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My Journey to Craft – Part 1

Op-Ed

My Journey to Craft – Part 1

Uzramma

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Some people born into craft families learn craft skills as children. I learnt in middle age, starting at the age of 35. By that time I had two children aged 10 and 14, and we were living an ordinary middle class life in Delhi. I had built up a business, designing silver jewellery with semi-precious stones, getting it made by craftsmen and exporting it. The beginning had been difficult, I had walked around the jewellery centres of old Delhi with my designs, looking for craftsmen who would translate them from paper drawings into jewellery. Then someone introduced me to the master craftsmen at the Regional Design Centre of the government's Handicrafts Department, and I met Lalaji. Lala Govind Ram Verma had won a Master Crafsman award for his silver jewellery, and immediately agreed to make my designs. He loved the challenge of converting a drawing into a finished piece, and was intrigued by my designs - "yeh kaise dimaagh me aathe hain, kya khwab me dekhthi hai?" (how do you imagine these, in your dreams?), he would ask. He would turn up at my house, demanding new designs. But where are the ones you were supposed to deliver, I would ask. "haan haan, woh tho ban jayenge, kuchch naya tho dikhao" (they'll be made, but show me something new), he would say.

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