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RANG

JASMEEN DUGAL  (click here to know more about this blogger)

When we talk of commitment to revival of dying or languishing handlooms and handicrafts, we believe that change is happening, right now, right here and that it can only go up. Through the vision of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Maharana Of Mewar to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Mewar, Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation initiated a traditional art and crafts workshop in 2007. This year's edition of RANG at Lakshmi Chowk, Zenana Mahal, City Palace Udaipur drew weavers, recycle experts, metal crafters, Phad painters and Tarkashi artists from far-flung parts of the nation — and showcased the diversity of cultural and traditional crafts. Intrigued, I spent time there with my friend Veronique Poles, and both of us bought silk jackets, indigo-dyed tunics, beaten copper candle-stands, engraved wooden bangle boxes and cotton scarves! I wanted to know the story of participants who made the effort of bringing their wares from far and near to join this exhibit committed to promote traditional craftsmen… it was fascinating and an example of Living Heritage.

 

From Mubarakpur, an ancient weaver cluster showcased handwoven saris renowned for its fine silk weave since the 14th century. ''We are twenty weavers, mostly family, who work together'' explained Mohd Juaib. This cluster is adept at weaving intricate motifs and borders on silk and silk cotton, using designs passed down generations. They practice the 'kadhua' handloom technique where each motif is woven into the fabric and 'meena work' where a single buta has three colours! Another participant Eco Hut, a not-for-profit social business, is the brainchild of young entrepreneurs Guddi Prajapat and partners WishAll Singh and Ritesh Shekhawat. Founded in 2014, it aims to create eco-friendly alternatives like Holi colours, bags and costume jewellery crafted with up-cycled waste. I loved the denim bag crafted from recycled denim! ''During Holi, most gulaal used is harmful for the skin and eyes. Our colours are made from beetroot, haldi and rajka powders'' she explained adding that they all work out of their homes. More power to Eco Hut!! The next stall ''Coppre'' was a favourite! Glistening handcrafted beaten copper candle-stands, platters and home decor. ''This is an age-old craft'' explained Yaduveer, adding ''we work with traditional metalworking artisans from a small settlement Tambat Ali who migrated to Pune in 17th century under the royal patronage of the Peshwas. They beat copper to make artillery, royal seals and utensils. When the British regime replaced the Peshwas, these artisans faded into obscurity. A few, perhaps 80, still practiced this living heritage, not knowing what to do with the craft they had inherited. That's why we started Coppre. To reconstitute and revive. And to breathe new life into our heritage'' he said, adding that he was delighted to be at World Living Heritage Festival.'' He pointed to a bedside carafe and mentioned it was a bestseller. ''Every homemaker knows the medicinal properties of copper vessels, tumblers and carafes so we make copper products modern and appealing.'' Inspiring! Mala Sinha's label Bodhi is famous for hand-printed natural fabrics. ''Each sari is started from scratch, with dyes applied with brushes before designs are hand-painted and block printed,'' explains one of the first graduates from National Institute of Design. Her saris are made in a sustainable process: the workshop uses harvested rainwater, solar power and recycles water. Baroda, where Bodhi's workshop is based, is a place of agrarian prosperity; many of the women who do embroidery and block-print are wives of sabjiwallahs and auto-drivers. Mala hates to see fabric go waste, so leftover fabric is made into bags, batuas and embroidered onto stoles. How could I not resist buying a batua and stole after hearing this?

 

In conclusion, Rang at World Living Heritage Festival is bringing urban awareness in traditional craftsmen and helping them to be self-sustaining, which contributes to collective cultural heritage. There is also lack of consumer awareness about the art of traditional weavers and artisans and this is a significant step towards bridging that gap. I look forward to some pure retail therapy in the next edition!!
 

RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
Veronique Poles shops at 'Coppre'
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
Vrinda Raje Singh shops at 'Coppre'
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
My Favourite Stall -- and I almost bought EVERYTHING there!
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
'Millets Of Mewar' sets up shop!
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
Gulaal, on the occassion of Holi, made with beetroot powder by 'Eco Hut'.
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
Denim bag made with with up-cycled waste at Eco Hut!
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
Behind The Scenes! This is how it's made at ECO HUT...!
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
ECO HUT's Workshop in Mollala about crafting bags! Then, they reach us!!
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
My Shopping from 'Coppre'
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
More Of My Shopping from 'Coppre'
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
Mala Sinha's label Bodhi is famous for hand-printed natural fabrics!
 
RANG 2016, ETERNAL MEWAR
Shopping At RANG 2016
 
03-APRIL-2016
 
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