Raju PK & Gopalan family

The roads were narrow with alluring coffee plantations on either side. The place was Trikkaipetta. It is a paradise with greenery all around with the true smell of soil. The artisans of Trikkaipetta create marvels out of bamboo from generations. These can be used as show case items, key chains, flower vases and so on. Raju PK and Gopalan headed the crafts production.

The leg of Gopalan is paralyzed and with this disability he was able to produce artifacts in a shorter period. The entire family was happy seeing our team in the hope that something exemplary will occur in their life. The roof of the house has so many holes, which is like bullets pierced the roof during a gun battle. They have explained about the process of modeling with an exuberant zeal. Their happiness lies on making these bamboo products. They have created many an unpolished designs because of their lack of money to buy polish. They are creating bamboo products from ages, with the skill inherited from their ancestors. But the agony in their eyes can be felt easily. They served us with black coffee and biscuits. The black coffee was sublime and oozing with typical Wayanad flavor. We shared some of the customized bamboo craft designs with them. We encouraged them by elucidating about the reach and demand of bamboo products in the market. We embolden them that in UTHHAN, artisans decide the product price and not by us. Moreover they are still clinging on to their tradition after all these setbacks.

Raju PK

Biju & Family

Biju’s family at Mundad is in dire straits. Biju is deaf and dumb. The will power of this person is amazing. We can’t even think straight under pressure. But he is not only fighting out his life, but also created these models out of coconut shells. The tools used are very simple. We sat on a bench which can break at any time. The bench was the only luxurious furniture in that abode. We were able to understand his joy, when we compliment the quality of his products. Our driver has given biscuits left in our car to his kids, who were glad to accept the same. Their way of living arouse dejection in us. He goes for labor work to prop up his family. But his passion to create these artifact products is not extinct. His mother was gabbling unabated about his son's talent.

She is proud of him, so are we. We were unsure about the craft's durability, since the bondage of joints can be vulnerable. The strong joints and strength of the products brush aside all our suspicions. The products can be easily shipped without any damage. We have purchased some products, after enrolling them to UTHHAN. He apprised us in sign language that he can produce these crafts in bulk, if we give orders. The money earned out of these products can fulfill their basic needs. There was a ray of optimism in his gaze, which we want to nurture to save this dying tradition.

Biju & Family

Pushpavally & Group

The next stop was Mullankolli. A woman, who heads a self-Help unit, which makes artifacts out of grass welcomed us. A group of women suddenly assembled with their products made of grass. The products were flawless. It can only be made after hours of hard work, precision and concentration. These crafts can be used as fruit baskets, hats, flower vases etc . They testified that big establishments take their products in bulk, but the prices proffered are very low. But they still sell the products to lessen their miseries. The products are strenuous to make and the mastery passed on to them through their primogeniture. They don’t want to continue in this métier, since there is no real emolument. Workplace is nothing but a torn out house, where all the women gather and spend their time making these artifacts. They don’t have any idea about artisan craft board run by Government of Kerala. They told us that the tradition they follow can’t feed their family and it’s better to switch over to some other job.

Pushpavally & Group

Raju MC & Family

Raju MC makes show crafts out of bamboo. The problem is same; there is no money to complete the polishing. He is doing daily labour to feed his family. When I have explained about our initiative there was a tint of hope for him. His wife and children were looking at us without any emotions. We can make out that they have suffered enough in their life because of poverty. The dilapidated house, with plastic covers serving the purpose of windows was a heart-break to watch.

She is proud of him, so are we. We were unsure about the craft's durability, since the bondage of joints can be vulnerable. The strong joints and strength of the products brush aside all our suspicions. The products can be easily shipped without any damage. We have purchased some products, after enrolling them to UTHHAN. He apprised us in sign language that he can produce these crafts in bulk, if we give orders. The money earned out of these products can fulfill their basic needs. There was a ray of optimism in his gaze, which we want to nurture to save this dying tradition.

Biju & Family

Ram Kumar Pal From Uttarakhand

Ram Kumar Pal is an artisan and a member of NAV JYOTI. Ram Kumar runs his NGO but he has to work as an artisan too. He is not able to earn a proper profit from his work. Being an NGO head he has to work as an artisan to get some more profit. He prepares swales, woolen jackets, woolen blankets which he can able to sell only in winters, its is the reason why he is facing problem in selling his goods. More than 63% of NAVJYOTI artisans come from Bora Kuthalia community . Uthhan is them training to work with silk and wool in a profitable manner . Largely based in rural India, weavers and artisans also find market access difficult. As a consequence, they’re dependent on the middleman to sell their products—while they garner substantial profits, the weaver and artisans are left with just a pittance instead of getting a reasonable price. Besides, there is no gain saying the fact that handlooms and handicrafts are a valuable and integral part of India’s heritage that need to be preserved and promoted.

UTHHAN focuses on capacity building in rural communities, and on creating opportunities for women and artisan families to make sustainable contributions to their villages. We are devoted to generating income for local people using only local skills and local, environmentally friendly materials. Our primary focus is to give as much as profit to the underprivileged artisan family.

Today, UTHHAN have network of nearly 5000+ artisans families who work together to grow, process, design and create products that generate income for local residents. Products range from raw natural to eco-friendly art supplies for children to textile printing and dyeing. Each product line is a part of high quality industry, which scale and compete in international markets.

Ram Kumar Pal

BALASORE BAMBOO ARTISAN STORY

The artisans of DARADA WARD NO -7 under BALESWAR are struggling to keep the age-old art of crafting decorative items with bamboo alive. Faced with several challenges, including stiff competition from plastic and fiber products, lack of marketing initiatives and soaring prices of bamboo, these artisans are deprived of a decent living.

