Pandemic has made craftspeople go digital: Iti Tyagi, Founder, Craft Village


Iti Tyagi, the founding father of Craft Village, a Delhi-based social organisation that trains and promotes craftsmen and iconic craft heritage, has been serving to artisans to straight provide craft gadgets to companies around the globe. She additionally organises the annual India Craft Week. This yr’s occasion is important because the pandemic has worn out the livelihoods of artisans they usually have nice hopes the occasion will assist them earn some cash, Tyagi tells Varuni Khosla in an interview. Edited excerpts:

How has the pandemic affected craftspeople?

Crafts have been a significant a part of the journey and tourism business. Artisans normally earn by means of occasions and actions in non-public reveals or at public locations like native haats, melas and bazaars. All these have been worn out because of the pandemic.

The actual worth of craft merchandise lies of their bodily look, not like branded merchandise which have some perceptual belief. When a buyer meets artisans, a belief is constructed that they belong to the unique neighborhood that practices that craft and they’re making genuine merchandise. This was absent. While some did strive promoting on-line, most individuals nonetheless favor to purchase merchandise straight from artisans after having met them, figuring out their methods and tales or contexts. The whole enterprise got here to a halt through the lockdown.

How many artisans might be a part of this yr’s occasion?

The India Craft Week’s third chapter has been deliberate with greater than 100 artisans which is by far our largest delegation of artisans. In 2018, 30 craftspeople participated, which elevated to 50 in 2019. Craftspeople are becoming a member of us from throughout India. There may even be workshops, symposiums and reveals of masters’ works, amongst others. The occasion is about kick-starting the method of livelihood once more for these practising the crafts.

Does an occasion like this assist craftspeople generate substantial earnings?

It helps in producing earnings that’s enough sufficient for them to work for six months to a yr, with direct gross sales and enterprise orders.

In 2018, they reported that they collectively did a direct sale of Rs 2.7 million and acquired orders price Rs 2.2 million. In 2019, their direct gross sales have been Rs 6.4 million they usually acquired orders price Rs 4.5 million. Pre-pandemic, the YoY development was over 100%.

We take knowledge from artisans and types on the finish of the time period, spot gross sales and future orders put collectively. So these figures are for each business-to-business purchasers in addition to direct promoting to prospects.

Brands that cope with the craft sectors additionally get main orders from Indian and abroad purchasers. In 2018, it was Rs 8.42-81.71 million. These have been the indicative gross sales and orders figures shared by the individuals that yr. All this earnings era helps in employment era.

But this yr, we’re centered on reviving the sector. Seeing the pandemic, now we have solely invited some manufacturers, together with Aadyam Handwoven, Craft Beton, designer Rahul Mishra, Manish Saksena Sarees, RARE India, Haute Monde, Aashima Mehrotra, SOIN and Save The Loom. They will all current like in a gallery and never like a commerce present, to reconnect with consumers.

Are there some particular artisans collaborating this yr?

Tejsibhai Dhanabhai from Kutch. He specialises in Kharad, a uncommon artwork type that weaves mats and carpets utilizing superb hair from goats wool after which dyes it in vegetable colors. His is the final household doing this. The uncommon craft type that’s virtually on the verge of extinction was introduced into the limelight in 2018.

Are there comparable success tales from different components of India?

Due to a lower in demand and shrinking winter durations, the artwork of creating pashmina shawls is changing into endangered. Majid Mir has labored in the direction of innovating a misplaced method. He checked out various makes use of of pashmina weaving, like making it usable for clothes, residence linen and furnishings as nicely. Majid has acquired orders not simply from India, but in addition from China and Japan in 2019. This has elevated work orders and employment in areas close to Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Pulwama.

What is particular about this yr’s craft presenters?

A listing of recent crafts has been added from throughout India — like papier mâché by Fayaz Ahmad Jan and Zahid Hussain from Srinagar and meenakari by Inder Singh Kudrat and Manjeet Kaur from Jaipur. We even have brass engravings by Dilshad Hussain and Rehaan Ali from Moradabad. There are sandalwood carvings by Kamlesh Jangid and Vinod Kumar Jangid from Jaipur, amongst others.

Do craftspeople pay to be a part of this occasion?

None of the craftspeople are charged for the occasion. Rather, the ICW helps them for every part — from journey to remain to meals. We additionally do not take commissions from craftspeople after they straight promote on the occasion.

In the post-pandemic world, are the craftspeople performing some issues completely different?

They have began to succeed in out to varied businesses, organisations and corporations by means of digital means utilizing social media, WhatsApp and e-mail databases which have been earlier not thought of of a lot use. They have began to relate their product tales by means of stay periods on social media. Some have additionally enrolled with main ecommerce platforms to arrange on-line retailers. They have developed e-catalogues. A number of of them even developed even their very own web sites.

Many of those communities are seeing extra exercise digitally, however the irony remains to be that as they’re principally based mostly in rural areas, connectivity turns into an enormous problem.

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