Bringing us this month’s offering of all things handmade is the fifth edition of the Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar. Featuring arts and crafts like kani sozni from Kashmir, telia from Andhra Pradesh and hand woven textiles from Varanasi, the focus will be on traditional products with strong contemporary design inputs. “Of the over 100 artistes we are bringing down, around 30 will be new—and by that I mean new people who are doing traditional crafts in a slightly different and interesting way,” begins Jaya Jaitly, founder-president of Dastkari Haat Samiti, a national association of craftspersons and organiser of the bazaar.
Close on the heels as it comes to the recent outing at Dilli Haat—where, as part of the ‘Arts of Friendship’ initiative, Tibetan crafts people shared their expertise with their Indian counterparts—we wonder if something similar is in store for Chennai, too. “Unfortunately, lack of funds has constrained us. But there are ideas of bringing Sri Lanka’s batik experts down to work with kalamkari artisans here. I am also visiting Burma this year and a collaboration with them is something we could explore,” explains Jaitly.
Meanwhile, the Yarn Club is organising three talks (Feb 8-10, at 6 pm) at the venue, including The Royal Karuppur Textile by Bessie Cecil. Visitors can also participate in five painting workshops—madhubani, pattachitra, phad, gond and miniature painting (`300, Feb 9-13, 11 am to 2 pm). “Besides teaching the crafts, the artisans will also share their culture,” says Jaitly, adding that while here she will also be helping design permanent structures at Kalakshetra, which can be used to conduct cultural events. “For me, this will achieve the purpose of creating an environment for crafts in the city,” she signs off.
Rs 20. From February 6 to 15, at the Kalakshetra Foundation, between 11 am and 9 pm. Details: 24520836
Surya Praphulla Kumar