Design Feature > Daksha’s Varanasi
Dakshayini Gowda is a remarkable woman. And what I have here is just a thread from the ingenuous fabric she’s weaving for society. Her efforts come together in ‘Sanchali’ which she set up to work towards two ends; to create avenues for financial dependence for rural women, and to demystify history for children by creating musuems they could touch, interact with, even help set up, in their own schools. One of the works that came out of her organisation Sanchali’s work with women in Karnataka was ‘Varanasi’ – a collection of jewelry recycled from scrap Banarasi material. The result is so beautiful and elegant that it makes me want to own an entire jewelry box of them.
On the inspiration: Handed down for many generations without any training, Indian grandmothers have creatively conjured up designs and crafts out of everyday excess scrap materials like broken bangle fragments, textile scrap, seeds etc. A lost tradition in today’s world of recycling plastics and other man-made wastes, salvaging natural remnants, like tree bark shed during seasonal changes, as sources of artistic mediums, is a dying trade. Not only saving artisans a trip to the market for art supplies, but also these mother-earth provisions are readily available at no cost at all. Inspired by this novel system of waste management which is part of our age old tradition, my goal is to revive this dying tradition lost to modernization as well as encouraging art novices and connoisseurs to draw upon their proclivity for nature.
On this collection: Varanasi. The legendary city at the banks of the mighty Ganga River. For ages this place has been radiating a strong mystical image both within India and the west, marveled for its never-resting life around Mother Ganga where Religion melts into Magic, as well as for the traditional Banarasi hand-woven Silks. This Collection aims at bringing to you along with a small piece of this precious material, a small piece of the age-old magic of this holy and genuine piece of Varanasi.
My intention is to recycle this precious material to the fullest, using leftover that is thrown by tailors, weavers or an old sari which is out of use. These scraps are transformed into work of art or an expression of the craftsmen of today. This jewellery is sequenced with stone, glass, clay beads. Or bark of a tree, wood or seed which are naturally found to add to the aesthetics of the craft in its traditional way. Still adhering to the authenticity and aesthetics of the product, the jewellery is uniquely designed and created out of recycled material from nature while its exterior packaging imparts an educational message to its consumers. My goal is to revive this dying tradition lost to modernization as well as encouraging art novices and connoisseurs to draw upon their proclivity for nature.
On Sanchali: ‘Sanchali’ means movement in Sanskrit and aims to be a bridge between past civilisations and modern day living. This project is based on the historic arts and crafts from various periods. It attempts to revive traditional Indian art forms as well as shatter the “stuffy” image of museum-learning by taking the museum experience out to a more public domain. Sanchali conducts workshops in both rural and urban areas. It’s mission is that every school should have a space where viewers can touch and engage with artifacts and be involved with museum development. Sanchali also works with rural women to teach them life skills that give them financial independence and confidence. The Varanasi collection is produced by village women in Karnataka with design inputs from Daksha. This project has become a livelyhood project for these women.
Dakshayini Gowda is a designer + museologist + archaeologist from MSU Baroda and runs Sanchali. You could also write to her on sanchali(dot)in(at)gmail(dot)com
Thank you Raina.
Filed under: Indian Craft, Indian Product Design | 49 Comments
Tags: Banarasi, Dakshayini Gowda, Earrings, Sanchali, Varanasi, Waste fabric
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