Project #3860

Design Education for Traditional Artisans in Kutch

by Kala Raksha
Jan 14, 2014


Best Collection winner Adil walks the ramp
Best Collection winner Adil walks the ramp


On 24 November 2013, the eighth class of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya graduated, bringing the total number of graduates to 124. 


The Convocation is always a time to look back and see what we all have achieved in the year. This year, we also looked forward, to building the program to a true institution.

It was a busy year for KRV. 

In addition to our ongoing design education course, with the support of Anjana Somany, we coordinated a major, successful program in Mumbai- Co-Creation squared-which included a fashion show, exhibition and short film - thus taking Artisan Design to the world.

Director Judy Frater, Artisan Designers Jayantibhai Bokhani and Khimjibhai Siju were invited a think tank in Bagalkot to envision a future that will include development of weavers.  This event will now blossom into a project that will engage our graduates as professional designers.

 Judy Frater and Permanent Faculty Member Dayalalbhai Kudecha had the wonderful opportunity to represent KRV at Tinkuy, an international weavers conference in Cusco, Peru.

 Irfanbhai Anwarbhai Khatri was invited to a prestigious think tank in Goa- Think 2013.

In December Project Leader Nilanjanbhai Mondal and Irfanbhai will represent KRV at Samanta, the final meeting of the Australia- India Sangam project. 

 KRV is definitely on the world map.  We are showing the world where artisans can reach.

All over the world traditional crafts are struggling to survive, and seeking solutions for sustainability.  KRV is being recognized world wide precisely because it has been an important development, offering a successful and forward thinking solution.

 It is time to build this program to a true institution, to expand to reach more artisans and develop world-wide value for traditional arts. 

 The immediate goal is increased respect and income for artisans.  We have proved that because our artisans know craft, they can learn design. We now need to insure their success. Because these artisan designers know design, they can do business.  An artisan designer needs both design and business.  So as a first step to growing from a program to an institution, next year we will launch a new MBA course- - Management and Business for Artisans!   This will be a post-graduate course for KRV artisan designers.  Look for the Vidhyalaya re-inventing itself…..


November 22- 24 marked this year's KRV Convocation Mela. The event, generously sponsored by Adani Foundation, Bestseller Fund, and CGPL-Tata Power, began with a final jury conducted by experts in craft and design, including Radhi Parekh- founder of Artisans Gallery, Subrata Bhowmick- internationally renowned designer, Abhay Mangaldas, Founder and CEO of House of MG, and Shilpa Sharma, co-founder of the online high end design retail portal Jaypore.

The jury culminated in the fashion show we await every year, choreographed by Utsav Dholakia, Compered by Shweta Dhariwal, and styled by Sanjay Guria.  This year's fashion show was inaugurated by our Special Guest Anjana Somany, Founder and Director of Mango Tree, and producer of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya's debut in Mumbai.

This year's graduates presented collections of contemporary styled traditions, ranging from the home furnishing to resort wear.  The collections were designed in collaboration with students from M.S. University, Baroda.

As ever, our KRV alumni made set the bar with their sophisticated Artisan Designs.  The grand finale was a sampling of the Co-Creation Squared collection that debuted in Mumbai.

The following day, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya welcomed Jaya Jaitly, Founder of Dastkari Haat Samiti, Creator of Dilli Haat- and long time friend and supporter of Artisans of India, as our Chief Guest.  Jayaji delivered the keynote speech, encouraging artisans to work collaboratively and creatively to triumph over challenges. Jury member Radhi Parekh and KRV Advisor Shyamji Vishramji delivered speeches.  Graduates Sangitaben Pirabhai Bhati, and Soyabbhai Abdul Karim Khatri spoke about the importance of design education in their  lives, exemplifying the confidence and poise that education builds.

This year's jury awarded best collection to Zakiyaben Ayubbhai Khatri and Adilbhai Mustakbhai Khatri, both bandhani artisans.  Awards for Best Presentation, Most Marketable collection, Most Promising Artisan, and best student were also presented.

