Designing Freedom

Design, Designers, Recycling, Upcycling, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Designing Freedom

Kasturi, Poonam Bir

"Craft is an antiquated way of producing goods, I don't see why Indians need to waste time preserving crafts when more important issues like poverty, corruption and education demand attention" - a participant at a recent meeting on craft, design and technology.

The same participant believed that technology was the primary tool that could help solve the issues of craft in India. In his view, a romantic preoccupation with history as embedded in crafts would do nothing to help chart the nation's future directions. He postulated his defense with an aggressive question: "Ask any craftsperson if he wants his child to continue being a craftsperson?" Another posed the efficiency argument - "What is the need to have primitive patterns of production in this day and age - why should cloth take so much effort to weave when we have easier, faster, cleaner ways of making it?" So, what to do? "I think the only thing we can do is turn this (crafts) into a tourist attraction - make some money by 'branding' craft, culture and local wisdom". As a parting shot - "I do like beauty and admire the human endeavor of using hand skills to create. But, give me a break; most of the stuff in the emporia is kitsch. As a discerning Indian, I have to either go to a fancy designer shop or abroad to buy a great craft product." There were, however, also those with positive voices. Even though they sounded tentative in the face of such strong opposition, they were heard. One N...


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