Feast your senses for five days on all things handmade — from clothes, toys, home décor, folk art, vintage craft, food and more — at The Handmade Collective that starts December 3
Weavers, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child
– Sarojini Naidu
Linking two of the most ancient traditions, craft and poetry, the fifth edition of The Handmade Collective brings to life poems onto clothes, baskets, lamps, toys, and every conceivable form of all things handmade.
“The whole idea of having poetry as a theme was to spark creativity and get people to do some research before they start their work. Artisans are creative people. When you look at Kabir as a weaver-poet, a whole lot of ideas flow from there. Or people tend to do what they always have been doing,” says Mala Dhawan, co-founder and trustee, A Hundred Hands, which organizes the Collective annually. A Hundred Hands is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a community platform for people and artists interested in handcrafted and recycled products and revive the joy and beauty of handcrafted work, and bring back the simple form of life. Artisans and consumes can interact directly at this mela. Artists themselves get to collaborate between each other.
On display and sale will be a range of garments and accessories, home décor and gardenware, toys, food and gifts drawn from across the country, put together by over 70 artists. Almost half of them are individual crafters, while the other half of participants are NGOs and self help groups. Weaves, patchwork, handmade jewellery, natural dyes, folk arts, wood and stone carvings, metalware, block prints, paper craft, crochet, cross-stitch and other vintage crafts are some highlights, says Mala. Almost 15 artists are from Karnataka, including those from Bengaluru, Dharwad, Belagavi, Sandur and Melkote.
Some of the artists have composed their own poems and created collections around them. Some, who work with children’s garments and toys have taken to nursery rhymes and children’s stories, a group of basket weavers from West Bengal have themed their baskets on poems on the marigold, grown in abundance in their region. Thee are miniature Mughal paintings based on kings who have supported poets, notes Mala.
National-award winning master craftsmen, numbering 12, and continuing family traditions of pashmina with sozni embroidery, block printing, sanjhi paper-cutting and Kalamkari work, pattachitra and phad painting traditions will be participating as much as modern urban karigars who make products like khadi and Channapatna art. Building a “Poet Tree” is also part of the plan — people will be invited to create anything from scrap to put up on the tree; original poems on the theme of handmade will also be invited. Bangalore-based poetry group, Let Poetry Be, led by Amruta Dongray will give a talk and hold a discussion linking poetry and craft. During poetry reading sessions there will be a demo of encaustic art, a Mediterranean art form using hot wax and an iron box.
Children are integral to the programme and the annual “Dirty Your Hand” segment will very much be there, assures Mala. There is a section open through the day with traditional board games, origami workshops, sing-along sessions, treasure hunts.
Homemade food is another draw at the Collective.
The Handmade Collective will be on from December 3 to 7, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at St Andrew’s Church, Cubbon Road (Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.) Check >the website for details.