July 29, 2021 5:00:19 pm
Before the pandemic struck, Delhi-based designer Kalpana Das used to travel across the country for exhibitions and events. But for the past 18 months, the 30-something has been home, trying out new designs and samples, and making masks and supplying to online platforms in an effort to get some work for her artisans in West Bengal’s Murshidabad, who usually work with the gamcha fabric.
Making garments, bags, jewellery and other fashion accessories from the fabric, Das is now using the same material to create rakhis. Last year, the Dastkari Haat Samiti gave her order for a certain number of rakhis.
All over the country, artisans have been among the worst hit over the last 18 months and organisations like Dastkari are stepping up to do their bit.
Afsana, a bead jewellery artist from Uttar Pradesh’s Salai, has been told to create a few samples for rakhis, using raw material from Delhi’s Kinari barzaar, Dariba and Sadar Bazaar. “As many as 15 of our artisan groups have rediscovered themselves through rakhis, which are now available through our online channels, including social media and the website. The best part is that these rakhis have ornamental value and can be used beyond the festival, as an armlet or a bracelet,” says Jaya Jaitly, founder of Dastkari Haat Samiti.
One of them is wood carving artist Neeraj Bondwal from Haryana’s Bahardurgarh. His father has been making rakhis for the last 40 years and he learnt the art from him. Usually participating in different exhibitions at Dilli Haat and Surajkund under the aegis of Dastakri Haat Samiti, Bondwal has been working from home since last year. He has been making rakhis since June. Belonging to a family of traditional wood carvers, he sources wood from the local market and is using it in innovative ways to create organic rakhis ahead of the festival, which falls on August 22.
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