And the KRV Staff were honoured. The convocation launched the public Mela, which once again enjoyed visitors from around the world and all over India.  A number of people planned their visit to India around the KRV Mela. Artisans met and exchanged news and ideas. 

Visitors purchased all-new artisan designs.  Many graduates recovered their annual fees in a few hours-- confirming that their year of design education will launch successful careers.  Everyone enjoyed Kutchi folk music, food and hands-on demonstrations of weaving, printing, roghan painting and pottery.

This year's music program was held in the intimate space of the Exhibition Courtyard, and welcomed the addition of dandia ras for the crowd.  And of course, the grand finale was our jam session sanedo, pulling together artisans, graduates and the public to celebrate the flourishing culture of Kutch, and the welcome of our newest Artisan Designers. 

As we look to building a true institution, we think of sustainability, expansion, and the ethical fiber that will be essential for this growth.  The message, again, is not to compete with machines, to do what the human artist can do.  And not to compete with each other.  When each artisan can follow his or her individual identity, the diversity will insure success --for everyone. Self reliance and genuine self respect are essential to sustainability, and will contribute toward a world without unhealthy politics and competition. Together Artisan Designers will create a sustainable future for craft traditions.


Director Judy Frater was a keynote speaker at Tinkuy, an international gathering of weavers in Cusco Peru.  Permanent Faculty member Dayalalbhai Kudecha also represented KRV and India, with demonstrations and a presentation.   


Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya focuses on building links through which KRV graduates can develop their capacity as designers and find new and better markets.  The second project with a team of students from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne has progressed to the prototyping stage. Project Leader Nilanjan Mondal met with Swinburne Project Director Katherine Bissett- Johnson at the final Sangam Conference in Bangalore, and KRV graduates will implement the products. The exchange has enabled KRV graduates to learn to work from paper concepts, and young Australian designers to appreciate artisan capacity and to work in more collaborative ways.

KRV has engaged students of MS University Baroda for two years in it Collection Development Course.  In December, M.S. University celebrated its 30th Biennial Conference on 100 Years of Home Science, with exhibitions and a fashion show of textiles of Kutch.  Four KRV graduates participated, and represented KRV.

KRV WORKSHOPS TO THE WORLD                                                                            

By now, KRV has conducted 23 workshops taught by KRV graduates, and we have 5 more in planning.  We hope to expand this opportunity for artisans to serve as visiting faculty in the coming year. 

Most recently, a group of fourteen graduate students and faculty from Kansas State University participated in a two and a half day workshop to learn "standard operating procedures" for textile arts.  For information on offerings, please download our workshop proposal or contact

KRV in print and online

Visit KRV on our Facebook page!

Director Judy Frater and Dr. Mary Littrell co-published a chapter on KRV, "Artisan Enterprise, Cultural Property, and the Global Market," in The Handbook of Fashion Studies, Edited by Black, de la Haye, Entwistle, Rocamora, Root and Thomas.  London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013.

In September 2012, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya enjoyed a feature by Jessica Marati "Teaching Design," in Hand/Eye magazine.


The Indian financial year spans between April 2013 and March 2014. Through Global Giving, since 2010 we have had 56 donations, and raised $8,807.  This has amounted to 6 to 10% of our annual budget.  In addition, through Global Giving we have been able to raise our international visibility significantly.


As KRV has focused on becoming more self-sustaining, opportunities as well as challenges are coming our way. In the coming year we envision change in the Vidhyalaya's programming, and significant and positive growth for KRV.

Financial sustainability is always a huge challenge for an educational institution.  We welcome from our supporters entrepreneurial ideas –and ideas for increasing visibility.

Again we thank you, our supporters.  With your support, KRV will realize its mission of relevant, genuine education for traditional artisans, and its dream of growing from a program to an institution!















The class of 2013
The class of 2013
KRV Graduates present their collections
KRV Graduates present their collections
Jivaben with her playful children
Jivaben with her playful children's collection
KRV Graduate Sangita makes a speech
KRV Graduate Sangita makes a speech
Zakiyaben receives the Best Collection award
Zakiyaben receives the Best Collection award



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Organization Information

Kala Raksha

Location: ta. Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Judy Frater
Kutch, Gujarat India

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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