Mar 19, 2019

Somaiya Kala Vidya Launches the Class of 2019!

Nanjibhai, a weaver, presents basic design work
Nanjibhai, a weaver, presents basic design work

Somaiya Kala Vidya Launches the Class of 2019!

“We learned by doing. I can understand more when I do it practically. I’m already anticipating what is next to learn.” ~ Nitin Haresh Kudecha, SKV Class of 2019

Somaiya Kala Vidya is an institution for traditional artisans of Kutch, India. Combining over fifty years' experience of Somaiya Vidyavihar with ten years of design education for artisans, it offers sustained, coherent programs in design and business to provide effective, relevant and practical education. SKV honors and incorporates existing traditions. Its advisors are Master Artisans. Its faculty are professional educators. SKV offers workshops to the world and courses in craft traditions taught by artisan designers. Artisan-to-Artisan Outreach programs and Co-Design Collaborations demonstrate the importance of education for artisans, and generate awareness and motivation to build a movement of Design Craft.

EDUCATION FOR ARTISANS

DESIGN FOR ARTISANS COURSE 2019

Education for artisans is SKV's reason for being. The class of 2019 began their design education journey with an orientation workshop on 3 January 2019. Orientation practically lets the students know that this is not a school like those they have known, and breaks the ice so that they can comfortably begin with the content of the course. Program Coordinator Pallavi Gaur led the students through games that taught teamwork, time management, values, and speaking up. The class of 2019 declared that they admire people who help others,who share, who stand on their own feet, who speak honestly,who can mix with others of all backgrounds and ages, and who are fair.

Course 1- Colour: Sourcing from Heritage and Nature

Course 1, taught by National Institute of Design graduate and Visiting Faculty Anjani Kumar, was held from 14 -26 January 2019. The students learned to paint, mix colours, create and understand a colour wheel. Then they did it all over practically, dyeing fabric and yarns in the colour wheel colours. They learned about heritage from our master artisan Advisors, and sketched and painted on a nearby beach.

“Colour is important. This will be useful my whole life.” ~Ibrahim Abdulsattar Khatri.

“I thought we were going on a field trip. But we observed colours in nature and everything.” ~Ramesh Bala Vankar.

“No one would teach us dyeing; I learned it here.” ~Nanji Karamshi Marvada

Everything was new. Now I can make new colour schemes.” ~Tosif M.Yusuf Khatri

“I used to see blue; now I see variations.” ~Mohinudin Haroon Rashid Khatri

“I learned the value of a story, a theme.” ~ Bharat Vershi Jepar

 

Course 2- Basic Design: Sourcing from Heritage and Nature

Course 2, taught by NID graduate and Visiting Faculty Priyanka Baliya, was held from 13-23 February. The students were introduced to elements of design, from dot to line to texture, learning by observing and drawing every morning, rubbing existing textures, and creating their own visual and tactile variations. Next, they learned principles, from movement to the Fibonacci sequence. Theory was put to practice in their respective media. The lights went on. They absorbed enthusiastically, and the final presentation was only topped by excellent homework illustrating many of the principles they had learned.

“Proportion and emphasis are useful.” ~Hamja Abdulmajid Khatri

Balance is the main thing.” ~Rizwan Abdulaziz Soneji

“We can find many principles in Ajrakh.” ~Yasin Abbdulsattar Khatri

“We used to make without consciousness. Most important is making layouts to save waste.” ~Imran Osman Khatri

“I liked working practically. It helped me understand what we learned.” ~Mohinudin Haroon Rashid Khatri

“It opened our eyes and our minds.” ~Jabbar Habib Khatri

“After colour class I thought colour is everything. Now I see there is so much more we can do to vary. After 20 years I learned this. I’m going to learn as much as I can.“ ~Ramesh Bala Vankar

 

Course 3- Market Orientation

Course 3, taught by veteran SKV Visiting Faculty Shwetha Shettar, began on 11 March and will continue through 23 March. After learning how they can vary their work, the students will learn why? For whom? The centerpiece of the course is a three-day field trip to Ahmedabad city to visit a range of shops and craft lovers homes. They will then learn to analyze their observations and think about cost and perceived value. To orient the class, Shwetha had them cook a meal for themselves, and the staff. They then had to cost the meal- including the huge amount of left overs. Thinking of planning and costing for other than their livelihood work enabled them to easily understand how they might have streamlined the task.

 

OUTREACH -BHUJODI TO BAGALKOT/ KUTCH TO KUMAON

Somaiya Kala Vidya Artisan-to-Artisan outreach programs share the benefits of artisan education. Artisan Designer graduates work with artisans in less exposed areas- as a kick-start to demonstrate that innovation in traditions, and design education are beneficial. During this period, SKV planned for the next phase of building independence in Bagalkot weavers, and beginning a design course for Kumaon weavers. Discussion is also proceeding for possible projects in Rajasthan and Ladakh. We booked a venue for a September exhibition of Outreach work in Hyderabad.

