There is joy in making things with your hand, and in using handmade products. If you agree, or if you don’t know about it, take a peek at The Handmade Collective organised for the 4 time by A Hundred Hands
We’ve all become so gadget crazy and obsessed with being connected, we’ve forgotten what we can do with our hands. And by that I’m referring to good old things like knitting, crocheting, embroidering, gardening… things that people did in their “free time”.
“Making something with your hands gives such a sense of satisfaction,” points out Mala Dhawan, co-founder, A Hundred Hands. It’s a non-profit trust that celebrates the pleasure of handmade crafts and the artists involved in them. Started by sisters Mala and Soniya three yeas ago in their garden to showcase what some women farmers from Sirsi wanted to sell in the city, A Hundred Hands steps into its fourth bazaar today. “We realised that so many more groups needed the space to show their work, communicate and interact with people...and they needed support. We also wanted to support handmade as a concept,” says Mala explaining why they started the initiative. “It’s about building a community of art and craft people who would knit and craft when there was time, before the age of being plugged in always.”
Much like how bits and pieces of patchwork come together to create a vibrant new shape and form, so too do people come together in communities to give new shape and meaning to the term handmade, says Mala. More than 60 per cent of the work on display this year by 65 artists is community-based work. Clothing, accessories, homeware, gardenware, toys are some of the categories you’ll have choices in.
Art and craft forms on display this year include traditional art like Warli, sanjhi, Mughal phad, pattachitra, Madhubani and Gond; embroidery work like Kashmiri sozni on pashmina shawls, kasuti on contemporary products, Kantha work on saris and handprinting like dabu and bagru. Also on display will be works by award winning artists and communities like Vijay Joshi (phad), Shabbir Bhai (sozni), Kumbaya (patchwork and community work), Stree Shakti Samiti (quilting and patchwork), Samoolam for crochet, Malkha Community from A.P. (woven khadi) Mirzapur weavers (hand-knotted Kilm rugs and carpets). From Karnataka participants from Belgaum, Hospet, sagara, Kundapur and Bangalore will be participating. With no middlemen involved, the artists and designers directly create, and products to buyers. “Since you interact directly with the artist, you understand the product.” It’s a commission-free programme, reiterates Mala. Most f the artists are members of the trust, and the trust works with them though the year.
They also have initiated a Blanket of Love Campaign where they have, through social media, appealed to people to crochet squares and send to be made into a patch-worked quilt for poor children; 560 squares came form Kuwait alone! “We’ve got 15 to 20 blankets already.”
For the first time, the event will have an installation competition that will see craftspersons, artists and communities and the general public come together to build installations on a socially relevant issue using scrap material. “We want it to be a social movement rather than just a bazaar,” concludes Mala. For he first time, the group is headed out of Bangalore for a similar bazaar at Kochi.
There will be workshops and other activities for adults and children. A “mosaic on furniture” workshop and a Japanese Shodo calligraphy workshop will also be held for adults along with a “block print your own shopping bag” workshop. The Surf Excel - Dirty Your Hands Section for Kids is back again this year with block printing, gardening, pottery — making their own mugs with personality and stamping out nameplates, origami, and traditional games. A special Madhubani section teaching children the motifs and stories behind them is also planned.
There is also food to be tasted and bought t the many food stalls, including akki rotti, and home-made dinners for those dropping in on their way back from work!
The Handmade Collective is on from today November 27 to November 30, from 10.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. at The Kochhar Institute, MEG, St. Johns Church Road, opposite Kendriya Vidyalaya, next to Maneckshaw Enclave. Entry is priced at Rs. 30. Kids get in free.
To see the workshop schedules and fees check www.ahundredhands.com