Expanding museum for women artisans of Kutch India

 
$2,670
$22,330
Raised
Remaining
Dec 27, 2011

KR Research Project on Rabari Ornaments

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM PROJECT REPORT 25 AUGUST- 20 DECEMBER 2011
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. One aim is to revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration.  

As artisans are inspired by the collections, they also contribute important information to make the collections much more valuable.  During this period, artisan involvement went both ways.

MAJOR RESEARCH PROJECT ON RABARI ORNAMENTS

Last year Thomas Seligman, Director of the Iris & B Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts in Stanford California, was so inspired by the ornament collection in the Kala Raksha Museum that he planned to return to Kutch to work with Kala Raksha in documenting Rabari ornaments.  In November, he conducted research with assistance from Curator Judy Frater for two weeks.  Dr. Seligman's expertise is in the ornaments of nomadic Tuarag people of Africa.  He wanted to compare the relationship between ornament makers and users in India to try to trace common origins.  

It all began with a Rabari anklet, which struck Dr. Seligman as very similar to one worn by Tuareg women. When he saw the same anklet in the Kala Raksha museum, he requested assistance in a research project.  His museum approved funds and he arrived in November 2011.

Dr. Seligman interviewed goldsmiths and documented their working methodology.  Museum objects are fully useful only when documentation accompanies the object.  The research provided an opportunity to refine the documentation existing in the Kala Raksha collections.  But Dr. Seligman found no information on origins or relationships with Rabari clients, the topic of his research.

Finally, when he returned to the Kala Raksha museum, he met with some of the Kala Raksha Rabari artisans from Bhopani Vandh village.  He showed them his book from the Kala Raksha library, and that initiated relating of the origin stories he was seeking.  The direct link to authentic information has always been the strength of Kala Raksha's museum collections. The artisans were able to provide important ethnological information that will enrich Kala Raksha's collections as well as Dr. Seligman's research. 

ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS

Dr. Seligman's research project provided another important benefit to the Kala Raksha Museum.  In thanks for the assistance we provided, he funded the accessioning of an important collection of Dhebaria Rabari ornaments.  Kala Raksha holdings include a complete set of Kachhi Rabari ornaments.  In 1995, Dhebaria elders banned all but a very few of the traditional Dhebaria Rabari ornaments.  Kala Raksha has wished to accession a companion complete collection of Dhebaria ornaments before the styles are forgotten.  With Dr. Seligman's support, we accessioned a major portion of the Dhebaria Rabari collection.  These in turn will be very useful for future research.  Some of the objects had previously been in use in the Kachhi Rabari community as well.  The Vandh artisans were so happy to see these traditional pieces that they each requested a portrait wearing the ornaments.

BOOK RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries continues.  The book will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections. Research on Ahir embroidery is nearly complete. Work on eastern Kutch embroideries will resume early next year.

KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA ARTISAN DESIGN INTERNS

The third group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns has completed their term. Their collection of museum inspired bags was submitted in Kala Raksha's application to the 2012 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. Meanwhile, the collection has received a good response in the Indian domestic market.

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.  We have realized our first goal in expanding our collections and installing our second virtual exhibition!  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 Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier,” Maryann Sadagopan, Global Giving donor.

THE NEXT PHASE

We look forward to adding to the Dhebaria Rabari ornament collection, which has finally been started.  We are also excited to complete the field work stage of our book on Kutch embroidery traditions and begin editing for publication with a highly respected publisher.  $795 would enable the final research to be carried out.
Two small collections of objects identified earlier:  an additional collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses are still on our wish list.  These are valued at RS 10,650 ($242) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively.  

Having renovated our Museum Exhibition, we wish to revise our catalogue, which will make the exhibition information available to interested people throughout the world.  $1,000 would make publishing a new catalogue possible.

Aug 22, 2011

KR MUSEUM RENOVATES EXHIBITION GALLERY

Artisans visit the new gallery
Artisans visit the new gallery

KR MUSEUM COMPLETES RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM PROJECT REPORT 28 MAY - 25 AUGUST 2011

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. One aim is to revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration.

RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY

Renovation of the Museum Exhibition Gallery was completed in July 2011. National Institute of Design exhibition designer Mayank Loonker designed and installed the panels and objects. Kala Raksha coordinators Lachhuben and Rajabhai created the life sized doll mannequins and camel. The exhibition introduces the viewer to the concept of embroideries as languages, and guides him/her to understand traditional embroideries in their cultural context through key questions.

What did the embroideries express? Why did women embroider? How did they use embroidered pieces? What are embroidery styles? How else did women decorate themselves?

An LCD screen extends the exhibition with unlimited flexibility, and enables interactive programs in the gallery. Kala Raksha seeks a film maker to produce a brief introduction to Kala Raksha's work for the gallery. Current films that can also be shown include The Kala Raksha Story, Needlecraft, Artisans Design! And Tanko Bole Chhe (The Stitches Speak). Renovation was funded by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Government of India, and the DCH will be officially open the new gallery on 6 September. Our museum presentation is more appealing than ever. Added to the freshly painted campus, this will make winter 2011-12 the ideal time to visit Kala Raksha!

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

During this period, four groups of five to twenty people each, and eighty individual tourists visited the museum. Our visitors came from the UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad. Noted guests included Anshuman Saikia, from UTV Bindass, M. Oumar Diop from the African Union Commission, Rekha Udit, from Womens International Network, New Delhi. Twenty students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology Mumbai came with their faculty, and a group of artisan and staff from SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre, Ahmedabad visited. Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site, and some research inquires. Our second online exhibition: INNOVATION: REPURPOSE, RE-INVENT, RECYCLE, received many compliments and good wishes.

RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries continues. The book will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections. During this period, researchers working on Ahir and eastern Kutch embroideries utilized our collections and library extensively, as well as conducted field work. Kimberly DaCosta, a student from Srishti School of Art Design and Technology began her diploma project with Kala Raksha in July 2011. She is working on recycling and "up-cycling" of waste materials. She began with a study of quilts in the Kala Raksha museum collection and research in our library.

KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA ARTISAN DESIGN INTERNS

Two phrases we hear all too often are: "We want something that is not so ethnic" and "We want to take the skills and make the work contemporary." To us this sounds like people who want to like craft, but then again want to eliminate its character. Craft IS ethnic! It is hand art, the expression of an ethnic culture. Ethnic is precisely its character and its beauty. This is not to say that craft should not change. Traditions always evolve. The challenge that Kala Raksha has taken is to update traditional objects to fit contemporary life, without eradicating their essential identity. The good news is that at Kala Raksha the products with cultural integrity- that draw their strength from their ethnic traditions- are the ones that have lasted in the market! In May, the third group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns made a collection of stunning Art to Wear jackets for the American market. The jackets combined traditions studied in the Museum with new concepts. The collection was purchased by the Peabody Essex Museum shop in Salem, Massachusetts in June. The next intern collection is motivated by application to the 2012 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. In August, Lakhiben, Monghiben, Kuverben, Jivaben and Varshaben all studied kothalo, batuva, gadi, and bokani in the collections of the Kala Raksha Museum and began creating purses, bags, cushion covers and table runners based on the objects. We are confident that it will be a winning collection.

ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS

In the June 2011 disbursement from Global Giving, the Kala Raksha Museum received $230. This was utilized to accession a collection of six Ahir embroideries that will support the research on our embroidery book. Four new books were accessioned in this period, including a gift from Thomas Seligman, Director of the Iris & B Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts in Stanford California, who was so inspired by the ornament collection in the Kala Raksha Museum that he plans to return to Kutch to work with Kala Raksha in documenting Rabari ornaments. An out of print copy of Dowries from Kutch was also gifted to the Museum library. 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 realize our first goal in expanding our collections and installing our second virtual exhibition! 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 Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier,” Maryann Sadagopan, Global Giving donor.

