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Crafts in Retail

Design, Designers, Markets, Marketing, Trade

Crafts in Retail: The Kamala Experience

Rai, Purnima

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Only  a few centuries ago, in  pre-industrialised India , almost everything that served a purpose in daily life was made by hand using simple tools and locally available raw materials.  Ranging from utilitarian products to highly decorated and complex ones, the staggering diversity was a result of the creative interplay between form and function, between material and process and between meaning and expression. A variety of influences which included climatic conditions, religious and cultural beliefs, availability of raw materials and a definitive aesthetic were the matrix out of which sprang this vast multitude of objects made for clothing, ornaments, personal decorations, ritual and votive offerings, the built environment and much else. The cycle of making and usage was perfected over several hundreds of years in a number of different ways.The gathering together of artisans in markets in villages was perhaps one of the earlier systems . It was usually held in specified locations and provided a pre-determined point of exchange. The sale was made directly from maker to consumer and would probably have included the barter system of trading . Interestingly, this system continues to this day both in rural and urban areas and the volume of business transacted in some of these markets can be quite substantial. In contrast, during the Moghul period a large section of handcrafted production was organised in workshops which produced highly embellished and decorative articles as well as textiles mainly for the use of the royalty and the aristocracy. Paintings, woodwork, jewe...

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