 

INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT & CO-DESIGN

SKV is happy to be at the forefront in developing co-design, a concept gaining interest in mainstream design institutes.

The results of the fourth round of our co-design project with University of Wisconsin Madison were dispatched and the fifth session will begin with a Skype introduction on 26 March. Two projects are planned with UWM this year- spring and fall.

Meanwhile, SKV and Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology launched an ambitious co-design project which will culminate in final projects for 25 final year Srishti students of textile, product and visual communication design. Fifteen SKV artisan designers are participating. The program began with workshops in weaving, bandhani, Ajrakh print, batik, and embroidery from 23 January through 5 February, to introduce the urban students with the crafts with which they will work as well as their artisan partners and the concept of co-design. The teams were formed, and brainstorming began. By now the teams are working toward their second jury for project concepts that range from product collections to mobile aps to books.

SKV makes an effort to develop the artisan designer community, and to continuously offer opportunities to develop new work. In this quarter, Prof. Chettiar and his team of seven SKV artisan designers worked on engineering craft for garments. The artisan designers had to make layouts on silhouette drawings and now will learn to translate these to patterns- a real life replication of what they learn in class!

 

SKV WORKSHOPS, COURSES,

--AND NOW OPEN STUDIO TOURS TO THE WORLD

Since its inception, SKV has been raising awareness and value for artisans' traditional knowledge and skills by conducting workshops and courses taught by artisan designer faculty. In this quarter we held five workshops: three in Ajrakh printing with natural dye, on 8-9 January, 22 January, and 18 February, one in weaving from 28 January through 1 February, and one in natural dyes in bandhani and Ajrakh from 6-10 March.

Prakash was incredibly patient as a teacher and a designer. He encouraged us to try new things and it was wonderful to see the variety of products appearing around the room.” ~ Marian L

In November 2017 SKV launched Open Studio Tours in Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur.

The 2018-19 season began on 27 October, and ended on 3 March. Five tours were conducted during this quarter. "The best part was the stories!" connecting with individuals and learning of their unique interpretations of traditions: contemporary traditions!

Workshops are scheduled on demand. Open Studio Tour dates will be scheduled for next season, but special tours can also be organized. Proceeds from both workshops and Open Studio tours support SKV

programs, insuring financial as well as cultural sustainability. For more information contact kalavidya@somaiya.org.

 

STAFF AND ALUMNI NEWS

For International Women’s Day, the SKV women graduates of 2018 attended two programs in Mumbai. At Ascend International School, Founder Director Judy Frater presented on the role of craft in sustainability, and the graduates explained their work in terms of sustainability. At The Magic Room in Sion, they presented their collections in a panel discussion on women joining the world of design. The women impressed both audiences with their poise and design expertise.

From 10-21 January, the SKV class of 2018 attended Dastkar’s Design Fair in Delhi. The experience in a new city was important, and sales were good.

Sustainable garments is a growing interest in SKV graduates. From 12-17 February, two graduates attended a rigorous workshop in basic garment construction taught by SKV visiting faculty Virendra Vegad.

In 4 March, 22 artisan designers attended a meeting to begin work on a design contest sponsored by Vishal Fabrics, Ahmedabad. In addition to the opportunity to create new collections, the contest offers an important experience in co-design among peers.

Founder Director Judy Frater presented 3 lectures on design education for artisans:

12 January 2019- Education for Artisans- Dakshinachitra International Seminar, Chennai

6 January 2019-Education for Artisans: Strengthening Regional Identity-R.K. CAMA Institute, Mumbai

27 December 2018- Education for Artisans: A Sustainable Future-at Institute for Rural Management Anand

On 28 February we bid farewell to Program Coordinator Pallavi Gaur. She is succeeded by Arun Singh, with an MA in Development from Azim Premji University and a B Chem from UP Textile Technology Institute, Kanpur.

SKV IN PRINT, OUTLOUD AND ONLINE

“Education for Artisans: A Sustainable Future for Craft Traditions, in https://www.cocoaandjasmine.com/the-craft-project, 4 March 2019

Browse the SKV website.

Learn more about our work on our facebook page.

For a discussion on issues of art and artisan, follow Judy Frater's blog

Find SKV on Instagram!

And on 6 July 2018, SKV began a YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnbxdYIe8v36eDHqmdEiFsg/featured?view_as=subscriber

We edited excerpts from our 2016 seminar on a decade of education for artisans, and uploaded three clips. This quarter, we uploaded an edited video of Kala Umang! 2018, and edited videos of our 2017 Artisan Designer seminar, “Coping with Copying,” and our 2018 seminar, “Who are the Workers?” The total on our channel is nine videos, all providing important insights on craft in Kutch today.

