Society

The work of our hands

Aparna Vinod

Aparna Vinod  

Aparna Vinod approaches crafts as an education and not as a pastime

Bangalore is an artsy city. The number of arts and crafts workshops for adults as well as children has grown by the dozen and The Craft Caravan (www.facebook.com/thecraftcaravan) set up by Aparna Vinod in July this year is one of them.

“Craft is only encouraged as a holiday activity as it is not seen as something that promotes skills,” says Aparna. “It is merely an escape from our otherwise ‘complete’ life. The Craft Caravan is an attempt to introduce children to craft and creation as a customary part of life and not merely an aesthetic or hobby oriented experience.”

The Craft Caravan works at encouraging children develop different developmental skills including self-expression, free thinking, and coordination using craft as the medium. Aparna believes that “making and learning through touch and feel has an important role to play in early education. This sensory experience has been devalued as literacy develops. Our hands, the finest instruments of learning, are effectively downgraded to mere devices for holding pens and keyboards. However, there is much pleasure in handling swatches of coloured paper, cloth, imagining colours and planning personalised art pieces.” While there are umpteen craft workshops available for children in the city, what gives The Craft Caravan its edge is its method of sourcing material, planning age appropriate techniques, etc. “Every workshop is thought through as curriculum. We do unique workshops like woodworking, printing, recycled waste, and team craft activities for adults too. The idea is to approach craft as an education and not as a pastime.”

Having grown up in a small town during the 1980’s in a single-child household with no television, Aparna says: “I was introduced to the immense power of boredom. Boredom introduced me to an even greater power – imagination. I revisited my childhood passion of crafting through my little girl. Being married to a creative person is an added blessing; my husband is also my ideation partner. As we are a household with no television, craft was our entertainment activity.” It was when friends and family started coaxing her to do something serious about her ability to get children to craft, that this stay-at-home mom conceptualised The Craft Caravan. Prior to this she has worked in films and corporate communication.

Since she is so passionate about crafting, setting up shop was fairly simple but one of the main challenges Aparna faces is “convincing parents that crafting is as important as systemic learning. Then having to deal with the feeling that boys don’t craft! There is need for a paradigm shift in the way we treat handwork.”

According to this crafter what she loves about her job is “when I say, I have work to do, I mean I have a craft project to work on. I get to try new ideas, learn new crafts. I love walking in the by lanes of Commercial Street and Seppings Road hunting for crafting material. Writing is a passion and I get to do that on my blog http://the craftcaravan.wordpress .com.”



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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 9:02:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/the-work-of-our-hands/article6500608.ece

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