‘Kachchh Born Again’ Highlights The Connection Between Craftsmanship & Sustainability

Kachchh is today a rich haven for craft and textiles
Kachchh is today a rich haven for craft and textilesKachchh Born Again

As the most renowned day for environmental action is fast approaching on 5th June, people around the world are reanalysing the core systems of society that can make a considerable change on society. In the process questioning our means of production and proposing alternate approaches to environmental conservation. When speaking of such methods that inspire sustainability, it is important to acknowledge the influence of Indian craftsmanship in the wider culture of conscious production. 

The rich heritage of crafts is testament to the undeniable potential of creating items with a deeper understanding of its impact on nature. While similar methods are just being widely accepted in western society, Indian artisans from different states have mastered the art of producing artistic excellence through reusing and recycling materials. Especially in the ancient land of Kachchh, which has been a gateway for cultures of various kinds bringing in with it unique culture and craft. 

Kachchh is today a rich haven for craft and textiles, to truly honour what they do, it is essential to also help them to transform and change in order to keep their skills alive, to make them relevant and hence in true demand. Aptly titled 'Kachchh Born Again' is a show taking place in 47 A at Khotachiwadi curated by Satish Reddy who renounced his corporate job to explore the region which he did ceaselessly for 10 years.

Lending his unique perspective on the region and its influences. Satish started Sanchari, a project that plays the role of a virtual design school that opens doors to fresh ideas. The engagement enables artisans to be self-aware of their own reservations about design and innovation. Wider interactions between artisans, designers, and facilitators initiate a dialogue enriching the discourse on craft.

Kachchh is today a rich haven for craft and textiles
Kachchh is today a rich haven for craft and textilesKachchh Born Again

His research helped in the effective implementation of kala cotton in the value chain and reviving regional folk music practices among other engagements to do with culture and heritage. These experiences and interactions evolved into a series of questions through process and story, which became the project to be presented in the show.

The show presents twelve super skilled craftspeople who have had a systematic and sustained mentorship for three years to have new and very different designs incorporated into what they do. Some even had to be convinced to get back to the craft they had abandoned. Satish hasn’t just brought passion, he has added mentorship, systems and a framework for craftspeople to interact with designers to push the boundaries of what is possible to do.

Aafasil, a young copper bell artisan, took up his family traditions of copper bell making, an ancient craft of Kachchh. However he chose to reconstruct his craft, altering and reconnecting with his craftsmanship while intuitively deconstructing new ways to explore the form and sound of his traditional craft. The young craftsman uses old copper bells to create lamps, sculptures and a unique tangram game, hence utilising discarded materials to build tangible designs.

Similarly Brass artisans from Dhaj seek inspiration from old objects, documentaries of how people ate back in the day and create sketches to share with the artists who then recreate stunning cutlery using old material and technique. Shabri is a clothes maker creating hand-made pieces based in Kutch since 2014. The designer also has a label called Bajra where they create upcycled clothing and accessories. Through Sanchari, she and her artisan friends are collaborating on a range of apparel and upcycled homeware.

The showcase will be seeing multiple such artisans embracing the playfulness in crafting a new future for themselves and shining a light on the sustainable practices. Hence building a space for problem solving, discovery and encouraging us to enquire into the hesitancies we have about ‘handmade’. The show will be on from June 10 TO July 9 from 11 - 7 daily, except Mondays.