DESIGN CRAFT Association

Design Craft Association was formed to foster a community of artisan designers and offer them a presence and a platform. It provides artisan designers with a great opportunity to present their brands, under their own labels.

You can meet Design Craft artisans on the SKV website. We welcome you to log onto www.somaiya-kalavidya.org. Under Design Craft you will find a map, and a link to profiles of each artisan designer. A work of art in itself, the map with artisan designer logos is also available in hard copy.

2019 DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

12-14 September- SKV Exhibition, Artisan-to-Artisan Design 2019

17-20 October- SKV Exhibition -Design 2019, Ahmedabad

8 December- Kala Umang! 2019

 

SKV GOVERNING COUNCIL AND ADVISORS

SKV's Governing Council includes Shri Samir Somaiya, Amritaben Somaiya, Lt. Gen Jagbir Singh, Mitenbhai Sachade, Judy Frater, Anjana Somany, Lokesh Ghai, and Irfan Anwar Khatri.

The institute is also advised by a team of visionary Master Artisans, who guide us in honouring and nurturing textile traditions: Dr. Ismail Mohammed Khatri – Ajrakh artist, Ajrakhpur; Shyamji Vishramji Siju- weaver, Bhujodi; Ali Mohammed Isha -bandhani artist, Bhuj; Umar Farouk Khatri- bandhani artist, Bhadli; and Gulam Hussain Umar -bandhani artist, Bhuj.

THANKS TO GLOBALGIVING!

On 13 March 2017 SKV posted a project on GlobalGiving. GlobalGiving makes donation easy. To kick off our project, in March 2017 we met a challenge by raising US$ 6,563 from 43 donors. Today, 92 donors have raised $14,632—enough to fund an entire class of our sincere and talented artisan students. This greatly encourages Somaiya Kala Vidya and increases our visibility immensely.

During the period December 2018-March-2019, our project raised $1,145- enough for a scholarship for one student of 2019!

Thank you GlobalGiving!

LOOKING AHEAD

We are now halfway through the third of six courses for the class of 2019.

As awareness and concern make sustainability and co-design household words, each year more opportunities come to our growing cadre of artisan designers. Their capacity is increasing, and increasingly they are recognized. It is indisputable that design education makes a difference. Kutch artisan designers are the vanguards of contemporary craft traditions. We now look to insuring that there will be a market to value small production quality craft. Together we can insure a sustainable future for craft traditions.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”~Mahatma Gandhi

A Note on Names

A key goal of Somaiya Kala Vidya’s education for artisans programs is to bring visibility to unrecognized artisans. Our students and graduates are proud and happy to be recognized and have consented to have their names shared.

SKV Advisors discuss tradition with 2019 class
SKV Advisors discuss tradition with 2019 class
Ibrahimbhai presents his bandhani homework
Ibrahimbhai presents his bandhani homework
Srishti students batik workshop with Shakilbhai
Srishti students batik workshop with Shakilbhai
Open Studio Tour Bhujodi
Open Studio Tour Bhujodi
SKV Weaving workshop
SKV Weaving workshop

Links:


Attachments:
Dec 19, 2018

KALA UMANG! SKV Class of 2018 Graduates

The SKV Class of 2018, Graduated
The SKV Class of 2018, Graduated

KALA UMANG!

Somaiya Kala Vidya Class of 2018 Graduates!

“After the earthquake of 2001, we sold our traditional blocks. I didn’t know my Ajrakh tradition. At SKV I realized its value.” ~ Shokat Ayub Khatri, SKV Class of 2018

Somaiya Kala Vidya is an institution for traditional artisans of Kutch, India. Combining over fifty years' experience of Somaiya Vidyavihar with ten years of design education for artisans, it offers sustained, coherent programs in design and business to provide effective, relevant and practical education. SKV honors and incorporates existing traditions. Its advisors are Master Artisans. Its faculty are professional educators. SKV offers workshops to the world and courses in craft traditions taught by artisan designers. Artisan-to-Artisan Outreach programs and Co-Design Collaborations demonstrate the importance of education for artisans, and generate awareness and motivation to build a movement of Design Craft.

EDUCATION FOR ARTISANS

DESIGN FOR ARTISANS COURSE 2018

Education for artisans is SKV's reason for being. The class of 2018 began their design education journey on 15 January 2018. On 8 December 2018, the class graduated with our Kala Umang! program.

The gala annual Kala Umang! program began with lamp lighting and felicitation of Chief Guest Dr. Hitesh Bhatt, Director of the Institute for Rural Management Anand.

Compere Nilesh Priyadarshi set the tone by comparing literacy and education. After speeches by SKV faculty and graduates, students received their certificates, and annual awards were presented. K.J. Somaiya Gujarat Trust Chairman Samir Somaiya presented awards for Best Collection to Ajrakh artisan Vasim Khatri and bandhani artisan Taina Khatri.

