India Craft Week (ICW), which started last year, endeavours to bring hand-crafted products to the forefront by bridging the gap between local artisans and customers from around the globe. In its second year now, ICW will be held at Aerocity, New Delhi from 4-8 December. More than 150 participants, including brands, designers, artisans, performers and eminent personalities are expected to participate in the five-day event.
Sessions by master craftsmen, 25 rare and exclusive workshops by Padma Shri and National Award winners in the fields of textiles, ceramics, paintings, stone carving, metalwork and more, as well as unique displays by some of the finest brands, organisations and individuals in the crafts industry, are all part of this year’s interesting itinerary.
Organisers of ICW intend to bridge the gap between traditional crafts and the modern retail industry, and to provide a common platform for craftspeople to promote their innovative and indigenous ideas.
Iti Tyagi, founder, ICW, started this initiative with an aim to celebrate the fine artistry of hand-made crafts, and to connect traditional artisans and global buyers/consumers, bringing them all on the same platform. She told Guardian 20, “I came up with the idea of creating ICW to position crafts from just being ‘mediocre’, to ‘aspirational and desired’, by bringing together international community and buyers who value them, and by presenting new imagery of the exotic and rare hand-crafted forms to the world at large.”
ICW is dedicated to bringing the various crafts of India on a single platform in a contemporary and collaborative manner. It is the only platform in India that fuses tradition with modernity.
Talking about the sustainable nature of ICW, Tyagi said, “With time the world has become conscious about sustainable, organic and ethic products. However, most of the people have forgotten that these are the characteristics our crafts have imbibed for decades and centuries. Hence, ICW brings back the focus on methods, processes and materials that are sustainable and organic, and have been part of our culture for thousands of years.”
She hopes that the initiative would “benefit millions of craftsmen in the long run, and would bring tangible value to the crafts sector”.
The second edition of ICW is being organised to build an ecosystem of new ideas, designs and innovative products. The highlights of this year’s event include Pashmina products curated by the National Award winner Majid Mir, who has the finest weaving techniques in Urdu calligraphy; blue pottery urinals inspired by Duchamp’s Fountain of 1917, which brings the most iconic design of ceramic urinal into its blue pottery pieces. For the first time in history, this technique is being attempted on a urinal with an idea to bring nature and sustainability together.
Some other attractions include an exhibition of India’s most iconic lost techniques, like “Camel Belt” braiding, miniature pottery button (a fusion of intermediate with miniature pottery), Chamba Rumal Partition Screens (an amalgamation of painting, and intricate thread and needle work curated by Lalita Vakil and Bidriware made by legendary Muzzafar Ali), and many more.
This year, ICW is also hosting several unique workshop sessions, like Craft Workshops, Craft Rare, Craft Panorama, Craft Luxe, Craft Installations, Craft Symposium and Craftscape for everyone to learn from the experts.
“The initiative has been taken to educate children in their formative years to understand the importance of crafts in nation-building, livelihood, social inclusion and sustainable culture besides giving a major source of employment to millions of people,” informed Tyagi.
In May this year, the London Craft Week (LCW) invited Craft Village to host the India Craft Week Preview at Nehru Centre in London. The event witnessed heavy footfall, making it one of the most successful events by LCW.
Tyagi said, “Showcasing rare craft forms of India, ranging from Chamba and Kantha weaves and traditional paintings to clay and pottery, has created a new benchmark for Indian craftsmanship.”