Education  India Project #26908

Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India

by Somaiya Kala Vidya, a division of K.J. Somaiya Gujarat Trust
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Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India
Design Education for Artisans of Kutch India

Project Report | Mar 21, 2018

By Judy Frater | Founder Director, Somaiya Kala Vidya

Advisor Shyamjibhai tells students about tradition
Advisor Shyamjibhai tells students about tradition

*All students, graduates and faculty mentioned in the following report have granted permission to use their names

“In doing research, I realized we need to revive our traditions“

~Anas Khatri, bandhani artist and SKV student, 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 demonstrate the importance of education for artisans, and generate awareness and motivation to build a movement of Design Craft.



Education for artisans is SKV's reason for being. The class of 2018 began their design education journey on 15 January 2018. In the men’s class, eleven weavers, Ajrakh printers and bandhani artisans arrived with enthusiasm and high expectations.

Course 2018-1 M- Colour: Sourcing from Heritage and Nature

Disha Trivedi, a Colour Therapist from Ahmedabad taught the Men’s- as well as Women’s Colour Courses. She expertly guided the students through colour theory and, with Permanent Faculty member Mukhtar Soneji, through taking theory into practice. The students worked in sketching, paint, and dye to understand how to use colour. They enjoyed a lively session with SKV Master Artisan Advisors, learning about traditions and perhaps also teaching a bit of colour theory.

Wasim Khatri: “I liked working with new colours, drawing, and the advisors’ visit.”

Riyaz Khatri, Bandhani artist: “The colour wheel will be useful for us til the end.”

Prashant Siju, Weaver: “We have been doing black and white for a decade. This was the first time I used colour. I enjoyed it.”

Course 2018-1 W- Colour: Sourcing from Heritage and Nature

SKV is delighted to hold a women’s Design course this year. Three bandhani artisans and one weaver began their design journey on 29 January. The energy of a women’s group is always different from that of a men’s. With Visiting Faculty Dishaben, and permanent Faculty Zakiya Khatri, the women worked intently and neatly, also in pencil, paint and dye.

Taina Khatri: “Colour is a language. There is nothing without colours.

Muskaan Khatri: “In the class I learned about different colour schemes.”

Hadika Khatri: “I learned about colour mixing.”

Krishna Vankar: “I learned how to use colours. Now when I weave I will look at colour balancing and overall look.”

Course 2018-2 M- Basic Design: Sourcing from Heritage and Nature

Designer Hitesh Rawat returned to SKV to teach Basic Design for men a second time. Using his experience he revised the course to be an organic journey through the design relationships that create compositions. Elements and principles fell magically into place, with emphasis on drawing. When it was time to put theory into practice, the class spent several days joyfully applying what they had learned in printing, weaving and bandhani. Then they checked back and were amazed to find that many principles- including Fibonacci's sequence, were there in traditional work! Sureshbhai Parbat mentored this course, and it ended with a presentation juried by alumni Shakil Ahemad Khatri, Basir Khatri, Mukhtar Khatri, and Pravin Siju. Feedback brought a lively discussion of design in craft.

Shaukat Khatri: "Drawing made me see-- and think!"

Anas Khatri: “We used to make a design and see how it looks. Now, I’ll think and do. What I didn’t understand I will work out in practical application.”

Ramesh Vankar: “I just thought, “design.” There are types of design. And ideas in nature.”

Wasim Khatri: “I feel like making new things now.”

Darshan Marvada: “12 days went like a day.”

Course 2018-2 W- Basic Design: Sourcing from Heritage and Nature

In the women's second course veteran Visiting Faculty Anuja Goel, assisted by Permanent faculty Tulsiben and Taraben Puvar, guided the students to observe design in nature and their traditional textiles. After theory and practice, the class visited Vijay Vilas Palace and Mandvi beach to put everything into context. The course ended with a final presentation. In two weeks the students had clearly grasped elements and principles of design- and become confident in presenting their work. SKV graduates Zakiyaben Khatri and Pachanbhai Siju reviewed the final presentation with probing questions and enthusiastic thumbs up!

Hadika Khatri- “I never saw patterns before.”

Muskaan Khatri- “I had seen patterns but I wasn’t conscious of them.”

Taina Khatri: “This was new; I had to think. It was difficult til I did it in bandhani.”

Krishna Vankar: “I learned to understand many new principles. I am confident that I can make weaving from music!”



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. Though the Bagalkot project is officially complete, everyone mutually agreed that for now, help with one collection a year will be beneficial. Team 2: Puroshottambhai and Niteshbhai, with Program Coordinator Pallavi Gaur, will visit Jeevadhara at the end of March to develop a collection based on the 2018-19 FW trend forecast.

Seeking new partners, Founder Director Judyben visited Avani in Kumaon in February. The Avani team and women weavers are eager to try an artisan-to-artisan project- in time to participate in the September exhibition in Chennai. We await final details.