THE NEXT PHASE

We look forward to finishing the Heritage Collection samples and submitting them to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. We are also excited to complete the field work stage of our book on Kutch embroidery traditions and begin editing for publication with a highly respected publisher. $795 would enable the final research to be carried out. As the priority for accessions shifted to support research on Ahir embroidery, the two small collections of objects identified earlier: an additional collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses are still on our wish list. These are valued at RS 10,650 ($242) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively. Having renovated our Museum Exhibition, we wish to revise our catalogue, which will make the exhibition information available to interested people throughout the world. $1,000 would make publishing a new catalo

what did embroideries express?
what did embroideries express?
What are embroidery styles?
What are embroidery styles?
Artisan designed jacket
Artisan designed jacket
A wedding batuva from collection
A wedding batuva from collection
Varsha making a batuva from inspiration
Varsha making a batuva from inspiration

Links:


Attachments:
May 27, 2011

KR MUSEUM SUPPORTS Major Documentation Project

Vagadia rabari purse accessioned for exhibiton
Vagadia rabari purse accessioned for exhibiton

KR MUSEUM SUPPORTS MAJOR DOCUMENTATION PROJECT KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM PROJECT REPORT 3 APRIL – 27 MAY 2011 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. One aim is to revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration. VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS An American student from the School for International Studies did research for her independent project. During this period, 10 buyers and tourists also visited the Museum. Happily, several were on reccees, and promise to bring groups in the cooler months. Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site, and as we launched our second online exhibition: INNOVATION: REPURPOSE, RE-INVENT, RECYCLE, we received many compliments and good wishes. RESEARCH The accessioning of a significant collection of eastern Kutch textiles coincided serendipitously with the short sabbatical of an excellent researcher, and the acceptance of a proposal to publish a book on Kutch embroideries. During this period, the researcher utilized our collections and library extensively, and began field work. The project promises to bring exciting breakthrough information on the wonderful textiles of this little known region of Kutch, which will greatly enhance our Museum collections and make for an important publication. DESIGN INTERNS The National Institute of Fashion Technology intern Smita Srivastava and Richika Pallavi completed their project. KRV Project Director Judy Frater was a member of the jury panel for their final exhibition. The jury most appreciated the quality of traditional work, which was supported by research for artisans and designer alike in the museum The third group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns have completed the first round of Art to Wear jackets, which will be shown at the Surface Design Association conference in Minneapolis June 9-12. They successfully combined traditions studied in the Museum with new concepts, to make stunning unique garments. RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY Renovation of the Museum Exhibition Gallery is nearly complete. In May, National Institute of Design exhibition designer Mayank Loonker made two visits to install the panels and objects. Only the handmade mannequins and camel remain. The addition of an LCD screen will extend the exhibition with unlimited flexibility, and enable interactive programs in the gallery. The renovation has professionalized our museum presentation tremendously. Added to the freshly painted campus, this will make winter 2011-12 the ideal time to visit Kala Raksha! ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS Renovation of the museum exhibition required changes in display Consequently Kala Raksha purchased two new objects for the exhibition. Five new books were accessioned in this period, including Nina Sabnani’s Stitching Stories: The Art of Embroidery in Gujarat. Kala Raksha is featured in this charming children’s book. “Stitching Stories” is an adaption of Nina Sabnani’s animated film “Tanko Bole chhe,” which recently won its eight award: “The Stellar Selections Animation award” at Black Maria Film Festival at Cornell Cinema. 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 realize our first goal in expanding our collections and installing our second virtual exhibition! 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 Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier,” Maryann Sadagopan, Global Giving donor. THE NEXT PHASE We look forward to showcasing our Art to Wear collection at the Surface Design Association meetings in Minneapolis June 9-12. We are also excited to conduct the final phase of documentation of Kutch embroidery traditions and begin editing our documentation for publication with a highly respected publisher. $795 would enable the final research to be carried out. Two more small collections of objects have been identified for accession: an additional collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses. These are valued at RS 16,650 ($378) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively. With the renovation of our Museum Exhibition, we wish to revise our catalogue, which will make the exhibition information available to interested people throughout the world. $1,000 would make publishing a new catalogue possible.

