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Observations on Craft

Livelihoods, Policy, Research, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Observations on Craft: From looms to the Fields- Dastakar Andhra

Sunny and Meeta

FROM LOOMS TO THE FIELDS
An upper middle class Hyderabadi woman, married very young with no university degree. Later as her two kids are grown to their twenties, she learns to be an interior decorator, jewelry maker and lithograph collector. In her mid-forties in 1989 when most women from similar backgrounds are agonizing over menopause she reinvents herself. Completely self-taught, traveling from hi-society parties, when few knew about such lifestyles courtesy page3, she shifted to second class train travel to dusty villages in Andhra, reviving and researching natural dyeing techniques, iron making, wood turning and lacquering and many other crafts. Uzramma, the founder of Dastkar Andhra (estd.1995) recently passed the mantle to a young team of women, to take their work into newer ways of design, marketing and public policy advocacy for the Andhra weavers and artisans. Dastkar Andhra does not just deal with natural dyes, but have created a movement of it. From Kerala to Uttaranchal, from Orissa to Rajasthan, there are weavers, embroiderers and printers who have attended workshops. But that in itself was not enough for DA (Dastkar Andhra) and Uzramma. She encouraged students from the IIT's (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIM's (Indian Institute of Management) to go to the roots of dye sources and the fibre of fabric - cotton species. They learnt as they went along, among other things that our vision of creating a local product for local markets would take a life-time of ...

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