Founder Director Judy Frater presented the award for Best Presentation to weaver Krishna Vankar. Fashion Show Special Guest Gautam Vazirani presented the award for Most Marketable collection to Ajrakh artist Sahid Khatri.

SKV Advisor Dr. Ismail Khatri presented the award for Most Promising Artisan to weaver Ashwin Khatri, Assistant Director DCH Bhuj presented the Jury Special Mention award to weaver Prashant Siju.

Somaiya Vidyavihar Secretary Lt. Gen. Jagbir Singh presented awards for Best Student to Ajrakh artisan Shokat Khatri and bandhani artisan Muskan Khatri.

Chief Guest Hitesh Bhatt, who even after assuming the role of Director at IRMA has continued to teach workshops to SKV students, spoke vigorously to an attentive audience about moving into the market and keeping in mind the importance of branding and marketing. Indeed, today’s new artisan designers are concerned with India’s concerted shifting from rural to urban life.

As dusk fell, the crowd swelled to nearly 5,000 anticipating the Kala Umang! Fashion Show. Gautam Vazirani, fashion curator at IMG Reliance, and leading voice in sustainable fashion in India, inaugurated the show. Choreographer Achla Sachdev surpassed herself with a flawless and entertaining show. Highlights were Vasim Khatri’s award winning Ajrakh saris on the theme Golden Moment, Krishna Vankar’s award winning weaving on the theme City Life, M. Husen’s bandhani collection on the theme Village Genius, City Amusement, Weaver Ramesh Vankar’s pristine City-Village, and bandhani artisan Taina Khatri’s award winning collection on the theme Of the Village.

OUTREACH -BHUJODI TO BAGALKOT/ KUTCH TO KUMAON

Somaiya Kala Vidya Artisan-to-Artisan outreach programs share the benefits of artisan education. Artisan Designer graduates work with artisans in less exposed areas- as a kick-start to demonstrate that innovation in traditions, and design education are beneficial. A highlight of this year’s Kala Umang! celebration was the first-time attendance of both of SKV’s Outreach partners: Jeevadara Ilkal weavers from Bagalkot, and Avani weavers from Kumaon. All of the weavers proudly walked with their collections in the fashion show grand finale.

Following the event, both groups spent the next day visiting with weaver designers of Bhujodi. The Bhujodi partners cooked a feast for all. Asked how this visit differed from their initial visit to Bhujodi in 2014, Danesh of Jeevadara said, “That time we could not understand anything. Now we are seeing with new eyes.” This is real education.

The Avani team spent two days more visiting weavers in Kotay, Varnora and Sarli, and sightseeing in Kutch. The pride the women felt in creating their own work was unmistakable. We look forward to the next phase of this project. And in the wings is a proposal for an Outreach project in Ladakh in 2019.

INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT & CO-DESIGN

SKV is happy to be at the forefront in developing co-design, a concept gaining interest in mainstream design institutes. The fourth round of our co-design project with University of Wisconsin Madison has reached the final design benchmark. After exchanging ideas on a mutually decided theme, 11 teams of artisan designers and design students finalized concepts, which the UWM students rendered on computer. The SKV participants will now reach produce their team’s two favorites.

On 20 September, SKV Founder Director Judy Frater, UWM Professor Jennifer Angus, UWM graduate Erica Hess, and Swinburne University Professor Katherine Bissett-Johnson presented the Co-Design program at The Textile Society of America symposium in Vancouver BC. From the presentation, SKV received an exciting offer to do a co-design project with artisans of Oaxaca Mexico this year. A proposal for a co-design project with Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology is also pending.

SKV makes an effort to develop the artisan designer community, and to continuously offer opportunities to develop new work. In this quarter, the project on upcycling and sustainability with Pearl Academy Mumbai reached a benchmark. As the project was driven by using upcycled synthetic yarn, two weavers finally agreed to weave fabric and Prof. Chettiar submitted it for the Circular Design Challenge of Lakme Fashion week. But thinking further on the artisan designers’ firm resistance to synthetics, and receiving financial support, he launched another exciting co-design project. Stay tuned for further developments.

SKV WORKSHOPS, COURSES --AND NOW OPEN STUDIO TOURS TO THE WORLD

Since its inception, SKV has been raising awareness and value for artisans' traditional knowledge and skills by conducting workshops and courses taught by artisan designer faculty. In this quarter we held four workshops: three in Ajrakh printing with natural dye, on 8-9 November, 19-21 November, and 9 December, and one in patchwork in applique on 17 November.

The tours and workshops were nothing short of spectacular. The ajrakh workshop was so far beyond anything I had anticipated-a total plunge into the fabric of the village.” ~Antonia, USA participant in Ajrakh workshop.

In November 2017 SKV launched Open Studio Tours in Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur.

The 2018-19 season began on 27 October. Tours have been conducted on October 27-28, November 17-18, and December 2-3.

