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
Dec 19, 2018

KALA UMANG! SKV Class of 2018 Graduates

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


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 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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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 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.


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'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.


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!


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


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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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