections.  But it is the documentation that completes each object housed by the Museum and gives it value.  An object is only part of the artifact.  Documentation adds context and meaning. During this period, photographs of early accessions were upgraded from negatives to digital format.  This will make better quality images available for the online museum, and for eventual publication.  Beginning with objects slated for publication in our book on Kutch embroidery, seventy objects were digitally photographed, including multiple details.  Good imagery will increase access to museum materials while minimizing the need for handling objects.  The photo shoot also provided an opportunity for inventory and improvement of housing of objects.  At the same time, a list of forty additional objects to be digitally photographed for inclusion in the museum catalogue was compiled.

BOOK RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries, which will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections, continued.  During this period, we enjoyed the sabbatical of Dr. Michele Hardy, Curator of the The Nickle Arts Museum, The University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.  Michele did her PhD on Mutava embroidery and will be writing the chapter on Mutava work.  She utilized the Kala Raksha museum during her sabbatical and we hope to have her upgrade documentation as well as contribute to the publication.

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

During this period, we enjoyed a variety of visitors to the Kala Raksha Center and Museum.  We were honoured to have Dr. Rosemary Crill, Senior Curator, South Asia, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, visit the Kala Raksha Museum for the first time.  Representatives of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney also visited.  NGOs URMUL of Phalodi and Harappani Gorbanjara Mahila Kala Vikas Mandal of Ambajogai, Maharashtra brought artisans for field trips, Dr. Gabriele Tautscher, Professor at Kultur- und Sozialanthropologin Institut für SA- , Tibet- u. Buddhismuskunde der Univesität Wien brought a study group.  Jeni Allison returned on the second visit of the Creative Scotland ReSide program to spend sixteen days of intensive work learning Rabari traditions.  And many tourists visited Kala Raksha Center and Museum.

INTERN INSPIRATION AND PRODUCT DEVELOMENT  

This year's Nanda design interns began their internship with guidance from several international interns.  Lucy Darling and Cadi Mathews, UK exchange students at Pearl Academy, conducted a two-week museum inspiration product development workshop with our artisan interns, sponsored by the Development Commissioner Handicrafts. 

Line Jorgensen, a student from the University of Southern Denmark, worked for four months developing a "Technology Collection of laptop, tablet and e-reader covers.  She utilized the museum to understand the traditions with which she worked.

THANKS TO GLOBALGIVING!

 GlobalGiving has been a steady and significant source of support for the Kala Raksha Museum.  Your contributions insure that our collections continue to grow and support our sustainable, authentic work and we can host projects that utilize our resource. 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 cannot cover the costs of expansion of the Museum.

GlobalGiving has enabled us to reactivate our museum work. We thank GlobalGiving 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: UPGRADING and EXPANSION

Kala Raksha has its sights on new collections and also hopes to be able to expand the museum facilities to accommodate them this year.  As research progresses, we will be able to make the best selection of new accessions, and we will strive to balance upgrading the documentation and housing of collections with acquisition.

Camel cover that inspired Art Pet dog coat
Camel cover that inspired Art Pet dog coat
upgraded image of SR-86 Kanjaro from SIndh
upgraded image of SR-86 Kanjaro from SIndh
R-256 Toran that inspired a bag and a bunting
R-256 Toran that inspired a bag and a bunting
Museum inspired new tech collection
Museum inspired new tech collection

Links:


Attachments:
Jan 25, 2013

KR MUSEUM ACCESSIONS THREE COLLECTIONS

embroidered blouse from eastern Kutch
embroidered blouse from eastern Kutch

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM

PROJECT REPORT 21 OCTOBER 2012- 24 JANUARY 2013

Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation.  The Trust established an international quality 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.  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. Traditions embody the identity and heritage of a people. Increased appropriation of design intellectual property across cultures has resulted in a generic commercial ethnic look, as well as loss of knowledge of textile traditions.   Kala Raksha's challenge increasingly is to innovate within traditions, and to tell the story that makes cultural integrity more valuable. 

As Kala Raksha artisans develop contemporary designs based on the museum collections, they tell their own story, enhancing the value of their traditions.

Shafikbhai, bandhani artist and KRV student, "In the Museum I saw bandhani I had not seen before!"

