Entries by Judy Frater

Weavers in Morocco

  In March 2024, I visited Morocco just for fun, but of course I gravitated to hand craft.  In Casablanca, I was delighted to serendipitously bump into an exhibition celebrating National Handicrafts Week, sponsored by His Majesty King Mohammed VI.  Booths of superb carpets were beautifully displayed.  WeBerber was the one that particularly caught my […]

Consumers and Craft Connoisseurs

Akib Ibrahim Khatri teaches Ajrakh hand print and natural dye in a Craft Traditions course, Ajrakhpur 2015. For craft to flourish, we must move from a subsidy mindset to a professional one, and consider consumers. Traditionally, artisans and clients were intimately connected and shared understanding and criteria for evaluation of craft aesthetics and quality. Today, […]

CSR & Craft

In 2012, the Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya Convocation was sponsored by Tata Power, Adani group and the K.J.Somaiya Trust. Today, Tata and Adani have their own craft CSR projects. The K.J. Somaiya Gujarat Trust now operates the design education program as Somaiya Kala Vidya. What happened between 2012 and now? I have outlined key issues of […]

All About Value

In the time of the plague in India, 1994, Kala Raksha exhibited a small collection in the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, and also held a pop-up a few blocks away. A customer contacted me, angry. ‘You are cheating,’ she said. ‘The shawl in the Museum is triple the cost of the one in […]

Market Forces

Today’s craft is created for urban markets. In many regions of India, artisans don’t have direct access to those markets. They are beholden to “Master Artisans” for whom they do job work and who lend them money they won’t repay in their lifetimes, preventing them from leaving their workshops. Enabling direct market access is a […]

Research and Pedagogy

Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya women’s class, 2013. Research underpins pedagogy. By the time I developed a curriculum for design for artisans through an Ashoka Fellowship in 2003, I had been researching artisans 3 decades, through college courses, books and field work, then working hands-on. The practical research was invaluable. The foundation of a curriculum is a […]

Presenting & Positioning Craft

  Tausifbhai presents his work to family and professional juries during the “Merchandising, Presentation” module of the Somaiya Kala Vidya design course, 2019.  Presentation includes an explanation of the collection theme, concept development, and specific innovations the student did, in order to illuminate the thought embedded in the work as well as technical innovations- and create […]

Tradition and Innovation

The photo is of the first iteration of the interpretation center of the Kala Raksha Museum. The idea was to portray the traditional context of embroidery for visitors. I engaged artisans to create replicas of pieces in the collection, a prelude to learning to innovate on traditions. I also engaged the late Hariyaben Bhanani, suf […]

Ecology, Environment and What We Can Learn From Craft

The late Hariyaben Bhanani explains the toys she designed and created to an American student. Hariyaben couldn’t bear to see scraps of painstakingly embroidered fabric thrown away, so she rescued them, took them home, and painstakingly patched them together to form elephants, camels and dolls that she stuffed with other fabric remnants. She lived the […]