Students try their hand at traditional crafts

Designing Leatherware

What could have been a better way to educate designing students about the traditional crafts of the country by making them directly learn the art under the guidance of craftsmen? 

Students of Sushant School of Design, Ansal University, Gurgaon, recently had a hand-on experience of Leather Craft and Embroidery of Gujarat, at a four-day workshop. 
 
A tradition practised by the community of ‘Meghwals’ of Kutch, Gujarat, the workshop on leather craft and embroidery was conducted by Meru Devraj, an award winning craftsman. 
 
“I am honoured to be part of this workshop as I am getting an opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with the coming generation of designers. In this era, Indian traditional art forms are losing their relevance and the main cause is unavailability of the techniques and knowledge. Through this workshop students will learn about the rich and vibrant Indian culture,” says Meru Devraj.

Notably, leather craft and embroidery is a skilled process using the hide of camels and goat in their natural hues or stained using natural dyes. 

While the Gujarati men conceptualise the specific patterns and colours, women contribute by enhancing the variety of products by their intricate embroidery, rich mirror work and bead work resulting in stunning products like mirror frames, purses, mojris, fans, saddles etc. 
 
Traditional leather crafting continues in craft villages such as Nirona and Hodka in Gujarat.
 
Divya Arora, IInd year student of designing sounded excited about the workshop. 
 
“It was a learning experience. We worked with the craftsmen and understood their work. Thereafter, we made our own items like cushion and coasters by using the same technique,” says Divya.
 
According to Prof. Mike Knowles, Dean, Sushant School of Design, “Indian traditional crafts are losing their charm and there is a need to revive this art form by creating awareness amongst youngsters who are the future of design. Under the expert guidance of a master craftsman like Meru Devraj, the students got a golden opportunity to understand this art form.”

Professor Promil Pande, the brain behind the workshop, said, “The workshop is an attempt to familiarise the young designers with various art forms which exist in our country. We hope to encourage our students to use these art forms more and more in 
their works.”

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