My time at graduate school has reinforced my longstanding proclivity towards the crafts sector and its mirror image : aesthetics. It is not surprising that most, if not all, of my projects hinged on economic empowerment of artisans.When viewed through the prism of sustainability the ancient way of living is sensible and sustainable-products required for daily living made by locally sourced raw materials like clay, grass, metals, cloth besides, earning a person her/his livelihood. This we hear faint hues and cries for in today’s resource-strapped world.
What better than to start exploring, absorbing and understanding the nuances of the craft universe. I went looking for the Ilkal handlooms in Gadag, Karnataka.
Charming yellow carts and bicycles on wayside of the little town greet me.
Most of the handlooms have disappeared. But I did find some powerloom units.
This gentleman’s family owned about 100 handlooms and weavers worked with his family for generations.
He recounts how everybody took to powerlooms in the 80s to bask in the ‘promised’ increased output. What they did not factor was power cuts!
When power goes, which it does often and for long spells, the weavers go home, take a nap… and wander
As I leave, I catch sight of an artisan’s antique watch, sitting pretty and poignant, on his loom