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Vikram Singh, a gold medallist designer from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, reveals his undying passion for the Dokra craft used for making jewellery and artefacts. He began working on Dokra and Bidri in 2005. Designing, he says, is the easiest of jobs. By connecting himself with the Craft to Jewellery project and singularly handling the Dokra project with Hemant Shah. Singh would like to see the crafts hitched on a sustainable model. "When I began work on Dokra and Bidri. I realised that the designs employed to make jewellery were stuck in time; they needed to be styled in a manner that appealed to the consumer.

"After a couple of workshops. we saw the way we could tweak the crafts without challenging them.
Bamboo has its own geometry. and Bidri has its own dos and don'ts. We made a couple of products to showcase it to the three top jewellers. What we did was give certain guidelines, how to balance the look, match non-precious with precious materials. After which. each one handled the jewellery in its own inimitable style, Each of their pieces tells a story. There is space in the market to sell these innovative products; all you require is the philosophy, passion and ability to convert it into a sale.


Mumbai-based Rupali Gupta, a design and accessory consultant, is a graduate of NWT Delhi. Rupali was part of the first session in Delhi during the World Crafts Council. The panel headed by Shimul Vyas. including Rupali and other designers, got together to understand the potential strengths and limitations of various crafts that could be integrated with fine jewellery, The main question was how would the artisans and designers come on the same page to produce a finely, finished piece of jewellery? "Lot of quality input was given by us to karigars, It was a collective done by all of us. I was involved for Bidri till its last stages. Transferring of knowledge was my job. The project has produced some awesome results and I am sure it will appeal to customers. It is a lot about story-telling, and playing on the emotional value. Having such programmes will in the long run. We cannot expect quick results. It will take some time to popularize these crafts as they require sustained efforts by all. To do that, communicating with the consumer is key. Bringing in new product lines on the shelves yell, help consumers learn about different crafts that are either unheard of or not seen as an integral element in fine jewel  C
sell on their own steam. Today, handcrafted jewellery is the stuff of luxury abroad.

Devika Krishnan, founder, Studio Sattva and Arthouse, teaches art and design to A graduate in industrial design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. she has designed and developed products and technology for various industries like Parryware, Palam Potteries, Good Earth and Titan Industries and NGOs including Dastkar. New Delhi, Dastkar Ranthambore, OXFAM and the Crafts Council of India.

Devika played a mediator's role in the Craft to Jewellery project. She interfaced between the artisans groups and the jewellery houses associated with the programme. "Artisans don't understand the finesse required in fine jewellery. while the fine jewellery sector doesn't understand the culture of the handicraft sector says Devika. "My job was to bring the distinctly different but correlated segments together to work harmoniously. Another endeavour was to bring everyone on the same page. It was a challenge to explain to fine jewellery designers about how bamboo should be treated, and alter the design to suit the material. On the other hand, artisans come with their own egos. and at first. they were refusing to move out of their towns and villages as they work better when they are in their comfort zone. Quadri saab, (Shah Rasheed Ahmed Quadri. a nationally renowned Bidri artist). had to be cajoled to come to Mumbai and Jaipur from Bidar. Bamboo handicraft experts from Guwahati, Aparna Das and Kuki Biswas, both daughters of a master artisan. came specially to work with the jewellers. It was important for them to come where the actual jewellery was being made so that they could see three-dimensional designs on computers, sit with designers and understand how to technically blend bamboo with silver or gold."

The other problem was to scale down or miniaturise the jewellery. "Most artisans are used to making artefacts with bigger dimensions,- explains Devika. "Scaling down the dimension to millimetres to fit into jewellery was a huge challenge. Once we got the scale right, we had to work on how bamboo would fit into fine jewellery. We had to make a casing out of bamboo that was woven and flattened on a bracelet on which gold was used, We needed different shades of bamboo so we dyed it with katha. tea and coffer,

"Bringing    the worlds together was my job in order to give shape to some beautiful jewellery. The vocabulary of the material and the design on paper had to be woven together seamlessly to translate the concept into reality. Taking the project forward, I needed to create a template to accommodate several people in the future. It was challenging but a very interesting journey,"

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