Panel for new exhibiton
Panel for new exhibiton
Vagadia Rabari woman in traditional dress
Vagadia Rabari woman in traditional dress
Work on Exhibition
Work on Exhibition

Links:


Attachments:
Apr 4, 2011

KR MUSEUM ACCESSIONS MAJOR COLLECTION!

Khetuben views new accessions
Khetuben views new accessions

KR MUSEUM ACCESSIONS MAJOR COLLECTION WITH DONATIONS FROM GLOBAL GIVING! KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM PROJECT REPORT 11 DECEMBER 2010- 2 APRIL 2011

“We would forget these things if not for the Museum,” Khetuben Rana, Artisan

THE KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM IN ACTION

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. One aim is to revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration. During this period, 17 Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya artisan design students, 2 National Institute of Fashion Technology students, 5 professional designers, and 30 Kala Raksha Artisans actively utilized our collections to develop craft products with cultural integrity. Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya began its course in design for traditional artisans with a field trip to the Kala Raksha Museum. The course encourages artisans to innovate within their traditions; for that, recognizing and supporting the unique features of those traditions is key. The opportunity to examine original pieces becomes more important with time. Even in five years, we have seen that young artisans no longer have access to traditions. “I have been with KR so many years but this was a new experience,” Miraben. One unique feature of the school is that young and older artisans study together. The visit to the museum is a catalyst for elders to explain the traditions. In the men’s colour class this year, we combined a discussion with master artisans and the museum field trip for the first time. As the students were examining textiles in the museum, the elders arrived. They listened to the discussion. “We should take this course, too!” Dr. Ismail Khatri KRV Advisor. Continuing with our museum mobilization program, sponsored by the Government of India Development Commissioner Handicrafts, in February we held the final workshop to develop products inspired by the museum collections. Ninoshka Alvares, a Mumbai based professional designer, conducted the workshop in the Kala Raksha Museum. Thirty artisans from three ethnic communities worked on garments and accessories that combined patterns that Ninoshka developed from museum objects and the artisans own motifs created during their studies at the Vidhyalaya. Serendipitously, no sooner was the workshop over than Kala Raksha was invited to participate in the Ahmedabad Fashion week on 14 February. Although the lead time was just a week, we happened to be ready. As only can happen in India, we got the new products and an artisan designer to the ramp in time to steal the show! “Kala Raksha’s was the best collection this year!” Prateek, Senior Designer Hutheesingh Designs. The Museum brought a few unexpected benefits to interns in the last few months. Craig Delphine, pattern maker from Australia came to help Kala Raksha solve the problem of sizing of garments once and for all. To everyone’s amazement, there seem to be no standard sizes so far in India. After pondering the situation and trying as many angles as we could think of, Craig finally went to the museum. Studying the traditional garments there, he realized that in Indian garment construction, fitting was achieved in simple, straight cuts. This changed his entire strategy for sizing. He went on to teach pattern making to the Kala Raksha tailoring team. In a second project, National Institute of Fashion Technology intern Smita Srivastava was getting stuck in designing recycled quilts for her diploma project. Her designs were too complicated to be sustainably produced by local artisans. A study of traditional quilts in the Kala Raksha Museum collections gave her the direction she needed to design appropriate to artisans and market. As the final touches were put on this report, we began the third group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns, who studied some of the new books in the library and our permanent collections to begin a collection of Art to Wear jackets for the Surface Design Association meetings in Minneapolis in June 2011. “We are not inspired til we see the fabric and threads!” Lakhiben, Kala Raksha Design Intern.

