Homespun fabric to patachitra art — Artisans reinterpret traditional craft at Dastkar Bazaar

Bhujodi weaves

Bhujodi weaves   | Photo Credit: special arrangement


Dastkar Bazaar is big on design this year, continuing to bridge the gap between traditional crafts and a trend-conscious market

Neither the puppet show nor the drum beats deter Anup Roy. At Dastkar Bazaar, currently on at the Co-Optex grounds in Egmore, the mood is festive as artisans, designers and folk artists gather to present their craft.

Like many of the other artisans here, Anup is intent on explaining his craft and what makes it special. He greets passing visitors, unfurls a shimmering chanderi silk sari and explains the detailing and process involved in creating it at his unit in Harola Village, Noida. “This is a handwoven chanderi, naturally hand-dyed with handcrafted shibori work,” he says. The saris, dupattas and stoles, from his brand Ananda, come in a limited colour palette, but in a deliberate move against fast fashion, they are hand crafted and dyed with ingredients like pomegranate, indigo and marigold. Anup says despite having decades of experience in textiles, it took the team many years to develop and standardise the natural dye process. The Indigo range seems to be their biggest draw, especially in the long, floaty cotton silk dresses.

While exhibitions of this sort tend to specialise in textiles and saris, Dastkar Bazaar is big on design this year, continuing to bridge the gap between traditional crafts and a trend-conscious market.

At Jaipur-based Cotton Rack too, co-founders Rameshwari Kaul and Vinayak Sharma explain how and why their brand focuses on fair trade and sustainability, between helping customers sort through racks of dresses in cotton candy pink, and colours evocatively named “puddle blue, stormy orange and slush green.” With clean lines and clever cuts, the brand focuses on homespun and handwoven fabric.

Meanwhile, Mustafa Khalid Khatri’s stall is packed with customers buying mashru and modal silk. His saris, stoles, dupattas and yardage sold at pocket-friendly prices are a surprise. (The mashru yardage, with cotton inside and silk outside, is available at ₹600 per metre.)

The fabric is hand-dyed with natural colours

The fabric is hand-dyed with natural colours   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Check out the Lambani embroidery from Karnataka and the range of khadi jamdhani saris by Blue Lotus, Telangana. “Our saris are handspun, hand woven and we use only natural dyes. We are an NGO that works with weavers and for this fair we have saris, dupatta and yardages,” says K Shiva, who is manning the stall.

If you prefer something customised, Manoj K of Krishna Jute Udyog, Almora, Uttarakhand, is happy to collaborate on colour combinations for his circular and rectangular carpets.

Learn about patachitra art at Chandan Purushotham’s stall, where the artist from Odisha proudly explains his wall hanging. “This piece narrates the entire Ramayana and costs ₹25,000. This is an ancient art that originated in Jagannath Temple, Puri,” he says. Hailing from Raghurajpur in Puri District, he says his village has been declared a ‘heritage village’ as every person over there practises this art form. “In recent times, we have started recycled art as well. We use betel nut, old bottles and papers to create products with patachitra art on it,” he states.

Pottery too is evolving for a modern audience. An alumnus of NIFT, Mumbai, Anushree Sridhar’s ceramic work includes hanging planters and masks. “I create my collections at my studio in Pune and the pottery range is double fired and completely handmade,” says Anushree.

Puneet Brar from Auroville, Puducherry also has an extensive collection of studio pottery. “I have learned Japanese and French pottery and am also influenced by terracotta art,” she says. “But it took many years for me to get inspired by my land and surroundings, and break away from Western influences.” She points at the chic three-tier tiffin boxes, water jugs with dragonfly motifs and stylised round boxes to serve rotis, and adds, “Now I use traditional skills to interpret my contemporary setting.”

Dastkar Bazaar is on till December 1, at Co-Optex Grounds, Egmore from 11 am to 8 pm.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 7:49:55 AM |

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