 ACCESSION OF NEW COLLECTIONS

Since the last report, another excellent Global Giving disbursement was received. The generous donation enabled us to accession the remaining nine home quilts earmarked in March, and fifteen objects from eastern Kutch- 8 blouses and 7 embroidered objects.  The collection of these increasingly rare objects is crucial to enabling artisans to study and perpetuate their own traditions with the enthusiasm that keeps them living.

SERVING THE ARTISAN COMMUNITY

In January 2013, the eighth year of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya began.  As the years have passed, we have seen the student composition change.  Artisans under the age of 35 have a markedly weaker knowledge of their traditions.  This year, we noted a new, hopeful trend: all but one of the men students are sons of artisans who left their crafts to work in industry.  This generation returned, albeit with some hesitation. These young men visited the Kala Raksha Museum to see examples of traditional work they had never seen, and met with masters of their crafts. They also had the opportunity to interact with students from the Institute for Apparel Management in Delhi during the class. By the end of the colour class we were happy to hear enthusiasm for traditions growing. 

 Sajanbhai, tangalio weaver, "In the interview I wasn't sure.  But now I have the desire to learn, to use our weaving.  When I saw the Delhi students come so far to learn, I thought we should also learn and preserve our traditions."

 Poonambhai, weaver, "I have made dhablas for years, but I never knew there were THREE colours- black, white and gray.  And we get different shades by proportion of warp and weft."

 Sureshbhai, tangalio weaver,  " I will take a year but I will make a super piece." 

 INSTITUTION BUILDING

In our quest to build our institution, Kala Raksha hosted twelve students from the Institute for Apparel Management in Delhi in a craft documentation/ skill building project.  The students approached Kutch textile traditions with little experience.  We encouraged them to use the museum collections and library so that they would begin with respect for the aesthetic and conceptual as well as technical aspects of traditions.  This background made a clear change in their approach. 

 Graduates of KRV found an excellent opportunity to meet international design professionals in the "Make it New Again" international conference in Ahmedabad, co-sponsored by Sangam, Australia, and National Institute of Design. LOkesh Ghai  presented a paper on Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. 

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

In December, Kala Raksha hosted avant guarde Australian designer Rebecca Paterson for an extended workshop in Rabari embroidery.  Rebecca also utilized the Kala Raksha Museum to familiarize herself with Rabari work, and then immersed herself in Rabari culture.  The project, documented by renowned photographer Rozie Sharp, culminated in a set of design prototypes that we are confident evoke Rabari tradition, but which will sell in the high fashion market of Australia. 

 During this period two groups representing the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, a group of students from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, faculty from Kansas State University, and many tourists visited Kala Raksha Center and Museum.

 CONTINUING EDUCATION

A BIG BOOST FOR INTERN INSPIRATION

We are happy to announce that the museum inspired products designed by Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya graduate artisan designers garnered Kala Raksha a place in the 2013 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.  Look for our team in Santa Fe this July.   

Our Artisan Design line took an exciting turn in January, when we paired men and women graduates to work in collaboration on our next fashion show collection.  The women interns decided the theme "Sangam," joining elements to make something new.  The men met with them and studied their initial work, and will now reply with accessories that coordinate and complete the ensembles.  We will encourage them to utilize museum collections to insure that traditions remain recognizable.

 This January, Kala Raksha received a generous grant to institute a new design internship program in memory of Ms. Shakunt Nanda.  This will enable ten women to utilize the museum to develop new products over the next year.

 IMPROVING OUR WEB PRESENCE

Throughout the months of December and January, our traveling webmaster Catriona Russell stayed in Kutch to revamp our three websites.  They are now better functioning as well as accurate and elegant.  You can now reach the museum website with a click from our Kala Raksha site.  We will upload images of our new accessions once they are photographed.

BOOK RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries, which will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections, resumed in August.  One more chapter is drafted.  With the rapid modernization of Kutch villages, we realize that this is probably the last chance to glean information from the heritage held in our Museum collections.  Aging artisans now struggle to place the work we show them.  Our creative team has captured critical information that will make an invaluable contribution to the field.

THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING!

Global Giving has been a steady and significant source of support for the Kala Raksha Museum.  Your contributions insure that our collections continue to grow and support our sustainable, authentic work and we can host projects that utilize our resource. 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 cannot cover the costs of expansion of the Museum.

Global Giving has enabled us to reactivate our museum work. 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: CONTINUED EXPANSION

Kala Raksha has its sights on new collections and also hopes to be able to expand the museum facilities to accommodate them this year.  As research progresses, we will be able to make the best selection of new accessions.

