Traditional artisans rarely have the opportunity to use their creative capacity. Considered workers, they are given designs and paid labor wages. The SKV design course teaches artisans to innovate within their traditions, reach new markets, and earn well. Graduates gain dramatic confidence, and earn respect as well as money. Artisans' children find pride in their heritage. Traditions thrive. The market also wins with increased diversity of excellent designs.
Craft is a huge source of livelihood in India, second only to agriculture. Traditional artisans are stewards of ancient, valuable cultural heritage. Yet, considered workers, they earn labour wages. Artisans' children see neither respect nor a decent future in craftsmanship. Industry competes for employment at the labour level. The potential for the value of the creative capacity of artisans has been overlooked.
Design is perceived as more valuable than craft. Designers can reach higher end markets. By learning design, traditional artisans can effectively tap their creative capacity. They gain critical confidence. They learn to target and reach better markets. They earn respect as well as better income. Simultaneously, with a variety of excellent interpretations of tradition available, the market expands and sales increase.
The income and standard of living of artisan designers has clearly increased. As a genre of Artisan Designers emerges, children of artisans gain interest and pride in their heritage, and many have returned home to work with their ancestral traditions. Traditions have begun to thrive at a higher end, more valuable level. Kutch is now noted for the design as well as technical quality of craft traditions. The potential of artisans in Kutch is not calculated but estimated at 50,000.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).