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

The end of the winter visitor season brought a variety of visitors to Kala Raksha. After last November’s visit from Creative Scotland’s 10 curators, Deborah May, daughter of one of the curators, spent ten days at Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. We introduced our museum and its activities to groups from Colorado State University and Kansas State University, and Austria, as part of workshops in traditional crafts. Jane McKeating, Director of Studies, Dept. of Design, Manchester Metropolitan University came to do research for a book on hand embroidery. She much appreciated the opportunity to browse the museum. Dr.Kevin Murray, professor, editor of Craft Unbound, and independent curator, came to discuss development of a code to assist craft collaborations that bridge the city and the village. This code will include basic ethical standards, complementing the Fair Trade system, as well as productive schemes for adding value through storied content. Early development will be conducted in association with Shop for Change. Academic visitors also included Liz Williamson, Head of School of Design, UNSW, Christine LoFaso, Professor, School of Art, Northern Illinois U. Textile artists Russ Mason of Toronto, Sheila Klein of Seattle, and Meghna Singh sponsored by Motiroti UK, spent time looking at our collections. Ashoka Foundation’s Devashri Mukherjee and Janet Visick visited Kala Raksha Center and Museum. In March, we hosted the textile students from the National Institute of Fashion technology in Gandhinagar and 40 students from Royal College of Art, UK. 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.

ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS

The most exciting activity of this period was additions to our collections, made possible by generous donations. With the donation from a November visitor, in January Kala Raksha had a large library cabinet custom made for our Museum. This doubles our book storage capacity, and we eagerly added seven new books on textiles and design, including Sui Dhaga: Embroidery in Asia, which has a chapter on Rabari concepts of design written by Judy Frater. With Global Giving’s Bonus Day on 16 March, 2011, Kala Raksha received $650, which was matched with $150. Added to an earlier match of $500 and a donation of $25, Kala Raksha received a total of $1,325 for our Museum. With these funds we were able to accession 49 new objects! From the objects which have been short listed for the Museum, we chose three collections: 19 embroideries from eastern Kutch, 18 Rabari embroideries, and 12 objects for our second online exhibition on recycling. All were professionally photographed, labeled and archivally housed. The eastern Kutch collection will be particularly useful in a documentation Kala Raksha is conducting on embroideries from that region. The Rabari collection adds to one of the strengths on the Kala Raksha collections. The 12 objects selected to enhance our second online exhibition complete a wish expressed in previous reports. This show will coincide with Earth Day, and an exhibition at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C: Second Lives: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles (www.textilemuseum.org). The online exhibition will open on 15 April 2011. Following is a preview:

INNOVATION: RE-PURPOSE, RE-INVENT, RE-CYCLE

Recycling is a very old idea. And India could well be the home of recycling. In India, nothing is thrown away. It is used again, and again, repurposed, reinvented, until finally the last bit of spirit floats away. Everything seems to be in a constant, flowing state of recycling. The motivation is a deep conviction to sustainability. The impressive aspect of the system is a sense of awareness and value for everything, and the ability to see things familiar as potentially something else. The world of art offers a special manifestation of value as catalyst for re-invention. Women artisans of Kutch have always highly valued the creativity and hard work of their embroideries—so much so, that they invest time and effort in prolonging the lives of much loved objects. In this exhibition we show five ways in which textile artists creatively innovate to give their work longevity.

RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY

Renovation of the Museum Exhibition Gallery is moving steadily along. In March, National Institute of Design exhibition designer Mayank Loonker visited the site to initate the final stage. The gallery was painted, bringing with it the opportunity to paint the entire campus for the first time since it was built in 1997. Water proofing of the roofs was an added bonus. Mayank has sent proofs for the first of the exhibition panels. With a few minor adjustments, the text panels will soon be ready. Objects will be re-mounted—including creating life sized dolls and a life sized camel. We will add an LCD screen to enable interactive programs in the gallery as well.

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 realize our first goal in expanding our collections and installing our second virtual exhibition! 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 Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier,” Maryann Sadagopan, Global Giving donor.

THE NEXT PHASE

We look forward to developing our Art to Wear collection, with inspiration from our collections. We are also excited to conduct the final phase of documentation of Kutch embroidery traditions and begin editing our documentation for publication with a highly respected publisher. $795 would enable the final research to be carried out. Two more small collections of objects have been identified for accession: an additional collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses. These are valued at RS 16,650 ($378) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively.

Miraben with Museum data base
Miraben with Museum data base
KRV class of 2011 at Museum
KRV class of 2011 at Museum
KRV interns in Museum
KRV interns in Museum

Attachments:
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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Funded

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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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