Artisan students study Museum collections
Artisan students study Museum collections
studying a bandhani in detail
studying a bandhani in detail
Delhi students work with embroidery artisans
Delhi students work with embroidery artisans
visit the improved Kala Raksha Museum site
visit the improved Kala Raksha Museum site

Links:


Attachments:
Oct 22, 2012

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM BASED PRODUCTS WOW AT SANTA FE

Lachhuben teaching
Lachhuben teaching

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM BASED PRODUCTS 

WOW THE SANTA FE INTERNATIONAL FOLK ART MARKET 

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM

PROJECT REPORT 9 JULY- 20 OCTOBER 2012

Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation.  The Trust established an international quality 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.  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. Traditions embody the identity and heritage of a people. Increased appropriation of design intellectual property across cultures has resulted in a generic commercial ethnic look, as well as loss of knowledge of textile traditions.   Kala Raksha's challenge increasingly is to innovate within traditions, and to tell the story that makes cultural integrity more valuable. 

As Kala Raksha artisans develop contemporary designs based on the museum collections, they tell their own story, enhancing the value of their traditions.

SUCCESS IN SANTA FE AND BEYOND

This year, Kala Raksha's museum inspired accessory collection earned it the important opportunity to participate in the 2012 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.  This venue draws an enthusiastic crowd, which appreciates and purchases tradition-based products.  Rabari artisan coordinators Lachhuben Raja and Rajabhai Pachan, traveled to Santa Fe, supported by a generous travel grant from Tata Power.  The new products, consciously developed by Kala Raksha artisan interns, had cultural integrity as well as quality workmanship.  Sales were excellent. 

In Santa Fe, artisan representatives experienced the international market directly. Following, Kala Raksha conducted a three-week tour of five venues of workshops, lectures and sales. The tour benefited all of the artisans of Tunda Vandh and the greater artisan community. The entire Kala Raksha constituency earned from their education and efforts. Workshop participants learned an array of stitching techniques from Lachhuben, and worked on projects of their choice.  Rajabhai created traditional motifs for them in machine embroidery.  They chose the motifs from the workshop booklet provided by Kala Raksha.  Lachhuben and Rajabhai's demonstrations and explanations instantly enhance the value of their work. Knowledge is appreciation!

A program was held at the Fowler Museum, on the UCLA campus, a leading museum of ethnography.  It holds an important collection of embroideries from Kutch, collected in the mid 1970s by Vickie Elson, who published her research on the collection as Dowries of Kutch, in 1979.  Barbara Sloan, Associate Director, Center for the Study of Regional Dress, invited the Kala Raksha team to conduct a “Textile Roundtable” program for the Fowler Textile Council.   About 30 textile enthusiasts joined us for several hours.  We examined a selected of Kutch embroidered textiles.  It was a rare treat to have two Rabari artisans as well as a textile scholar discuss the objects.  We compared current work with work of three decades past, and discussed current trends and issues.

Kala Raksha also conducted four trunk show sales in addition to workshops.  Response was excellent, nearly doubling Kala Raksha's Santa Fe earnings.  The philosophy of these shows can be summed up in the slogan of the fair trade shop Fabric of Life, in Edmonds:  "Do Good; Feel Good; Look Good."

The tour was a resounding success.  At the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, having a really robust and varied sampling of clients in a short time gave important market intelligence.  Other trunk shows similarly provided direct and immediate feedback with clients from different regions.  The intimate experience of another culture will enhance our ability to design for those markets.

In our workshops, participants gained an increased appreciation of the creativity and skill of traditional artisans as they could not have in another way:

"I will never look at handmade things in the same way again.  I have a completely new appreciation of hand work.  I understand the personal quality," Lori Harris, Los Angeles.

"I have Attention Deficit Disorder.  I really think that this experience helped me learn to focus in a new way," participant from the Seattle workshop.

Finally, the earnings were literally rain in an impending drought.  Summer is always a time of slow sales in India, even while we are producing for the winter sales season.  

CONTINUING EDUCATION

INTERN INSPIRATION

We now have a clearer idea what people like and that went directly into refining products and developing new ones.  Understanding target markets is the most essential aspect of successful designing.  Lachhuben planned a refinement of one product in the plane back to Mumbai.  Drawing on our museum objects to create new collections, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya graduate design interns got straight to work creating samples for next year's Santa Fe Market application.

