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 | Sep 8, 2019
Somaiya Kala Vidya Class of 2019 Completes Course

By Judy Frater | Founder Director, Somaiya Kala Vidya

Jabbar Khatri presents his collection
Jabbar Khatri presents his collection

“I made my collection to last,” Abdul Jabbar Habib Khatri*, SKV class of 2019

Somaiya Kala Vidya is an institution for traditional artisans of Kutch, India. Combining over fifty years' experience of Somaiya Vidyavihar University with fourteen 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 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 on 3 January 2019. In this quarter, they completed course 6, appeared for the final jury, and attended a workshop in Production Management.  

Course 6- Merchandising, Presentation

Course 6, taught by NID graduate Bhargav Padhiyar, was held from 30 July- 9 August 2019.

Having completed ambitious collections, the students learned how to maximize the value of their work. They each developed a brand and logo, and learned effective photography with instruction from Bhuj photographer Ketan Pomal. They created portfolios. And they practiced and practiced display and oral presentation.

For the final presentation, students invited parents, siblings, wives and children, who along with the alumni internal jury members heard what their family members had learned all year. It was a gratifying and edifying experience for all.

Final Jury

Immediately following Course 6, SKV held the final jury for the year. This year’s panel comprised Anuradha Kumra, Senior designer for Fabindia, Dr. Annapurna Garimella, Founder Jackfruit Research and Design, Jaai Kakani, Principal Kakani Design Studio, and Ravi Joshi, Faculty NIFT Gandhinagar. SKV’s juries are educational and affirming. Jury members and artisans both enjoy the intense sessions. “It’s as good as another course!” one student remarked. Most interesting, the feedback from the jury in many cases differed significantly from that of family and alumni. In the interest of maintaining traditions in the contemporary market, both perspectives are important.

Production Management

Two weeks later, on 24-25 August, the students consolidated jury feedback and met with Institute of Rural Management Director and Faculty member Hitesh Bhatt for another intense session of Production Management. As with the jury, the two days equaled a two-week course. Teacher extraordinaire, Professor Bhatt prepared the students to execute their designs as collections for their final exhibition in Ahmedabad in October.


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 provided long distance guidance and some financial support to weaver partners in Bagalkot District, Karnataka, and they developed their 2019 collection of innovative Ilkal saris. This year they will finally produce natural dyed versions! Bagalkot weaving and weaving by Kutch mentors inspired by Bagalkot, as well as new collections from the SKV 2018 women graduates will be exhibited in Hyderabad from 12-14 September.


Somaiya Kala Vidya is happy to connect with other efforts in design education for artisans. On 18 June, Dr. Jaspal Kalra, Co-Founder and Director of Kalhath Institute Lucknow visited SKV with 21 students and several faculty members. As with SKV, the students are traditional artisans, chikan and zardozi embroiderers. The group met with the SKV class of 2019, who were busy with their Collection Development course. Program Coordinator Arun Singh spoke to them in Hindi about SKV’s mission, methods and successes.

This was a rehearsal for a presentation that Arunbhai gave in English at UNESCO’s 2019 Sub-regional Meeting for safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in South Asia, held in Dhaka from 24-26 June, 2019. It was a great honour for SKV to be represented in this forum and we hope it will contribute for further visibility for the institute.

To this end, Prof. Wakif Hussain, Academic Associate, Anant National University who had visited earlier in June, will be presenting on design education for artisans, using the example of SKV, in an Education Forum on the eve of World Design Assembly in Hyderabad in October.


SKV is happy to be at the forefront in developing co-design, a concept gaining interest in mainstream design institutes. The Co-Design project with Srishti was showcased in Bangalore on 8 September.

In our flagship Co-Design program with University of Wisconsin Madison, the spring project was completed, and on 31 October the fall group of 10 artisan designers will embark on a collaboration with UWM design students. We are happy to see several 2018 graduates participating this time.

Pearl Mumbai Professor Chettiar’s co-design project has finally taken off after a year of developing relationships with artisan designers. This is the reality of genuine co-design: it rests on slowly building strong and equitable relationships. Prof. Chettiar finally clicked with one artisan designer, and he immediately understood. “This is real co-design!” he exclaimed. “We are working as an equal team.”


SKV was well represented in the International Folk Art Market| Santa Fe 2019, with 5 artisan design graduates and two Advisors participating. 2018 graduate Taina Khatri attended IFAM for the first time, with her veteran father Abdulaziz Khatri. As always, the event was well attended, and offered an unparalleled opportunity to meet artisans from all over the world. Dahyalalbhai Kudecha and Dr. Ismailbhai Khatri both enjoyed meeting world renowned Zapotec natural dyer and weaver team Juana and Porfirio Gutierrez of Oaxaca.



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. Most workshops are conducted in Kutch. However, after the Folk Art Market, SKV Founder Director Judy Frater organized a tour of workshops for Azizbhai and Tainaben Khatri, to share the amazing textile traditions of Kutch and the work of SKV, and to introduce Azizbhai and Tainaben to a bit of the USA beyond Santa Fe. Participants in Austin Texas, Manitou Springs Colorado, and Los Angeles California learned to revere bandhani, and enjoyed themselves too.

In November 2017 SKV launched Open Studio Tours in Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur. Dates for 2019-20 tours are finalized and can be found on the SKV website. Workshops are scheduled on demand. Special Open Studio 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


In mid-June, Founder Director Judy Frater published the chapter, “Education for Artisans: Beginning a Sustainable Future for Craft Traditions,” in A Cultural Economic Analysis of Craft, Eds. Anna Mignosa and Priyatej Kotipalli. London: Palgrave, 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!

On 6 July 2018, SKV began a YouTube channel.

We have 9 videos on our channel, all providing important insights on craft in Kutch today.

SKV is on Trip Advisor, and our Open Studio Tours are the first and only Airbnb Experience in Kutch!

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 Design Craft Members that will take you to profiles of each artisan designer. We password-protected the profiles. You will have to register to view them, but it is an easy procedure.


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

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

14 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 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, 104 donors have raised $15,361—more than 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 June-September 2019, our project raised $480- almost enough for one professional faculty stipend for one course!

Thank you Global Giving!


The class of 2019 has finished their course work. They now look forward to testing their collections in the Ahmedabad market, and graduating with a gala event and fashion show.

The capacity of artisan design graduates has surely increased. Yet the visibility of Somaiya Kala Vidya is limited, and artisans are still widely perceived as skilled technicians.

This year, SKV will conduct a professional value-based impact assessment of artisan education. This will enable us to increase both visibility and impact. We have posted a Global Giving MicroProject to fund the evaluation.

Steadily we are attracting the interest of people who understand the value of craft. We look to insuring that there will be a market to value small production quality craft designed and made by artisans. 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, faculty and workshop participants are proud and happy to be recognized and have consented to have their names shared.

The Class and Final Jury 2019
The Class and Final Jury 2019
Moinuddin presents his logo to the internal jury
Moinuddin presents his logo to the internal jury
Ramesh presents to the Final Jury
Ramesh presents to the Final Jury
Tosif gets jury feedback
Tosif gets jury feedback
Graduate Dayabhai meets Oaxaca masters in the USA
Graduate Dayabhai meets Oaxaca masters in the USA


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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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