Workshops are scheduled on demand. Open Studio Tour dates have been scheduled for the season, but special tours can also be organized. Proceeds from both workshops and Open Studio tours support SKV programs, insuring financial as well as cultural sustainability. For more information contact kalavidya@somaiya.org.

STAFF AND ALUMNI NEWS

Five Artisan Designers received World Crafts Council awards for excellence this year: Adil M. Khatri, Basir F. Khatri and Abdulla I. Khatri- all for bandhani, Juned I. Khatri for Ajrakh, and Dilip D. Kudecha for weaving.

Five Artisan Designers were juried into the 2019 International Folk Art Market|Santa Fe: Aziz and Taina Khatri, Basir F. Khatri for bandhani, Juned I. Khatri for Ajrakh, and Dahyalal A. Kudecha for weaving. In addition, two of our Advisors: Dr. Ismailbhai Khatri and Shyamjibhai Vishramji Siju were also juried into the prestigious show. And Adilbhai was shortlisted for the Lexus Design award.

On 20 October Founder Director Judy Frater presented on empowerment of artisans and on empowerment of women at the 50th anniversary symposium of Indians for Collective Action, Santa Clara, USA.

SKV IN PRINT, OUTLOUD AND ONLINE

Browse the SKV website.

Learn more about our work on our facebook page.

For a discussion on issues of art and artisan, follow Judy Frater's blog

Find SKV on Instagram!

And on 6 July 2018, SKV began a YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnbxdYIe8v36eDHqmdEiFsg/featured?view_as=subscriber

We edited excerpts from our 2016 seminar on a decade of education for artisans, and uploaded three clips to date. Up next: an edited video of Kala Umang! 2018.

During this quarter, Founder Director Judy Frater published two works:

“Closing the Power Gap Through Internet Technology: The Artisan View,” presented at the biannual Textile Society of America Symposium, Vancouver B.C. September 2018.

Co-written with Dr. Jana Hawley, “A Hand-Crafted Slow Revolution: Co-designing a New Genre in the Luxury World,” in Fashion Style and Popular Culture. Drexel University, Volume 5, No. 3, October 2018.

12 November 2018 SKV was mentioned in “Indians for Collective Action Honors Social Entrepreneurs,” in India Abroad.

DESIGN CRAFT Association

Design Craft Association was formed to foster a community of artisan designers and offer them a presence and a platform. It provides artisan designers with a great opportunity to present their brands, under their own labels.

You can meet Design Craft artisans on the SKV website. We welcome you to log onto www.somaiya-kalavidya.org. Under Design Craft you will find a map, and a link to profiles of each artisan designer. A work of art in itself, the map with artisan designer logos is also available in hard copy.

2019 DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

5-6- JanuaryOpen Studio Tour

18-19- January Open Studio Tour

2-3- February Open Studio Tour

2-3- March Open Studio Tour

12-14 September- SKV Exhibition, Artisan-to-Artisan Design 2019

17-20 October- SKV Exhibition -Design 2019, Ahmedabad

30 November- Kala Umang! 2019

SKV GOVERNING COUNCIL AND ADVISORS

SKV's Governing Council includes Shri Samir Somaiya, Amritaben Somaiya, V. Ranganathan, Mitenbhai Sachade, Judy Frater, Anjana Somany, Lokesh Ghai, and Irfan Anwar Khatri.

The institute is also advised by a team of visionary Master Artisans, who guide us in honouring and nurturing textile traditions: Gulam Hussain Umar -bandhani artist, Bhuj; Ali Mohammed Isha -bandhani artist, Bhuj; Umar Farouk Khatri- bandhani artist, Bhadli; Dr. Ismail Mohammed Khatri – Ajrakh artist, Ajrakhpur; and Shyamji Vishramji Siju- weaver, Bhujodi.

THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING!

On 13 March 2017 SKV posted a project on Global Giving. Global Giving makes donation easy. To kick off our project, in March 2017 we met a challenge by raising US$ 6,563 from 43 donors. Today, 85 donors have raised $13,497—enough to fund an entire class of our sincere and talented artisan students. This greatly encourages Somaiya Kala Vidya and increases our visibility immensely.

On 27 November 2018, Giving Tuesday, our project raised $1,765, a large proportion of which will be matched.

Thank you Global Giving!

LOOKING AHEAD

After a wonderful celebration in Kala Umang! 2018, graduates of the SKV Class of 2018 are well on their way to being successful artisan designers.

This week we will interview candidates for the class of 2019.

Over years, the cadre of Artisan Designers has grown, and now it is indisputable that design education makes a difference. Kutch artisan designers are the vanguards of contemporary craft traditions. We now look to insuring that there will be appropriate opportunities for artisan designers, and a market to value small production quality craft. Together we can insure a sustainable future for craft traditions.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”~Mahatma Gandhi

 

A Note on Names

A key goal of Somaiya Kala Vidya’s education for artisans programs is to bring visibility to unrecognized artisans.  Our students and graduates are proud and happy to be recognized and have consented to have their names shared.

