After a break of three years, the popular Dastkari Crafts Bazaar is back in the city. Starting today, the bazaar at Kalakshetra will feature over 100 craftspeople from around the country. “We are happy to be back. The change of guard at Kalakshetra and their desire to give opportunities to other exhibitors is why we took the break,” says Jaya Jaitly, renowned social and political activist, and the force behind Dastkari Haat Samiti and DilliHaat.
Besides showcasing crafts like hand-woven textiles from Varanasi, terracotta from Kerala and Kani Sozni art from Kashmir, other highlights include various workshops—from wire toys to Madhubani paintings—and cultural performances.
With every bazaar, Jaitly tries to weave an extra dimension into the complex tapestry of Indian craftsmanship. This time, it’s three books—penned by her and published by the Samiti. “The bazaar will showcase books connected to the crafts and crafts connected to the books,” says Jaitly. And what’s more, at the bazaar you’ll get to meet many of the craftspeople featured in the books.
The first, Crafts Atlas of India, is a compilation of artistically designed ‘craft maps’ with chapters on the crafts of each state. The second, Crafting Indian Scripts, is based on Jaitly’s brainchild, the Akshara project. “We helped craftspeople to become literate, to learn and love their scripts. We then encouraged them to learn calligraphy and incorporate it into their craft,” says Jaitly.
The last book is The Artistry of Handwork, a small picture book that lists popular crafts from around the country—many of which are on sale at the bazaar.
At Kalakshetra Foundation, Thiruvanmiyur, from January 24 to February 2, 11 am to 9 pm. Entry fee: Rs20. Details: 24520836
- Surya Praphulla Kumar