Indian handicrafts date back to the Indus valley civilisation and form an important economic and cultural asset. Crafts have always been closer to luxury throughout its glorious past however in recent times artisans have drifted towards the price conscious mass market, which essentially does not appreciate the excellence and workmanship of crafts. In most of the crafts artisans are marginalised, lack dignified wages, have poor negotiating power and recognition owing to low socio-economic status, and lack of finances as well as education.
Innovation has the capacity to become a means to improve the state of the artisans if they co-work with designers and retailers. Co-working requires levelling of all participants to respect each other’s contribution. The doctoral research conducted by me showed that vernacular design grammar-based education augmented with opportunities for artisans not only leads to economic empowerment but also social cohesion and recognition of creative instincts.
At Sangraha VCDF we create opportunities to engage artisans with artist for a mutual exchange a learning. To facilitate this, we organise art and design appreciation sessions for artisans. We anticipate that through these engagements in long run an artisan becomes confident of finding new opportunities for his craft practice.