Krishna receives the award for Best Presentation
Krishna receives the award for Best Presentation
M.Husen Khatri's collection on the ramp
M.Husen Khatri's collection on the ramp
Bhujodi to Bagalkot on the ramp
Bhujodi to Bagalkot on the ramp
Tainabanu on the fashion show ramp
Tainabanu on the fashion show ramp
Happy workshoppers
Happy workshoppers

Links:


Attachments:
Sep 14, 2018

SKV Class of 2018 Completes Course Work

SOMAIYA KALA VIDYA:

Class of 2018 Completes Course Work

 

PROJECT REPORT

15 June- 12 September 2018

 

 “I’m usually in my workshop; I don’t see the world. I came to SKV for exposure. 

The first two courses, Colour and Basic Design were difficult.  After that, everything was easy!”

~ Vasim Abbas Khatri, SKV Class of 2018

Somaiya Kala Vidya is an institution for traditional artisans of Kutch, India. Combining over fifty years' experience of Somaiya Vidyavihar with ten years of design education for artisans, it offers sustained, coherent programs in design and business to provide effective, relevant and practical education. SKV honors and incorporates existing traditions. Its advisors are Master Artisans. Its faculty includes national and international educators. SKV offers workshops to the world and courses in craft traditions taught by artisan designers. Artisan-to-Artisan Outreach programs and Co-Design Collaborations demonstrate the importance of education for artisans, and generate awareness and motivation to build a movement of Design Craft.

 

EDUCATION FOR ARTISANS

DESIGN FOR ARTISANS COURSE 2018

Education for artisans is SKV's reason for being. The class of 2018 began their design education journey on 15 January 2018. By now, we have completed all six courses, and the professional final jury for the year.

Course 2018-5 M- Finishing, Collection Development- 16-28 June 2018

Lokesh Ghai, design educator extraordinaire, taught the fifth course, Finishing, Collection Development. In this course, students learn to take their concepts to collections. The course begins with finishing- the quiet key to quality. Using local resources to teach hand and machine finishing, the course demonstrates a range of ways in which students can finish their products. This course also provides a practical experience of co-design. Participants from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda team with SKV students to develop collections. The caveat is that products must all be sustainable and production friendly, a constraint that encourages creativity. Students made layouts in full size to understand proportion and scale, and for homework they produce their collections.

Anas- “I learned to think of finishing in terms of my concept.”

Sahid- “I liked printing actual size on paper.”

Vasim- “From the full size layout, I understood how to make a sari.”

Course 2018-3 W- Finishing, Collection Development- 23 July- 4 August 2018

Also taught by Visiting Faculty Lokesh Ghai, the SKV women’s class learned hand and machine finishing, actual size layouts, and co-design methods. Lokesh had them push their boundaries, which in the end they realized took them to new levels. The MSU participants also learn from their experience. Nikita- “This was an experience other than that of industry.” Krishna- “We never had such practical experience in college!”

Hadika- I understood composition from the actual size layout.”

Krishna- I learned to make a collection, which motif goes with what.”

Muskan- “I learned to work with a free mind.”

Taina- “I had to work to distinguish myself from my father.”

Course 2018-6 M- Merchandising, Presentation- 6-18 August 2018

The final course of the year, Merchandising, Presentation, brings all learning of the year together. Guided by Shwetha Shettar, veteran Visiting Faculty, the students learned to create an identity, style and photograph their collections, and present visually and verbally. For the final presentation, family members as well as alumni came and shared feedback and experiences. Everyone was happy and proud with the results of a year of new experiences and hard work.

Darshan’s father- “He has done designs I did not do in 25 years!”

Ashwin’s brother- “Now he knows what weaving is; the value.”

Prashant’s brother- “The teaching here is relevant. It’s step by step and makes sense.”

Course 2018-4 W- Merchandising, Presentation- 27 August- 5 September 2018

Guided by Visiting Faculty Nita Thakore, the women also reviewed their year, learning to make brand identities, and style and photograph their collections. The difference was that they were also eager to model! Practicing to perfection, they also presented to a robust group of family and design graduates. Proud family members brought a few performances to tears of joy.

Krishna- “My USP is that I like to take up challenges.”

Muskan-I was happy to be able to make in bandhani what I did in layouts.”

Hadika-The course broadened my horizons. I did what I thought wasn’t possible. I learned to value my tradition: bandhani.”

FINAL JURY

Following the women’s course, SKV held its final professional jury at Quality Inn Palms, Adipur. This year’s panel included Asaf Ali, Co-Founder of Kashmir Loom Company; Deepa Krishnan, Founder, Mumbai Magic and member of National Task Force for Handlooms; Swasti Singh Ghai, Senior Faculty National Institute of Design; and Devayani Vaish, Design Manager, Textiles, Fabindia. The jury provided invaluable feedback that students will now implement before producing their collections for their Ahmedabad exhibition.

