The Monsoon Collective


The Monsoon Collective did see its share of a light drizzle towards Sunday evening! I was lucky to have done my share of seeing, learning and shopping before the rains could drench my camera or me(yes, in that order!). Organized at NIFT, it saw an omnium gatherum of Indian crafts and textiles.

DSC_0500Welcoming us to the ‘A Hundred Hands’ exhibition was a stall by Kuprkabi, a ceramic design studio. I got to see some unique creations in clay, and learnt that they also help in the upliftment of craft communities and participate in ceramic awareness programmes.

Clay Doll
WooHoo! I’m at the Monsoon Collective!
Palm leaves turned into beautiful birds
Earrings done in the Tatting technique
Earrings done in the Tatting technique

Tatting is an ancient lace making technique, involving the use of a shuttle to create intricate patterns and is time intensive. Kalavishkar’s stall saw a display of earrings made using this technique as well as other handmade artifacts such as tatted dreamcatchers and cross-stitch wall frames.

Purna Chandra Ghosh, presented his work on the ‘Pipli Applique Technique‘. Originating in the town of Pipli, Orissa; it is a type of patchwork well known for its geometric designs, stylized birds and animals cut out of brightly colored cloth and sewn on contrasting backgrounds.

The colorful 'Piple Applique'
The colorful ‘Piple Applique’

I have always found the art of Pattachitra intriguing. Pattachitra  is derived from ‘Patta’ – Canvas and ‘Chitra’ – Painting and mainly based on Hindu Mythology. I got an opportunity to interact with the chitrakars(artisans) and they showed me how the paintings are done. I etched figures onto the special canvas strips and then applied a coating of kajal(kohl) onto the area. Washing the canvas later removed the kajal from the canvas, leaving it behind in the etched portions.

Pattachitra depicting Indian Mythology and The Tree of Life
Pattachitra depicting Indian Mythology and The Tree of Life
Pattachitra on hand-held fans

There was then a collection of stalls that seemed to collectively represent the state of RajasthanLeather bags, jackets and the ethnic jewelry, it was all there.

Rajasthani jewelry
Ethnic Rajasthani jewelry, featuring large silver pendants and colorful threads.
Jaipuri Leather Bags with Ari embroidery
Jaipuri Leather Bags with Ari embroidery

Rajasthani Jewelery

Rajasthani Lambani Jewelery
Rajasthani Lambani Jewelery

Ikat, Khadi and cottons found a representation in the form of running fabric, sarees and contemporary wear. We got to see Kalamkari, Miniature Mughal Paintings and Sanjhi Paper cutting work as well.

Handloom Ikat Sarees from Orissa
Handloom Ikat Sarees from Orissa
Ajrakh block-printed fabric
Ajrakh block-printed fabric – double sided with a top-facing Rayon and bottom-facing cotton.
Books with covers in Madhubani paintings
Books with covers in Madhubani paintings
Metal Wires and Cycles
Metal Wires bend to create a cycle
Parrots perched on handmade baskets
Parrots perched on handmade baskets

The slubbed texture of the fabric at Malkha is seen because of the use of traditional Indian cotton growing and weaving techniques, encouraging local farmers in the development of a sustainable industry. The feel of the fabric here was indeed nice and different in comparison to the mass-manufactured cotton we usually see.

The Monsoon Collective
Kalamkari on Malkha fabrics alongside dyed yarn.

We ended the day with a papdi-chaat, and took back some really beautiful things. As I walked out, I saw a banner that read ‘Support Handmade’. It was something that I had missed while entering. This made me draw a comparison – It is really important to understand the time and craftsmanship that goes into handmade, before you really understand the true meaning of ‘Support Handmade’. I happened to understand it more after I met the artisans, spoke to them and saw their work. The techniques have been passed on for generations and weeks are spent into making each piece.

Go out there and explore India’s art and craft and ‘Support Handmade’.

I loved photographing the exhibition! I have so many more pictures, I will soon be adding them to ClosetDance! Do head over and have a look! 🙂


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