Artisans claimed that the decorative bamboo items like pachiya, dala (basket), binchana (hand fan) and kula (winnowing fan), which once fetched them a good price, have now lost their charm to plastic and fibre products. Once upon a time, these products were popular in the global markets also. Around 300 families in Bag Sahi, Senapti Sahi, Baitha Sahi and Kuanra Sahi of the Ward eke out their living by making these handicrafts.

“What is lacking is a proper platform where the families can showcase their skills. With no Government assistance, we are struggling to keep this art alive,” the artisans of the Ward said. we asked some photos of them and their working place. They sent these burled photos after that we learned that they don't have a phone also. They took someone's phone to take this photo The situation has turned worse as the price of bamboo has increased. However, the handicrafts are still being sold at lower prices. “ We sell Kula for `25 to `30, pachiya for ` 20, dala for ` 15 and binchana for `12. The prices are for single pieces,” Bag added.

“How can we afford to make these handicrafts at a time when prices of necessary commodities are increasing day-by-day. But, our income remains the same,” said another artisan, SHANTILATA MANDALA(50). Our team listened to their problems. We understood that they are not getting proper value for their work. They are not aided by any organization. They lack the knowledge of creating innovative designs. Nowadays the market demand is for innovative designs. So UTHHAN has decided to give designs and raw materials to them. Our aim is to keep the tradition alive.

BALASORE

Terracotta

We met with artisan families in Odisha. Among them, most of the artisan families didn't have a shed to sleep and money to send their wards to the school nor proper health facilities to look after. We met with Mr.Abhimanyu, one of the Terracotta artisans of the Batahari, Chandanpur village of Kendujhar district. His condition is worst. The grief situation of the family made us feel about the extent of the work we at UTHHAN to do. The potholes, muddy surfaces and water scarcity left us dumbstruck.

Despite big promises being made during elections, the condition of these people never changed. But it goes on being more worst every year. Abhimanyu Terracotta artisan of Bataharichandanpur, Mr.Vijay, applique artisan of Pipili

Pipili village and many more. We listened to them very carefully and tried to sort out their problems. The lack of knowledge about the latest design of handicraft works, lack of shed for the making of those products and lack of raw materials have left them isolated in grief conditions. The artisan was stuck with poverty and hunger without a roof on their heads. Although sadly the poverty here is slowly making many craftsmen disappear from the place to form a new livelihood, they are doing a remarkable job by keeping this fascinating art alive even while their financial crisis makes it very hard for them to continue and preserve the art. The goal of UTHHAN is to make these art forms available to customers directly from these families.

terracotta

PATTACHITRA BY SARAT KUMAR SAHU

This is Sharat Kumar Sahoo, a 50-year-old National award winning patachitra artist. which together make for 'Jagannatha: a hand-picked collection of fine Odisha patachitra'. His home walls are crowded with works that are replete with many small elements that catch one’s eye only when observed closely. Patachitra on coconuts bobs along the walls, resembling balls of varied sizes with colourful patterns

Sahoo’s typical day starts at 4 am and goes on till 9 pm. At night, table lamps come to his rescue. Occasional breaks excluded, most of his time goes into working on the piece, which he does sitting on the floor without the help of magnifying glasses or stencils. He had started out when he was 13 years old. And what are his favourite subjects to work on? He doesn’t have an answer. He mumbles shyly, “I get challenged only by very intricately detailed work.” Though the older artisans, who have traditionally inherited the skill, prefer to stick to the common subjects, the younger generation seems to be open to change. “Most of the tourists come here because of the traditional value of the art.

Odisha’s handloom and handicraft sector suffered due to Fani, More than a month after Fani, the extent of damage in Raghurajpur wasn’t easily discernible. Nearly every house had a roof and families were busy stocking up products such as Jagannath idols and papier mâché masks to be sold at the yatra. A resident artist, Sharat kumar sahoo, said this was a far cry from the day after Fani hit them. Over 130 houses were damaged. Despite award-winning still, now he is struggling for a good livelihood.

pattachitra

Clay Story

A recent interaction with the BANGALORE artisan who produce unique wares with copper, and clay, gave me a better picture of the current situation of the Indian crafts industry. All we heard was a sad story about the craftsmanship dying in their town. “Once upon a time there were fifty of us, and now, only two of us remain in the entire city of Bangalore who can join different colored into an artifact ,” says the clay crafts artist Mrs Jaya.

This seems to be the story of a majority of the old towns of India. The reason behind the loss of demand for these craftsmen’s unique products and their destitute condition is globalization and cheap Chinese goods flooding the market. Furthermore, they are either illiterate or poorly educated which makes them hard to upgrade their skill and to understand the market trends. Thus as a result of incompetence, they end up losing business and move to other professions.

Fortunately, all dark clouds have a silver lining and here is one too. While I was digging deeper to find a feasible solution . we got to know She and her husband have been striving to sustain their art form of making mud pots for several years. They together earned a paltry Rs 140 a day, which was insufficient to feed their family . They don’t have any place to sell their product till the date. Instead they are roaming all over Bangalore to sale their product . They don't have any upgrade designs. This is the deplorable state of most of the artisans in India, though the country has a rich and diverse history of art forms, with many traditional crafts embedded as a culture among rural communities. Recognising the constant struggle of artisans, uthhan took initiatives to promote their work during. Uthhan will eliminate the role of middlemen and distributors and the products directly reaches the end-users from artisans without any hassles through our platform.

pattachitra

Gallery