A gift in time, saves many artists

This Deepavali, support artisans by gifting your loved ones hampers handmade with hope to overcome a pandemic-led economic crisis

November 05, 2020 02:32 pm | Updated November 07, 2020 01:32 pm IST

Handmade charm

The staff at the Crafts Council of India’s flagship store, Kamala, in Chennai, are busy sharing photographs of craft items from artisan clusters from across the country with their customers. To help artists and weavers during the pandemic, the CCI has come up with customised hampers. “The idea is to encourage people to support handmade products. And what better occasion than the festival season to take up this mission?” asks Gita Ram, chairperson, CCI.

The hampers will be put together with products the customer picks. For example, it can contain an assortment including lamps, a handwoven Ikkat blouse material, a pair of cushion covers, toilet bags or a painting. “The assortment is based on the budget and the preference of customers,” says Gita.

Call 9840700445 to choose your hamper for gifting ranging from ₹500 upwards.

The silence of the looms

Bengaluru-based entrepreneur Deepa Rao Acharya, through her charitable foundation Lit Spirit, is currently focusing on the handloom weavers of West Bengal, who have been rendered jobless due to the pandemic. “During lockdown, a cluster of rural weavers in Phulia, West Bengal, came to our attention. Their orders had dried up; the Foundation invested in handwoven linen and cotton stoles by them, in a collaboration with Stoles by Jyoti Mandelia,” says Deepa.

In order to gain support for the weavers, she then began to gift these stoles in a handloom pouch, along with a letter, to let the receiver know about the weavers’ plight. This garnered a lot of attention, resulting in more orders. The stoles are woven at Phulia, hand embroidered at Howrah, and tassels are made at Shreerampore. Each stole takes two days to make, and is highlighted with the delicate cutdana, stonework and knotted tassels. They can be shipped across the country.

For orders, call: 9844023450.

Heritage pride

The Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh (CCAP) has curated Diwali hampers from various clusters across the region. The hamper includes Ikkat fabric napkin with Narsapur lace, a wooden candle holder which can be used to make block prints, tholu bommalata leather puppet décor, Etikoppaka napkin holders and terracotta diya from Rajahmundry. The CCAP had imparted online training workshops for 150 weavers and 30 craftspersons during the pandemic, where they learnt design techniques to make utilitarian products, says A Ammaji Rayudy, joint secretary of CCAP.

The organisation is also supporting Hyderabad-based NGO Chitrika, an all-women weaver organisation, in marketing their festive hamper. The festive hamper idea is an initiative of Creative Dignity, a voluntary online movement spread across India to work on providing relief and rehabilitation to craftspersons during the pandemic. Promoting such craft and textile based hampers, goes a long way in supporting weaving and crafts. The Diwali gifting options also include the handmade Karuna (compassion) and Kovida (wise) dolls highlighting the plight of artisans during the pandemic. The dolls are a combination of Etikoppaka (head) and Narsapur lace (dress).

For details, call: 9989886878

All for art

The Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Chennai, a Government of India undertaking, showcases the finest crafts from all over India. To support the artisans of our country, they offer customised gift sets comprising the festive collection, an assortment of handicrafts from all over India: Silver Enameled Elephants from Varanasi, High Altitude tea, Miniature paintings from Rajasthan, Gold plated and Silver plated wares from Moradabad, Dhokra from Odisha, Cotton wall hanging from Solapur and much more.

The hampers can be customised to suit ones budget. A range of lamps in metal and clay are available. The CCIE which has been playing a significant role in the revival of languishing crafts, offers this service to support the craftspersons. The gift set range begins from ₹ 750 upwards.

For details, call: 9445421968

Colours in a box

“Once upon a time, there was a jungle, ruled by a lion,” begins Dwaraka Jangid Prasad, a 68-year-old master craftsman from Bassi, Chittorgarh. As he narrates the story, he unfolds, one by one, the many panels of the kavad in his hand. The kavad — essentially a portable shrine with multiple doors that fold into themselves — is a Rajasthani folk artform. Each panel is brightly painted with sections of the stories. For this Diwali, you can buy ones that tell tales of the Panchatantra for children, the homecoming of Rama, or stories from Krishnavatar .

The Artist Project, helmed by Abhinaya Rangarajan, works with over 45 artisans from across the country to curate handmade products like these. In collaboration with The Style Salad, The Artist Project is also bringing out #VocalForLocal, a gift box comprising blue pottery products, including a bottle cork, a ceramic mug, incense stick holders shaped like palms, a set of four coasters, and a trinket dish. These have been handmade by artisans Muthulakshmi from Puducherry and Gopal Lal from Jaipur, to bring colour into your festive season.

Gift box costs ₹2,550 and for kavad , request price. Mail them at mailtheartistproject@gmail.com or visit thestylesalad.in

A basketful of care

Honneru/ ‘first plough’ is a collective of rural women and youth from Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka, engaged in sustainable agricultural production and food processing. Their edible products are made from a rich corpus of local knowledge which emphasises overall well-being. Sales from these products contribute to strengthening sustainable agricultural practices and co-operative entrepreneurship of rural women and youth. For this Deepavali, they are putting together gift baskets that contain heritage food products made by the women’s collective of Honneru.

Darshan Bawa, business developer with Honneru says, “The rural women have good knowledge of local food products. The heritage foods are made with millets, grains, cereals and cow pea pulses. This apart, other baskets contain handmade diya s by an inhouse team using beeswax and three types of open-pollinated heirloom seeds of common vegetables. The seeds are from Bodhio Foundation in Malnad.”

Darshan says they are happy with the response to the gift baskets; they are getting sold out. They are priced at ₹500.

Orders can be placed at honnerucollective@gmail.com

Heritage and health

How about gifting some heritage rice this Deepavali? Bio Basics has come up with a gift set featuring popular Wayanad rice varieties such as Mullankaima fragrant rice and Kaala Malliphulo black rice, along with information about the rice and as well as a recipe card.

Packed in a cloth bag, made with tailoring discards, and adorned in a hand-embroidered pouch by Medha of First Forest. These pouches depict women farmers and workers in action.

@Bio Basics For details, call 97905 16500

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.