DESIGN BY INDIA
Caught My Eye : The Summer House, Gaatha Shop, Kara Weaves, Shramik Kala
In our daily lives, what objects do we reach out to and why – the ease of use vs the ease of care, perceived value of longevity vs the beauty of wear and tear, a juggling of price vs cost, things we save in a closet vs things we make part of our lives, Cotton vs Polyester, plastic vs wood – will it last long, will it stain, will it be worth it? These decisions often affect our buying decisions and ultimately what we surround ourselves with in our messy everyday tasks. There is much beauty in not saving the lovely things for a special day. Presenting a selection of products to enjoy using without holding them as being too precious to be a daily habit.
The Summer House
A collection of simple objects that one could effortlessly enjoy using. They seem created to be of use, to enhance the beauty of doing everyday things, to be a delight in the kitchen. The website states “The wood for our house wares is sourced from sustained plantations. 90% of our products are crafted by village folk.”
Everything that we do becomes tradition. So in that sense, it isn’t a fixed entity, rather an evolving one. And while, to grow and progress, we must continue to adapt and create new traditions, documenting what has been is a essential step in understanding the essence of that progress. The Gaatha project has been documenting Indian craft traditions and sharing it on the Gaatha blog creating a rich resource for all to benefit from. They’ve now gone a step further and started the Gaatha Shop which completes the story by offering those who appreciate crafts the opportunity to bring them into their daily lives.
Continuing on from the thoughts expressed above, the balance between saving traditional crafts yet bringing in new design influences to keep the work contemporary has always seemed a tricky balance to achieve. These towels seem reminiscent of Turkish hamaam towels and for me, although lovely to look at, do not externally evoke the familiar Kerala Torth I grew up using. Though internally, much like the Torth, each one is handmade on traditional wooden looms in Kerala, thereby supporting local craftspeople. Founded in 2008 by social anthropologist Indu Menon and graphic designer Chitra Gopalakrishna, Kara Weaves partners with local weaving co-operatives to design contemporary home textiles. A few pieces are available to buy in India, here. Hope to see a full-fledged website that caters to Indian buyers too. These towels and the traditional Torth are a far more effective everyday alternative for the Indian summer than the bulky western options.
“Shramik Kala is a collective of 400 Craftswomen from Rajankatti, Makelmardi, Kadoli, Hunnur, Telaganatti, Madanbhavi, and Chikoppa which are drought prone regions in the state of Karnataka. This collective was formed by Shramik Abhivrudhi Sangh, a local NGO which has promoted many craft-based, sustainable livelihood projects for women who had previously depended upon seasonal wage labor and migration to cities for work. Shramik Kala has nurtured the women to revive and master many of Northern Karnataka’s craft-traditions and techniques such as: indigo dyeing of the Neelgars, rope-twisting, folk-stitching and joinery of the Nadafs, vegetable tanning/dyeing of hides and leather-crafting of the Dhor and Samgar communities, wool-felting, spinning and kambal weaving techniques of sheepherding communities.The craftswomen now earn a livelihood by making high quality, naturally-dyed, hand spun, hand woven and non-woven bags from the natural fibres of jute, cotton, banana, mestha fibre, leather, and blended fabrics.”
How long do you reckon it must of taken the Mexican indigenous group “Huichol” to design and decorate this 1990s Volkswagen Beetle with beads and fabric? I reckon more than half a year.
The car’s name is “Vochol” and is a combination of “Vocho,” a popular term for Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico, and “Huichol”, a Mexican indigenous group. The Huichol community live in the states of Nayarit and Jalisco and are famous for their traditional beads and fabric craftsmanship. During an exhibition on Huichol culture at the Museum of Puebla, near Mexico City the tribe created this masterpiece which will be auctioned off after being exhibited in Paris and Berlin next year.