Project #10681

Design Education for Traditional Indian Artists

by Happy Hands Foundation
Group Leaders, enjoying an afternoon of work!
Group Leaders, enjoying an afternoon of work!

In a small urban village in New Delhi's Khanpur, 25 women trained with us for the last two months.

During the past 5 design workshops conducted, they have been able to weave new products using jute. 

In two more months of training, the women will be taught to manage and build their own enterprise as they get exposed to markets, July onwards.

In the past trainings, the following products were sampled by women:

a) Lampshades b) Toy-swings c) Pen Stands d) Jute Bags e) Jewellery

While the women have learnt the art of weaving jute, they still need to practice before marketing these products as the quality leaves much to be desired. 

What has been really special about this workshop, that the trainer, teaching the women, has been a participant at our earlier workshops, and is now an artisan who manages her own enterprise in Madhubani painting and Jutework. 

As a mentor for the women, she has proven how much difference it can make, to even impact one woman's life! 

We hope that with her guidance and mentorship, the women can truly learn and seek financial independence in the months to come. 

None of this would have been possible without your continued support - it is only with your encouragement that we have been able to reach out to these women, and offer them our support! We value your inputs and suggestions to our work - do share the success of our women with your friends and family, and join us in celebrating them! 

Creating Charms
Creating Charms

In the quiet district of Ponta Sahib (Himachal Pradesh), a small village - Bata Mandi was jostling with excitement the week we conducted a workshop. 

Six women were chosen for training and they would be developed as a Self Help Group, SHRAM in the days to come. 

Supported by Farm Fresh Foods Pvt Limited, these women collected scrap cloth from the local market along with other craft necessities. 

During the four day workshop, they were taught how to make:

a) Tissue paper holders     b) Earphone cases c) Ipad Sleeves d) Cushion Covers e) Hair Accessories

f) Rugs g) Jewellery h) Games

While the women possessed basic skills, a lot was left to be practiced and developed further. 

As they made Tissue Paper Holders, Ipad Sleeves and Earphone cases, they learnt how to measure and cut cloth, and quilt the same in the process. 

As they learnt how to make Cushion Covers using the technique of Applique, basic color combination was taught to them so they could create interesting motifs. 

Some of their works were exhibited in New Delhi through several craft melas - the response has been overwhelming, and supportive. A lot of feedback too, has been collected for the women. 

While we'd like to acknowledge your support and say "Thank You", we'd also like to express the need for your support to source at least two sewing machines for the women! This would help them sew better, create better, and sell better. As these women become self-reliant, we walk with them in their journey with YOU, and remain grateful for the distance you've traveled with us! We hope that you'd continue to love and encourage our work! 

The End Results!
The End Results!
Marking, Cutting, Sewing : Teamwork!
Marking, Cutting, Sewing : Teamwork!
The Delhi Exhibit makes news!
The Delhi Exhibit makes news!

Along the Puri-Bhubaneswar highway in Orissa, in a small village, seven women craftsmen tirelessly worked with five young people from an urban space, to learn, teach and grow for one month. 

Nearly a decade ago, the craft of coir was introduced in villages of Orissa to generate employment for women. Over the last three years, the craft has witnessed a continuous drop in sales, leading to women abandoning the craft itself. Moreover, there has been no innovation in process or design. 

Through the format of a Fellowship, our team trained seven women in new design production, using computers/technology, managing accounts and established marketing tie-ups for them across Delhi. These women would be instrumental in teaching the 100 other women in the village. 

18 new designs were developed including small items like Bookmarks, and home decor items such as Lamps.

It all began with demonstrations - where everyone became familiar with the craft of coir-toy making. Over the next few days, each fellow worked with each artist, and developed new designs which were subsequently implemented. 

Fellows worked with artists to also source additional raw material - colorful thread, beads, wires, and more. These were introduced to bring a decorative element to the otherwise plain craft of coir. 