SKV Artisan Designer Seminar

The evening of the first jury day, SKV held its annual seminar. The seminar is an opportunity for artisan designers to openly discuss among themselves and with the jury issues they face. This year, the topic was, “Who Are the Workers?” With the push for scaled up production in the craft world, the egalitarian structure of artisan societies is challenged. As artisans transform from job workers to artisan designers and entrepreneurs through the SKV education program, they need people to work for them.  Assuming that few people prefer to do job work, who then are the workers?  The program began with a creative drama by a group of artisan designers. A lively discussion covered issues of growth, relations with workers- and among themselves, and much more. Surely craft is about so much more than money.

OUTREACH -BHUJODI TO BAGALKOT/ KUTCH TO KUMAON

Somaiya Kala Vidya Artisan-to-Artisan outreach programs share the benefits of artisan education. Artisan Designer graduates work with artisans in less exposed areas- as a kick-start to demonstrate that innovation in traditions, and design education are beneficial. Our flagship project with weavers in Bagalkot, Karnataka, Bhujodi to Bagalkot, completed its fifth year, and we excitedly began a new project with women weavers in Kumaon, Uttarakhand this year.

Both groups, with their Bhujodi weaver designer mentors took their new collections to Chennai for an exhibition from 6-8 September 2018. For the second year, the show was held at Amethyst’s Folly hall. The Bagalkot weavers formally launched their Jeevadara label, and all artisans presented their collections in daily programs. Despite competition with another popular show during the same period, sales were good. Having learned from last year, the Bhujodi weaver designers put special effort into developing new collections based on their experiences. One objective of the program is to provide opportunities that insure that artisan designer continue to create new work. It paid in dividends, as the new work was very well received. The biggest learnings are the need to focus on using colour stories well, and that stoles are less popular than dupattas in an exhibition of predominantly saris.

 INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT & CO-DESIGN

SKV makes an effort to develop the artisan designer community. Periodically we offer workshops to insure that artisan designers continue to grow. On 22 July and 5 August, SKV offered a two-part portfolio development workshop, taught by Lokesh Ghai. Seven participants learned the basics of online portfolios. In two weeks they each put together a new collection, and had it professionally photographed. In part two, they uploaded portfolios on the website Behance. This is the beginning of more professional sharing of work.

Opportunities are key; that was one point that emerged from our seminar on scale. SKV was happy to receive two opportunities in this quarter, a project on upcycling and sustainability with Pearl Academy Mumbai, and the fourth round of Co-Design with University of Wisconsin Madison. The robust response for participants proves our point. We selected sixteen artisan designers to begin the upcycling project. Pearl Faculty Amala Chettiar came to Kutch to kick off the project. Initially the brief was to use recycled plastic in craft. Mr. Chettiar was surprise, and then delighted that the group firmly refused. “Plastic would devalue our work,” Tulsiben told him. Digging a bit more, he realized that upcycling is not a new concept in craft at all; it is a way of life. Each of the participants had ample examples of how he or she always finds a creative way to use damaged pieces -because they value their materials and work. So this should be a two-way learning experience.

SKV is happy to be at the forefront in developing co-design, a concept gaining interest in mainstream design institutes. The fourth co-design project with University of Wisconsin Madison will begin on 29 October. SKV Founder Director Judy Frater and UWM Professor Jennifer Angus co-designed a project that should improve on last year’s. Ten UWM students are enrolled. Twenty-five artisan designers applied from SKV. The Selection Committee will now select from the list.

SKV WORKSHOPS, COURSES,

--AND NOW OPEN STUDIO TOURS TO THE WORLD

Since its inception, SKV has been raising awareness and value for artisans' traditional knowledge and skills by conducting workshops and courses taught by artisan designer faculty.

In November SKV launched Open Studio Tours in Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur.

Though Open Studio Tours have finished for the season, we had a special request from an international project to learn about Kutch textile traditions. On 19-20 August, we took the Russian-German-French and Indian team to visit studios in Ajrakhpur and Bhujodi. The artisan designer team is now seasoned and gave an excellent tour, which was videoed for the project. As a bonus, Dr. Ismailbhai Khatri took us all to Nani Banni to visit the original maldhari Ajrakh clients. Sadly, not one was wearing Ajrakh! Sobering signs of the times.

Our next Open Studio Tour season will begin on 27 October. Workshops are arranged on demand. Proceeds from both workshops and Open Studio tours support SKV programs, insuring financial as well as cultural sustainability. For more information contact pallavi.kalavidya@somaiya.org.