SKV is happy to be at the forefront in developing co-design, a concept gaining interest in mainstream design institutes. The second phase of the SKV- University of Wisconsin Madison collaboration, launched on 14 September 2017, culminated in a collection of co-designed stoles which will be presented at a fashion show at UW Madison in April. We are thrilled that UWM received a grant to bring two SKV participants, Zakiya Khatri and Prakash Siju, for a special program in Madison in early April. The team, along with Judyben, will speak on their experiences in co-design, teach workshops in their craft traditions, and hold a two-day live demonstration of co-design with UWM students. Judyben, Prof. Jennifer Angus, Erica Hess, and Prof. Katherine Bissett-Johnson, will present a panel on co-design at the September Textile Society of America conference.




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. From 27 February- 1 March, SKV held its first workshop of 2018. Weaver Designer Jentibhai Bokhani taught a three-day workshop in weaving. Miranda Hewitt much appreciated the care that went into the workshop. "It is great fun and I am learning a lot, more than any other course!" she said.

In November SKV launched Open Studio Tours in Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur. Our first season closed on 10 February. Participants from Australia, UK and the American Museum of Natural

History, New York enjoyed visiting weaver and Ajrakh designers in January, and a group from Europe led by Prof. Gabriele Tautscher of Institut für SA, der Universität Vienna enjoyed a tour of weaver designers in February. The tours provide visitors with an in-depth glimpse of not only a tradition, but also the range of individual interpretations and innovations.

Proceeds from both workshops and Open Studio tours support SKV programs, insuring financial as well as cultural sustainability. For more information contact



2018 brought changes in the SKV staff. We were sorry to say goodbye to Permanent Faculty members Dahyalal Kudecha and Laxmi Parmar. Dahyalalbhai will be concentrating on building his business, while Laxmi welcomed her first child, Aryan in February. This year’s courses will be guided by Mukhtarbhai Soneji, Pravinbhai Siju, Zakiyaben Khatri, Tulsiben Puvar and Taraben Puvar. In December 2017 we also welcomed Program Coordinator Pallavi Gaur. Pallaviben, an MA graduate of Azim Premji University, previously worked at Malkha Marketing, and interned at The Handloom School.

Artisan Designer Dahyalal Kudecha has been selected for the Crafts Council of India Kamala Award for Contribution to Craft and Community. Artisan Designern Adil Khatri has been selected for the Council of India Young Artisans Award.

Founder Director Judy Frater was invited as a member of the Steering Committee of Tata Trusts project on weaving in Northeast India. On 19 January 2018 she presented SKV as a success story for a NABARD National Seminar on Handloom, Mumbai. And in March, she presented on design education for artisans at two conferences in Europe: 1 March “Re-Valuing Craft Traditions” at The Values of Craft, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and 9 March “Artisans Design!” at Beyond Change: Questioning the Role of Design in Times of Global Transformations, FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel.



On 9 March 2018, Clothroads published the article “Meet an Indian Woman Bandhani Artisan: Zakiya Khatri.”

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



The Somaiya Agencies's 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, 56 artisan designers are represented.

You can meet the Design Craft artisans on the SKV website. We welcome you to log onto Under Design Craft you will find a map, and profiles of each of the artisan designers. 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.



6-8 September 2018- Artisan-to-Artisan Design exhibition, Chennai

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

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


SKV's Governing Council includes Shri Samir Somaiya, Amritaben Somaiya, 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: Ali Mohammed Isha -bandhani artist, Bhuj, Umar Farouk Khatri- bandhani artist, Bhadli, Dr. Ismail Mohammed Khatri - block printer, Ajrakhpur, Gulam Hussain Umar -bandhani artist, Bhuj, and Shyamji Vishramji Siju- weaver, Bhujodi.



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, and in November 2017 we raised nearly $2,000-- two scholarships for our sincere and talented artisan students. This greatly encouraged Somaiya Kala Vidya and increased our visibility immensely.



The class of 2018 has begun what promises to be another amazing journey of design and personal growth. Our artisan designer graduates demonstrate that design education makes a difference. As our cadre of Artisan Designers grows, SKV looks to insuring that there will be an appropriate market to showcase the higher level of craft that our graduates have achieved in order to create a sustainable future for craft traditions. Together we can insure a vibrant future for craft traditions.

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

-Mahatma Gandhi

M. Husen creates colour from the colour wheel
M. Husen creates colour from the colour wheel
Darshan makes final presentation for Colour course
Darshan makes final presentation for Colour course
Muskaan presents her learning from Colour course
Muskaan presents her learning from Colour course
The Ajrakh team experiments with basic design
The Ajrakh team experiments with basic design
Krishna presents on Basic Design
Krishna presents on Basic Design
Juned hosts in his Ajrakh studio
Juned hosts in his Ajrakh studio
Tour members document Ajrakh process
Tour members document Ajrakh process


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Organization Information

Somaiya Kala Vidya, a division of K.J. Somaiya Gujarat Trust

Location: Adipur - India
Facebook: Facebook Page
Somaiya Kala Vidya, a division of K.J. Somaiya Gujarat Trust
Judy Frater
Project Leader:
Judy Frater
Founder Director
Adipur, Kutch , Gujarat India

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