-The exhibition was organized in Air conditioned hall.
-Thanks to a haat type layout of the exhibition/sale, a good size of products could be exhibited in limited space.
-Centralized counter offered purchase through credit card. I saw this for the first time in any handicraft exhibition/sale.
-As every product had a price tag attached, those like us who have no bargaining skill could do a shopping without worrying.
-Similarly the fix rate regim ensured reasonable payment to the handicraft workers.
-Most of them, present there to sell their products were handicraft workers, and not middlemen.
-There were some live shows of artists making handicraft products.
-Generally, the range of handicraft products don’t offer variety, however in this exhibition lots of new innovative handicraft products were seen.
-Like a mochi(shoemaker) from Kutch had also made lamps using leather, or women of Chhota Udepur had made wallets to keep credit card/visiting card.
-Similarly there were wall frames available for sale showcasing precious piece of textile inside.
-Pieces produced by blending of modern textile and traditional handicraft work over it were superb.
-A Kutchi carpet seller said that there are now only four old-age carpet makers left in Kutch. He said that new generation is not interested in learning the lengthy process of making traditional carpet. It is because it takes a long time to make a carpet through traditional practice, and youngsters are impatient. He also said that the limitation in producing traditional Kutchi carpet is that the bulk order can not be satisfied immediately. “One hotelier came and said he wanted Kutchi traditional carpet for 100 rooms of his hotel, but we couldn’t supply him, because only four artists can not produce such a number of carpet even in few years.”
-We also met one handicraft artist who makes carpet from camel wool. He had showcased it and was sitting over it(watch the photo). He was also showcasing a carpet made by goat wool. He said that these types of carpet can be weaved only by hand and not through any machine. He was complaining that there are no takers of such product and therefore the skill will not survive for long.
-Small kathputlis wearing Kutchi traditional dress, handicraft paper weight, diary, files, wallets, decorative items, there were number of things that were seen here for the first time.
-One interesting stall was ‘Viveka’, a brand name of handicraft products. Here were a collection of wonderfully designed handicraft bags, ornaments and other products. Each product was designed in most-modern outlook, with enchanting colors and wonderful handicraft work embedded over it. A woman volunteer told us that they hire designers to design a product. She said that few handicraft worker women were called from Kutch to train the women of tribal Chhota Udepur area. The tribal women of Chhota Udepur successfully adopted the skill of Kutch and now are involved in handicraft work.
The handicraft exhibition put the products of rural artisans before the richest of the rich people of western Ahmedabad. The sale was high and our rural chap were happy when the left the place after three-day exhibition.
One Kutchi artisan told me, “AC ni aadat laagi gayi, ee khotu thiyu.”
I replied: “Pan AC ni aadat vaalaa tamaaraa aartistoni chijo levaa aavtaa thayaa e saaru thayu.”
By Japan K Pathak, Ahmedabad, 29 March 2012
jay garvi gujarat