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Famous Indian Artisans, Craftsmen :: Artisans the untold story

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The Creative Tales of Artisans- Exploring the Knowledge Beyond Academics and Education


Coming from remote locations and humble backgrounds this is a story of Zardozi craftsman Hussain, Mud Mirror designer Urmilaben, and Block Carver Gajjar’s struggles and creativity. Check out how, through creative interventions and Kanoria Centre for Arts recognised these artists and organised a workshop at Kanoria Centre for arts to connect them with the city dwellers.

Ask your grandparents if they know their parents’ date of birth or academic accomplishments? 90% of the people will fail to answer it because earlier it didn’t matter where you hail from or what you have studied, what mattered the most was how skilful you are and how do you plan to flourish and make a living with those skills. It was the knowledge that was valuable and not the degree that one possessed. Above the archetypal modus operandi that we have prefixed today about gaining an education to learn something, ones ability to create – held greater significance.

Fortunately, there is the list of famous Indian craftsmen and women, who are practitioners and carriers of centuries old hand skills, that have survived through many social, technological and economic upheavals. Be it turning a piece of wood into a designer block, or mixing mud, water and mirror to create intricate geometric patterns, or using thread and needle to embellish flowers and leaves on a piece of cloth – all of these was perceived and mastered centuries ago. The significance of these crafts is not just in its beauty but in its deep rooted understanding of human life and global ecology.Team CY met three such generational artisans who have embraced the added responsibility of sharing the craft-skill to the larger community through training and workshops. There couldn’t be a better way to develop empathy within current generation towards these crafts. We were pleasantly surprised to see their humbleness, aesthetics and their compassion towards their creativity. Their artworks are ancient, and they have been practicing it since aeons, but it wasn’t for a second that the zeal on their faces was missing while shaping those creations.

Let us explore who these artisans are, and why are we talking about them?

Zardosi Embroidery of Ansari Shahid Hussain


Zardosi Embroidery of Ansari Shahid Hussain A craft that has also been mentioned in the Rig-Veda, Zardozi is intricate handwork embroidery of leaves and flowers designed through a unique needle on a tightly pulled cloth. In early 2000 era, the introduction of computerization method of creating Zardozi was spread like wildfire, leaving the artisans unemployed including Hussain, who had an established workshop. But Hussain took his unemployment as an opportunity and travelled across India in search of creativity. Soon with his passion and compassion towards the Zardozi art, Hussain developed a unique method of developing heritage monuments through Zardosi method on a cloth. Today Hussain has made a collection of UNESCO monuments that spreads awareness upon this art which was on the verge of extinction, just a decade back.

Mud Mirror Work (Lippan Kaam) of Urmilaben


Mud Mirror work also known as Lippan work is a tradition of Kutch and various other villages of Gujarat. Women from these communities give their mud houses a charming look by embedding small mirrors in the walls made of dung, clay and mud. Urmilaben, 3rd grade drop-out, has been practising this craft since 15 years. She believes in popularising this lost art across Gujarat and expects both her sons to help her in this cause. Residing at the Old Vadaj area of Ahmedabad, Urmilaben learnt this skill under the mentorship of her mother, who use to travel to Jamnagar, Rajkot, Junagadh and as far as Gokul to teach this handcraft skill.

Wood Block Making by Ghanshyam Gajjar


Pethapur city near Gandhinagar is renowned for artisans who make intricately carved blocks that are used in fabric printing factories. Gajjar, who hails from a family of wood workers has been making wooden blocks from past 35 years. Interesting matter of fact is, academically the successful artisan is just a matriculate, but his repertoire of designs and technical expertise surpasses the realms of formal educationHis designs include animal figures, geometrical shapes, detailed nature embroideries, abstract human figures and various other creative formations. The blocks are carved on wooden logs, and Gajjar has been conducting workshops on carving at different colleges and universities. He has also conducted workshop at institute of national importance like National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

To let the discenring citizens come face-to-face with the creativity of these artisans, Creative Yatra along with Kanoria Centre for Arts has scheduled individual workshops, where participants will get an opportunity to learn these skills in few uncomplicated steps. All of these shall happen in a fun and artsy setting, provided by the ‘Art 17’ festival of the KCA campus.

To be a part of these workshops and to experience the Joy of Creation please click on the following link.

Craft Workshops by CreativeYatra at Kanoria Centre For Arts

The workshops scheduling are as follows:

1 – Wood Block Making by Ghanshyam Gajjar : 15-18th March 2017

4.30 pm to 7.30 pm I Fees : Rs. 1800/-

2 – Mud Mirror Workshop by Urmilaben : 15-18th March 2017

4.30 pm to 7.30 pm I Fees : Rs. 1800/-

3 – Zardosi Embroidery by Shahid Hussain Ansari : 15-16 March 2017

1 pm to 4 pm I Fees : Rs. 1200/-


Bookings & Enquiries : 95865 35471

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