ACCESSION OF NEW COLLECTIONS

Since the last report, the Global Giving disbursement was received. The excellent exchange rate enabled us to accession seven of eighteen home quilts earmarked in March. 

As rural cultures change more rapidly that could be imagined, Kala Raksha is very happy for the opportunity to document and preserve Kutch textile traditions.

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

During this period Kala Raksha hosted workshops for students of the prestigious Maret School of Washington DC., an American quilters group, two Scottish artist residents of the ReSide project, and three international researchers exploring the importance of telling the stories of sustainability in art.  All utilized the Museum as well as working with Kala Raksha artisans.

BOOK RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries, which will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections, resumed in August.  Three contributors are hard at work.  With the rapid modernization of Kutch villages, we realize that this is probably the last chance to glean information from the heritage held in our Museum collections.  Aging artisans now struggle to place the work we show them.  Our creative team has captured critical information that will make an invaluable contribution to the field.  We have established a deadline for the manuscript for January 2013.

THANKS TO GLOBALGIVING!

Again, our report follows a Global Giving Bonus Day, and again we are happily grateful.  On 17 October Kala Raksha Museum received donations totaling $750, which will be matched by 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 cannot 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 resource. 

Global Giving has enabled us to reactivate our museum work. 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: NEW ACCESSIONS TO BE FINALIZED

The next Global Giving grant disbursement will allow us to accession objects of special relevance to the embroidery book research as well as more of the home quilt collection.  Collections of traditional women's blouses and work from Eastern Kutch have been earmarked.  As research progresses, we will be able to make the best selection of new accessions.

Maret School workshop.jpg
Maret School workshop.jpg
Museum inspired jackets.jpg
Museum inspired jackets.jpg
Santa Fe customer.jpg
Santa Fe customer.jpg
Scottish ReSide.jpg
Scottish ReSide.jpg
Vagad toplo.jpg
Vagad toplo.jpg

Attachments:
Jul 9, 2012

KR MUSEUM ACCESSIONS QUILTS THROUGH GLOBAL GIVING

Deavalben with her home quilt
Deavalben with her home quilt

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM ACCESSIONS HOME QUILTS

PURCHASED WITH SUPPORT FROM GLOBALGIVING

 KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM

PROJECT REPORT 14 APRIL - 8 JULY 2012

Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation.  The Trust established an international quality 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.  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. Traditions embody the identity and heritage of a people. Increased appropriation of design intellectual property across cultures has resulted in a generic commercial ethnic look, as well as loss of knowledge of textile traditions.   Kala Raksha's challenge increasingly is to innovate within traditions, and to tell the story that makes cultural integrity more valuable. 

As the museum expands its collection into newer areas, and reaches out to new audiences, it extends its ability to do so.

ACCESSION OF NEW COLLECTIONS

This report follows a GlobalGiving Matching Day. We are delighted to see that these events really work!  The Museum Project received $250 (and hopefully some matching funds too), which enables us to accession the home quilts we earmarked in the last report.  As rural cultures change more rapidly that could be imagined, such art forms which have never been recognized could be lost forever.  Kala Raksha wishes to remain at the forefront of documenting and preserving Kutch textile traditions.  Thus we find an opportunity to add these exciting quilts to our collections, and to contemplate where this resource will take our contemporary production.

 The collection identified after the last accession, in March 2012:  home quilts of the Rabaris and suf embroiderers with whom we work, made us research on the Gee's Bend story of similar quilts from southern USA.  The quilts are an anomaly in the known textile traditions of Kutch. Made purely for the family, they reflect the artisan's spontaneous sensibility: simple, bold and intuitive in design, but with the finest workmanship invested in the quilting-- the hand, which artisans highly value. 

 Today there is no time, and little patience for such work. So, we decided to keep this wonderful collection as an inspiration.  The total value of the collection is RS 45,000 ($ 918).  When the Global Giving disbursement is received, the $250 will enable us to accession six quilts. 

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM FEATURED

IN THE WOMEN'S COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT COURSE

Kala Raksha's collections enjoy exposure with our on-line facility.  Drawing on the experience of collaboration between National Institute of Design and Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya students last year, we decided that it is important for the urban design students to know as much as possible of the traditions with which they will collaborate.  At the outset of this year's fifth course, Visiting Faculty member LOkesh Ghai asked the collaborating M.S. University students to browse the Kala Raksha collections on line, and short list objects they would like to examine.  The four students then took a field trip to the Kala Raksha Museum to study the collections.  They returned to the KRV campus with enthusiasm:  studying objects brings appreciation. 