After finishing production and creating a line of products, fellows helped the artists learn photography - and taught them basic accountancy. They were also exposed to the world of social media - especially Facebook. The group, Odiani, now has a Facebook page, and will be selling online very soon.  

The collaborations were exhibited at an arts gallery in New Delhi - and garnered much support and curiousity from the public. Most of the designs got sold instantly and helped raise funds for Odiani. 

With your support, we are confident we can achieve much more, and aid many artists to reach the stage of self-sustenance. With every project, we learn new things, and hope that our artists are having as much fun in learning. Do keep supporting us - we value your suggestions and feedback too! Do share the same with your friends, and reach out to us! 

More of our work can be viewed on our website :

Teaching Accounts and Computers
Teaching Accounts and Computers
The Village Team
The Village Team
Women crafting toys
Women crafting toys
Hanif during the Observation excercise
Hanif during the Observation excercise

For this residency, we collaborated with University of Technology, Sydney. It was amazing to see, how in three weeks, 10 students and four artists bonded together, ate and worked in unison. 

This experience was so much more enriching - we had already learnt from our past experience and structured workshops during the day, helped both artists and students achieve much together. 

It began with demonstrations - the artists explained the art process to the students, who in turn made presentations on color, trends, textile designs, etc for the artists. The two way exchange led to group excercises, and then finally, working on group projects together. 

Aakib Bhai and his group created several variations in Block printing after experimenting through days and nights; Hanif Bhai and his team made an entire ensemble using the technique of bandhani/tie and dye, with some elements of Shibori; Sanju and her girls created smaller embroidered pieces which explored the India-Australia correlation. 

During this time, they learnt so much from each other - about each other's culture and more importantly, about each other's work ethic. The artists caught up with words in English, and the students worked on their Hindi!

For the Observation excercise, the artists were taken to Garden of Five Senses - here they saw installations, art works, people of the city, and nature at its blooming best. They then developed individual projects, based on their observations and came up with very innovative concepts and ideas.

Their works were exhibited for the public - who thoroughly enjoyed seeing the experiments,and bought some works instantly!

The real good news comes now - Aakib Bhai will be visiting Australia on a three week study tour to learn more on textile design, and demonstrate his work as well!

In the meantime, Hanif Bhai was featured in Business Standard, New Delhi and has bagged a few exhibitions!

With your continuing support, we have been able to achieve more - this year, we are exploring new ways of working with our traditional artists to make their learning experience richer, and better. We do hope you'd stay with us on this wonderful journey, and pull some friends along !  

Making the Color
Making the Color


Radha's Exhibit
It has been a wonderful journey - to have engaged with women who speak different languages, have different skills, and yet, have the same dream. For a month, we worked closely on each participant's design, observation and communication skills. We laughed over tea, and cried under pressure - and then came the breakthrough. 

As a mentor, I realized that the power has always been in their hands, just the need to realize their own potential has been the key to opening a world of opportunities for them.

Our participants - Radha (from Karnataka), Sebati (from Orissa), D.Padma (from Andhra), Heera Devi (Bihar/Delhi), and Sanju Devi (Bihar) came up with some of the most innovative presentations by the end of the residency. 
While Radha chose to storyboard a popular folk song through her paintings, Sebati looked at developing product ranges; Heera devi, is still working on her masterpiece for the National Award, and D.Padma has managed to win hearts across the country for her innovative, and fun products. Sanju Devi, has mobilized more women in her village to work on narrative embroidery for Quilting, and a range of other products. 

Their portfolios are complete, and Radha has already bagged a project with a design studio from New Delhi - working on creating typefaces in Chittara art form. Her first big project!! :D 

Sanju Devi too, is working on a series of installations based on social causes. She participated in an exchange residency with design students from Australia in July 2012.

Much more is yet to happen, for this is just the beginning! Thank you all, for all the generous support you have been providing. 



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Organization Information

Happy Hands Foundation

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Medhavi Gandhi
New Delhi, Delhi India

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