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
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 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.



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.



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!




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



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.


“Education for Artisans: A Sustainable Future for Craft Traditions, in, 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.

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 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.


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

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

8 December- Kala Umang! 2019



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.


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!


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


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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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