INTERN INSPIRATION

This year's Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya graduate design interns Damyantiben Shankar (2008) suf embroiderer, Sajnuben Pachan (2010) Devalben Pachan (2008), and Jivaben Rana (2011), all Dhebaria Rabari embroiderers, and Hariyaben Uttam (2009) patchwork and applique artist. also drew on our museum objects to create new collections.  Preparing for a major benefit event to be held in Mumbai in December, the design interns went back to our collections for inspiration for tradition based contemporary wear.  As always, they were clear that inspiration is not copying.  They made their own interpretations with wild twists.

 VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

Although our high visitation season has passed, the Kala Raksha Museum continues to receive visitors-- dare we say more serious ones?  During this period  we had the honour to introduce our collections to Faculty Lili Hermann and two students of the Rhode Island School of Design, USA.  Renowned Fashion Designer Anju Modi also visited, as did Fellows from the international artisan support organization NEST.  Visitors have brought us benefits.  Thomas Seligman, who researched ornaments from our collections, advised the Christensen Fund to make their annual donation to Kala Raksha.  A National Geographic photographer contributed toward Kala Raksha's travel to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in July 2012. 

BOOK RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries, which will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections, will resume in August, when two contributors will be in Kutch.  We have established a deadline for the manuscript for January 2013.

THANKS TO GLOBALGIVING!

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 cannot 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 reactivate our museum work. In the past year and a half, we have been able to focus on the Museum.  It has paid off, and we are grateful.  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:

COMPLETION OF THE HOME QUILT COLLECTION

Kala Raksha was pleased to begin accessioning the home quilts earmarked in March.  Six of eighteen quilts have been accessioned.  $ 668 would enable us to procure the remaining objects. 

Home quilt to be accessioned
Home quilt to be accessioned
Artisans study the collections
Artisans study the collections
Kuvarben with her inspiration
Kuvarben with her inspiration

Links:


Attachments:
Apr 16, 2012

KR MUSEUM ADDS COLLECTIONS THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING

New accession Ahir ghodiyun
New accession Ahir ghodiyun

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM ACCESSIONS COLLECTIONS

PURCHASED WITH SUPPORT FROM GLOBAL GIVING

"The Kala Raksha Museum has shown me my tradition!" Soyabbhai, class of 2011

 KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM

PROJECT REPORT 21 DECEMBER 2011- 14 APRIL 2012

Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation.  The Trust established an international quality 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.  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. Traditions embody the identity and heritage of a people. Increased appropriation of design intellectual property across cultures has resulted in a generic commercial ethnic look, as well as loss of knowledge of textile traditions.   Kala Raksha's challenge increasingly is to innovate within traditions, and to tell the story that makes cultural integrity more valuable. 

As the museum expands its collection into newer areas, and reaches out to new audiences, it extends its ability to do so.

ACCESSION OF NEW COLLECTIONS

This report coincides with closure of the Indian financial year. Thus we find an opportunity to reflect and examine the value in what we do.  Receiving funds ear marked for the Museum, since the posting of our project on Global Giving, has enabled us to focus on the Museum.  Consequently, the Museum has grown in the last year and a half.  Growth brings more opportunity and we look forward to using our rich new resources.

Two small collections of objects were identified after the last major accession, in March 2011: a collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses These were valued at RS 10,650 ($242) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively.  With the Global Giving December disbursement, which was received in February, we were able to purchase fourteen Eastern Kutch embroideries valued at RS 20,500 ($ 418). In addition, with funds received from Kandla Port Trust for use of museum images, we were also able to purchase thirteen blouses and two additional objects, valued at RS 20,250 ($ 413). 

           

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM FEATURED

ON THE KANDLA PORT 2012 CALENDAR

Kala Raksha's collections already enjoy exposure with our on-line facility.  This year, Kala Raksha was contacted by the Kandla Port, a Government of India undertaking in Kutch, to showcase twelve selected objects on their annual calendar.  Anticipating the book on Kutch embroideries on which we are working, we chose objects that illustrate the breadth of Kutch embroidery traditions. The large format calendar was released in January, and fees for the images extended our ability to accession new objects. 

