xavio ngasainao: Young craftsmen put trendy twists on age-old handicrafts to attract Gen Z customers to Dastakari Haat | Cinema News

For Iqra’s 20th birthday, setting foot in the ongoing Dastakari Samiti Haat Pune Edition art fair was like revisiting his childhood as some of the stalls reminded him of his grandmother’s craft projects. Colourful, quirky and trendy, crochet particularly caught his attention and why not! These are Instagram approved! Similarly, Steffi Suarez was intrigued by the vibrant fabric laptop sleeves on which the traditional Gond painting was meticulously drawn, displayed at one of the exhibit booths which sold famous folk art from the community. Gond tribe of central India.

The annual craft show, which has returned to the city after a hiatus due to the pandemic, is about a new generation of young artisans breathing new life into age-old crafts and weavings and giving them an urban edge, including some are even presenting their work for the first time. It is also interesting to see that Pune’s Millennials and Gen Z art connoisseurs flock to the art festival in large numbers to sample traditional handicrafts and ancient weavings that are transformed into utilitarian objects at fashion, fashion accessories, decorative pieces, etc.

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“The craftsmen created the best and we also tried to do our best. Now it’s customers and craft enthusiasts who can help preserve India’s rural livelihoods and cultural heritage to join us in making this journey a bliss for makers and buyers alike.” , said Jaya Jaitly, president of Dastkari Haat Samiti.

Vocal for local becomes the buzzword


Xavio Ngasainao, 28, an artisan from Manipur who specializes in Longpi pottery (black stone pottery) and watchets (bamboo) baskets, handbags and clutches, says he is amazed at how teenagers and millennials are made aware of traditional crafts and the lesser-famous Longpi pottery.

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“With ‘voice for local’ being the mantra during lockdown, young people have turned to local, handmade and sustainable products and now they are now much more aware of different types of pottery, embroidery, weavings, textiles, toys etc And I was quite surprised when the young people who came to my shops had already done their research on crafts. This time we experienced our kauna reed bags which are not only fashionable but also durable. Influencers and celebrities popularized these bags and now millennials and Gen Z want them too,” says Xavio.

Local meets sustainability

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Young artisans and weavers have conducted extensive research during the pandemic to come up with handicrafts that are not only modern, but also trendy, functional and affordable. Growing concerns about the environment and climate and the popularity of a sustainable lifestyle have not only attracted young people to local handmade products, but also motivated artisans to experiment with their designs and create objects. everyday utilities such as wall hooks, door handles, pen holders, lamps. , candle holders, storage boxes, tableware, paper roll dispensers, cup holders, handmade paper stationery from the most organic raw materials – Jaipur elephant poo, face masks, bottle caps, tea bags laptop, etc.

A point in time

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Sampling a collection of crochet items, Iqra says, “My grandmother made me crochet dupattas, costumes and dresses when I was a kid and now when I see these bright crochet dolls, bookmarks, cup holders, jewelry, coasters, key rings, etc. is like taking a trip down memory lane. I tried my hand at crocheting during the pandemic and it’s not as easy as it looks, so I’m extremely happy that crochet is loved by people my age and that items made using this technique are being sold now .

Trendy but aesthetic

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Young musician Atharva Bhome, who is passionate about blue pottery, fascinated by the vibrant collection of pottery in Jaipur, says, “Blue pottery is quite aesthetic and appeals to people my age. While the young artisans here carry on the centuries-old tradition, they also make smaller, easy-to-use pieces like doorknobs, wall plates, soap-dispensing cups, and more. Another handicraft that I really liked is the Pattachitra paintings of Odisha and West Bengal and its history, but what makes them even more interesting is seeing them drawn on kettles, notebooks, laptop covers. laptops, among others.

Friendly and funky

A stall displaying vibrant gaamcha printed fabrics from West Bengal caught everyone’s eye not only for its brilliant checks but also for offering more than traditional cotton towels. Kalpana Das, a young artisan from the state, says she has worked with her group of weavers to turn humble traditional towels into fashionable caftans and crop tops because they are in high demand.

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“For a very long time, gaamcha was limited to only towels, sarees and lungs, but we try to follow trends and have transformed the fabric into dresses, bags, wallets, purses, jewelry, which are durable, light- light and fashionable, and most importantly economical,” says Kalpana, adding, “The small pieces are made from leftover fabric, which means there is no waste and they can be sold for as little as Rs 100-120 Turning gaamcha fabric into accessories not only makes the items accessible and affordable, but also helps young people to popularize them in cities.

Lots of inspiration to take

Steffi, a young designer, was floored by the riot of colors and intricate designs displayed at dozens of stalls that give a glimpse of India’s rich heritage in craftsmanship. She adds, “As a designer, when you see an art exhibit like this that is so dynamic, you have a lot of inspiration to inspire you. Everything is handmade and made with love, and it doesn’t makes you appreciate Indian loom and craftsmanship even more. You feel proud. I especially like the shell jewelry.”

Steffi adds, “Madhubani’s paintings are so intricate and they are not easy to achieve. As someone who is constantly looking for inspiration, the mix of craftsmanship here has certainly inspired me to incorporate them into my design aesthetic. .”

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Charu Verma of Dastakari Haat Samiti adds, “Often a huge Pattachitra painting or a shawl with intricate embroidery becomes expensive due to the amount of work and detail that goes into it, so when you put these designs on notebooks notes, bags, etc., anyone can own a work of art. We give our craftsmen design ideas after much research so that craftsmanship can become much more affordable and functional. There is something for every taste.