Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Project title:
To use the motifs designed by the 4 year graduates of KRV and make a collection of garments. Also make a production plan and marketing them.

Introduction to Kala Raksha
Kala Raksha was founded on artisan initiative in 1993 in the desert region of Kutch, India. Artisan initiative and their creativity continue to be the pillars of Kala Raksha's work.

The organization does not use production methods of having artisans fill up patterns created by professionals and stamped on cloth. Instead, each piece is created uniquely by an individual, who translates his imagination onto fabric.

The premise of Kala Raksha’s work recognizes that, the design of traditional work is a process of direct, intimate collaboration between creator and user. In 2005, Kala Raksha launched Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, the world’s first institution of design education for artisans. By now, four classes of artisans have graduated from KRV. Kala Raksha intends to utilize the artisan designed products as the basis of its 2010-11 collection.

Project brief:
In Kala Raksha, the designs are being made by the artisans of the Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya (KRV). The four classes of artisans graduated from KRV have given Kala Raksha a basket full of new designs. Constantly making newer patterns and not putting them in use is a loss for the organization. Instead, now we sit down to make a collection around the designs by the artisans and help boost their morale, confidence and also to be self sufficient and efficient.

The theme chosen by them is "Water, Earth and Air" because they want to raise awareness of environmental issues. The theme is also easy to relate to and should result in good colours and patterns. Kala Raksha was actually one of the pioneers in using natural fibres and colours.

The colours of the motifs can be changed to match the theme of Water, Earth and Air. Inclusion of samples utilizing men's crafts, produced through internships with Srishti students in this year's collection will be encouraged, to extend Kala Raksha's product range.

A workshop to develop garment patterns for the 2010-11 collections had been organized. Some of these patterns have been shortlisted for the collection. The project will include production of any additional products that seem necessary to make the collection coherent. This could be co-ordinating stoles and dupattas and shawls that can be sold separately too. The accessories are separate pieces designed by the KRV graduates.

They hope to launch the product line in Ahmedabad in November or December. They may also connect to the Ahmedabad Fashion Week.

Target audience – Primarily for working women

- 10 garment styles
- The garments are a mix of Indian and indo-western
- 5 accessories (individual pieces)

- Understand the market - Look at the customer’s requirements, product preference, budget, willingness to pay, value for handicraft, what they look for when they come to purchase.
- To profile the user so that I can define the age group, aesthetics and also the price.
- Understand the ground reality - work methods of the artisans, skill, importance of other livelihoods, problems faced at marketing level.
- Familiarize myself to the design processes and synectics of KRV.
- Study the samples made by the KRV graduates and segregate them according to ‘Water, Earth and Air’.
- Understand the use of the motifs.
- Plan colour ways according to the theme.
- Derive mood boards.
- Understand the possibilities and limitations of the processes involved and plan the designs accordingly.
- Use the samples/motifs on the garment patterns of KRV and organize the designs of the garments and accessories productively into a marketable collection.
- Start sampling on the shortlisted fabrics developed by previous interns.
- Make a production plan.
- Give a fresh look to the collection.

Research areas:
- Market research in relation to the target audience.
- Ground reality of the artisans. Their process, goals, aspirations.
- Identifying artisan’s potential.
- The processes involved - from the raw material till the market.
- Significance and evolution of the motifs used.
- How to evaluate and tap appropriate markets.

Materials and resources:
- Samples developed by the graduates of KRV
- Samples developed in a recent Museum inspired design workshop.
- Samples recently developed in a Srishti internship.
- Printing, dyeing and embroidery resources of Kala Raksha.
- Embroidery bank of Kala Raksha
- In-house artisans and staff of KRV
- Internet

Learning goals:
- To be sensitive and aware of the issues prevalent among artisans.
- To observe and understand the methods of working (crafts people and artisans).
- To explore different mediums and their appropriate use.
- Launching a product line in the real market scenario.
- Building on craft skills.
- Getting first hand ground level experience.
- The systems and processes to reach the final outcome.
- To understand the market and cater accordingly.
- To explore my imagination and combine it with someone else’s to produce something effective.
- To try and push my design skills to a level that can evoke some creativity.
- Learn, understand and adapt the evolution of motifs, colours and styles.
- To create a design bank/ technique bank with contemporary, market-friendly influences.

“Craft is not just a production process- merely a
mechanical, mindless, somewhat outdated form of
earning and employment. It is a rural woman’s
creative means to conquer her dessert landscape, and
the confines of her limited income-her way of
transcending the dependence and drudgery of her
arduous agrarian and domestic lifestyle. It is a creative
skill and strength that is uniquely hers-an individual
statement of her femininity, culture and being.”
- Laila Tyabi