 

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

One of the primary users of the Kala Raksha collections is the artisan student population of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya- as we originally envisioned!  This year's seven male weavers, block printers and bandhani artists, and eleven women embroiderers visited the museum during their colour course in January-February.  As always, the artisans were eager to see work from their own traditions in the context of a museum, where they were encouraged to examine and question.  Among the men we have observed in just six years a steady distancing of younger artisans from their traditions, largely resulting from focus on commercial markets.  Kala Raksha aims to re-introduce artisans with a new consciousness to the range and nuances of colour, pattern, and texture in traditional work.  During the men's session, Master Artisan advisors joined the program, sparking a lively discussion in which many questions could be immediately answered, and others remain as philosophical navigators.

Winter is our high visitation season.  During this period a number of individuals and groups visited the museum, including a group of curators and trustees from the Metropolitan Museum, the Rubin Museum, the Museum of American History, New York, led by Amy Poster and Graeme Hardy; a group of UK Professionals researching the "Cotton Story" under the guidance of Barney Hare Duke; Nevada Wier, National Geographic photographer.  Visitors came from Switzerland, UK, USA, Italy, France and all over India. 

Students and faculty from Pearl Academy of Fashion, Delhi, and interns from the Indian Institute of Craft and Design, Mumal Rathod and Shivranjani  Shekhawat, and volunteers from UK Bella Leonard, Sophie Gleeson and Lora Avedian utilized the museum for research.

 

BOOK RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries, which will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections, will resume in May, when two contributors will be in Kutch.  We are firming deadlines for January 2013.

KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA ARTISAN DESIGN INTERNS

The fourth group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns began their term in March.  The interns comprise Damyantiben Shankar (2008) suf embroiderer, Sajnuben Pachan (2010) Devalben Pachan (2008), and Jivaben Rana (2011), all Dhebaria Rabari embroiderers, and Hariyaben Uttam (2009) patchwork and applique artist. The women will do art to wear jackets for the USA market.  Damyantiben and Hariyaben created new work for the March Mumbai exhibition, based on museum holdings.

The Mumbai exhibition, Comforters, highlighted tradition as one realm from which we derive comfort.  Kuvarben's cushion cover based on a museum piece, was used for the invitation and, as predicted, the heritage collections did very well.  In spite of having recently shown in Mumbai, Kala Raksha enjoyed brisk sales.  Good design based in timeless traditions is our simple, solid formula.

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 cannot 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 reactivate our museum work. In the past year and a half, we have been able to focus on the Museum.  It has paid off, and we are grateful.  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: GEE'S BEND IN INDIA?

Along with our Mumbai show, Kala Raksha held a special event: Art to Heart, the first professionally curated sale of contemporary artisans' home quilts. To raise capital for a new Medical relief fund, Kala Raksha drew on traditional and scholarly knowledge of Kutch textile traditions, and requested our artisans to return to their hearts and homes.  Art to Heart was the ultimate self-help project, in which artisans gave their most intimate household possessions: the quintessential comforters, made from memories of family and home.  Fortunately, enough quilts sold to raise the capital required.  Perhaps even more fortunate, Kala Raksha still has the majority of the collection.  Reflecting on the Gee's Bend story, we began to realize the value of the collection.  The quilts are an anomaly in the known textile traditions of Kutch. Made purely for the family, they reflect the artisan's spontaneous sensibility: simple, bold and intuitive in design, but with the finest workmanship invested in the quilting-- the hand, which artisans highly value. 

 These humble quilts were easily available.  But the way that our artisans hesitated to sell them now speaks volumes.  Today there is no time, and little patience for such work.  Artisans doubt whether they can do these quilts again.  So, we will keep this wonderful collection as an inspiration.  It still needs to be purchased.  RS 45,000 ($ 918) would fulfill this wish list item!  

Museum visit w Master Advisors
Museum visit w Master Advisors
Kuvarben
Kuvarben's cushion
R-60 Rabari gharanu from KR Museum
R-60 Rabari gharanu from KR Museum
Hasuben with home quilts
Hasuben with home quilts
Babraben
Babraben's home quilt

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Organization

Project Leader

Judy Frater

Ms
Kutch, Gujarat India

Where is this project located?

Map of Expanding museum for women artisans of Kutch India