STAFF AND ALUMNI NEWS

From 13-15 July, Artisan Designer Abdulaziz Alimamad Khatri participated for the fourth time in the International Folk Art Market| Santa Fe. His excellent bandhani is very well received, and for the second time he got an order from Donna Karan. On 10 June, Adilbhai and Purshottambhai were both invited to present their life stories as inspiration for Josh Talks. Purshottambhai’s talk was uploaded on YouTube on 2 August. It has already received thousands of views!

On 9 August, Founder Director Judy Frater presented SKV’s work at the launch of Social Venture Partners in Ahmedabad. We hope to be able to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with SVP.

SKV IN PRINT, OUTLOUD AND ONLINE

Browse the SKV website.

Learn more about our work on our facebook page.

For a discussion on issues of art and artisan, follow Judy Frater's blog

Find SKV on Instagram!

And on 6 July 2018, SKV began a YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnbxdYIe8v36eDHqmdEiFsg/featured?view_as=subscriber

We edited excerpts from our 2016 seminar on a decade of education for artisans, and uploaded three clips to date.

On 21 June 2018, SKV’s workshops and Open Studio Tours were featured at ClothRoads. https://www.clothroads.com/indian-artisans-and-design-education/

We were also fortunate to have articles on our event in Chennai written in three newspapers:

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/threads-of-life/article24868615.ece

http://www.indulgexpress.com/fashion/trends/2018/sep/07/the-fifth-edition-of-skvs-bhujodi-to-bagalkot-will-feature-the-works-of-weavers-from-kutch-bagalko-9988.htm

DESIGN CRAFT

The Somaiya Agencies' innovative business to complement SKV's educational programs, Design Craft, offers a juried selection of artisan designed and created textiles, bringing the best in contemporary craft to one platform. It provides artisan designers with a great opportunity to present their brands, under their own labels, and it will fund SKV's education for traditional artisans with the profits from sales. Currently, 69 artisan designers are represented.

You can meet the Design Craft artisans on the SKV website. We welcome you to log onto www.somaiya-kalavidya.org. Under Design Craft you will find a map, and a link to profiles of each artisan designer. A work of art in itself, the map with artisan designer logos is also available in hard copy.

Design Craft's flagship shop is located in Somaiya Bhavan, 45-47, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Post Box No.384, Fort, Mumbai. Phone: +91-22 61702273.

2018 DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

27 October 2018- SKV Open Studio Tours begin- Contact SKV for detail

1-4 November 2018- SKV Design Class 2018 collections exhibition, Ahmedabad

8 December 2018- Kala Umang! 2018- Convocation and Fashion show, Kutch

SKV GOVERNING COUNCIL AND ADVISORS

SKV's Governing Council includes Shri Samir Somaiya, Amritaben Somaiya, V. Ranganathan, Mitenbhai Sachade, Judy Frater, Anjana Somany, Lokesh Ghai, and Irfan Anwar Khatri.

The institute is also advised by a team of visionary Master Artisans, who guide us in honouring and nurturing textile traditions: Gulam Hussain Umar -bandhani artist, Bhuj; Dr. Ismail Mohammed Khatri - block printer, Ajrakhpur; Shyamji Vishramji Siju- weaver, Bhujodi; Umar Farouk Khatri- bandhani artist, Bhadli; and Ali Mohammed Isha -bandhani artist, Bhuj.

THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING!

On 13 March 2017 SKV posted a project on Global Giving. Global Giving makes donation easy. To kick off our project, in March 2017 we met a challenge by raising US$ 6,563 from 43 donors. Today, 76 donors have raised $11,735—enough to fund an entire class of our sincere and talented artisan students. This greatly encourages Somaiya Kala Vidya and increases our visibility immensely.

On Global Giving’s 18 July 2018, Matching Day we raised $ 1,900. Our Global Giving account was set up in 2016 by Claire Gohorel, who interned with SKV before doing a Craft Traditions Course. This August, Claire married her sweetheart and asked friends and family to donate to SKV in lieu of wedding gifts. We received over USD 600!

Thank you Global Giving, and thank you, Claire!

LOOKING AHEAD

The class of 2018 has completed an arduous and fruitful year of design education. This weekend they will attend a workshop on production management, and produce their final collections for an exhibition/sale in Ahmedabad in November. We are sure that they are well on their way to being successful artisan designers.

Design education makes a difference. As our cadre of Artisan Designers grows, SKV looks to insuring that there will be an appropriate opportunities for them, and a market to value small production quality craft. Together we can insure a sustainable future for craft traditions.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”~Mahatma Gandhi

The SKV men's class of 2018- classwork done!
The SKV men's class of 2018- classwork done!
Tainabanu's final presentation course 5
Tainabanu's final presentation course 5
Rameshbhai final presentation for family course 6
Rameshbhai final presentation for family course 6
Krishna final presentation for family course 6
Krishna final presentation for family course 6
M. Husen presents to the professional jury
M. Husen presents to the professional jury

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