There is a buzz of excitement in the region of Kutch as Somaiya Kala Vidya prepares for the convocation and fashion show of this year’s design graduates on 9th January in the village of Bhujodi, just 9 km from Kutch’s capital, Bhuj. In my previous post I wrote about the jury. The awards the jury decided will be presented during the convocation, and select pieces of the graduates’ final collections will be modelled on the runway.
The graduates also got the chance to mingle with the Bombay craft and design enthusiasts and potential new clients at Artisans’ Gallery in Kala Ghoda for an exhibition of their collections from 21st – 23rd December. Each day different artisans presented their work which drew a captivated crowd. It was a learning experience for them all as they could learn the tastes of the Bombay clientele and see what sells best. Most of the graduates sold the pieces that were the best representations of their theme.
One student from this year’s batch, Pachan was doing job work before he enrolled on the SKV course. His father passed away when Pachan was just in class 7, so he and his brothers all had to work to earn the family income. Pachan left school, first to work in a factory and weave part time, and eventually returning to weaving for production full time.
The brother of Pachan, Purosattam, a weaver from Bhujodi graduated from Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya KRV in 2008, but their other brother, who took the role of family leader, was sceptical of KRV. He believed they should stick to the patterns and colours they had always used and didn’t see potential in a distant market. However seeing the success of Purosattam, and then seeing Pachan’s enjoyment and all-round development during the course made him change his tune and see the positive impact of the course. He even wove Pachan a personalised shirt with his logo ‘Three Threads’ woven onto the front pocket, which Pachan wore for the jury. They loved it (as did the rest of us)!
Pachan’s theme was Treasures of the Sea and he’d communicated this drawing fish and turtles into the pallu (the visible edges of stoles, dupattas and saris) using the distinctive Bhujodi extra weft technique. Combined with these were textures created using tie dyed yarns, gradations of tones of blues and greens and white. For a few stoles Pachan had combined bamboo with cotton or silk which has a lovely soft feel.
Bandhani artisan Saddik Khatri created a collection of silk georgette and gajji silk stoles and dupattas based on the theme Monsoon. Spirals of fine white dots against a deep blue created by skillfuly tying (a job the ladies do) to resist the dye (usually men’s work) represented drops of rain water creating circular ripples in a puddle, pond or lake.
Ajrakh artisan Mustafa had created home furnishings that innovatively combined traditional and contemporary compositions and patterns. He had created a very contemporary geometric square block which he’d printed in a variety of compositions and colours for bed sheets. Prints in his range of beautifully stiched and finished quilts had combined solid stripes of colour and simple triangle stripe patterns contrasting against more heavily patterned stripes, and with innovative uses of colour. His pieces effectively epitomised the theme of ‘Lifestyle of the King’.
Aslam Khatri had successfully grasped the concept of ‘rhythm’ as demonstrated in the Basic Design course, as well as ‘Positive and Negative’ space. He was inspired by handmade pottery and created some stunning saris. One contrasted bold blocks of colour against the dense geometric ajrakh patterns moving down the sari body in a zig zag pattern.
Sohel Khatri had used a masking technique to create bold rhythmic patterns against an all-over ajrakh print. He also combined new prints with old.
Bandhani artisan Rajjakh’s theme was Mela and this came across in his zingy colours and fun firework like patterns. Tala’s bandhani includes saris, stoles and dupattas as well as some cotton waistcoats based on his desert theme.
At the fashion show tomorrow, these pieces will be modelled on the runway along with some of the graduates of SKV’s business course held last year as well as the participants from the Bhujodi to Bagalkot outreach project and Faradi to Lucknow project (a collaboration of suf artisans in Kutch and chikankari artisans in Lucknow). It will be a huge and exciting event, so if you’re in the area do come along!
You can read the full profiles of these SKV graduates as well as previous years’ graduates here.