A Sri Lankan design collaboration adds drama to the annual Dastkari Haat.
For 12 years, Jaya Jaitly and her Dastkari Haat Samiti, a national association of artisans, have been collaborating with craftspeople from around the world—including places like South Africa and Egypt—to encourage creativity. She recalls how a workshop with Vietnam helped kite makers from Uttar Pradesh. “Our people were making paper kites that often tore, but in Vietnam, we found artisans who painted on cloth. After working together, we developed fine organdy cloth kites, and strung together different designs and colours to make lovely hanging mobiles. So instead of the old kites that they sold for Rs 20, they are now selling these for Rs 600,” shares Jaitly, a proud smile in her voice.
A similar collaboration will begin tomorrow, at the sixth edition of the city’s annual Dastkari Haat, between Sri Lankan and Indian designers. “This is the first collaboration we are conducting in Chennai. There is an old association with Sri Lanka, so it came together quite seamlessly,” says the Delhi-based founder-president, adding that people can watch the workshops and buy the new creations. For those who’d like to get more hands-on, there are other workshops being planned, for patachitra, madhubani and gond painting.
While over 110 artisans will be showcasing arts and craft like bead work from Madhya Pradesh and hand-woven textiles from Varanasi, also look out for nine Sri Lankan craftspeople displaying batik, wooden masks, lacquer toys and lace. “This time, we’ll also have Chhau dancers and Baul singers from Bengal,” concludes Jaitley.
Till October 2, between 11 am and 8 pm, at the Kalakshetra Foundation. Workshops from September 26-29, 2-5 pm. Rs 600 per person.
— Surya Praphulla Kumar