From Coordinator’s Desk
Dr. Dibyendu Bikash Datta
Advancements in the niche area of Kantha can be seen from both design and marketing perspectives. Through a seminar, we have aimed to provide this know how to Kantha artisans. While Shamlu Dudeja and Ankita Dokania highlighted the need for design upliftment, Ananya Bhattacharya and Kona Mondal emphasized the need for marketing linkages for niche segment.
MS. Sreenanda Palit
A need was felt to expose the mainstream Kantha artisans to a marginalised niche market segment, in an attempt to take Kantha to a couture level. While commercialization has decreased the value of Kantha, diversifications have further diluted tradition. Through this seminar, we attempt to seek a holistic upliftment of traditions to a level of luxury- thus drawing a niche focus to Kantha.
About Kantha KATHA
National Institute of Fashion Technology has been involved in working towards development in craft sector, ever since it was envisioned as an institute, to produce professional designers, who would help create exquisite products made in India for the global market. NIFT Kolkata has undertaken several craft and handloom related projects under various bodies likes DCHC, NCJD, NJB, SUDA, KUSP etc. We have been instrumental in working towards IPR of several North Eastern crafts and that of West Bengal. In keeping with the spirit, we named a seminar Kantha Katha- An
Exploration of Kantha Embroidery in Niche Areas was organized at the NIFT Campus. This event was sponsored by DCHC and aimed towards inspiring a group of 50 Kantha artisans towards developing Kantha for high end ‘Niche’ market. The seminar was spread over two days: 22 July 2016 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm and on 23 July 2016 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. 25 artisans were invited as audience along with NIFT alumni who have been working with Kantha in their own capacity. Several government officials graced the occasion. To take a step ahead in guiding the Kantha artisans towards a niche market, NIFT developed an unique Kantha bag and Uttariya- made by Kantha artisans of Barasat. The design represented breaking the stereotype boundaries and moving towards a more creative abstraction. All artisans and guests were presented with these unique products.
The artisans were given participation certificates and travel allowance. The guest speakers were felicitated and given an honorarium for their contribution along with travel allowance. At the end of both days, lunch was arranged for all participants.
Kantha KATHA Day-1
The speaks for day one were Shamlu Dudeja, renowned Kantha revivalist who runs She Foundation-an NGO, Adarsh Makaria of Osaa who have developed Kantha prêt line for the niche market. The concluding speaker for the first day was Ananya Bhattacharya, Director of Banglanatok Dot Com, to share her hands-on experience with the artisans of Kantha through her organization.
To take a step further in showcasing various areas in Kantha, which have been explored by experts, designers, revivalists of Kantha – a Book of Abstracts entitled ‘Kantha Katha’ was released by Shamlu Dudeja.
Kantha KATHA Day-2
Day two opened with the story of Kana Mondal, a President Awardee artisan and took the august gathering to the visual delight of Ankita Dokania’s LCF Graduating Collection followed by a presentation by Mr. Prosenjit Bhadra, Assistant Professor, TD Dept. NIFT, and Kolkata experimenting with fancy yarn for niche effects in Kantha.
Binwant Kaur, Professor, F.Tech Dept. and Director NIFT, Kolkata threw light in possibility of use of CAD to develop Kantha designs. Sreenanda Palit, Associate Professor & CC, FC highlighted the transformation of Kantha from Rags to Riches, while Dr. Dibyendu Bikash Datta, Associate Professor & DAY CC-FMS took the audience through a socioeconomic study of the craft.
It was indeed a matter of pride for us to gather the light of knowledge from exponents and present the same before all, for holistic expertise about advancements in Kantha, as an evergreen traditional needlecraft from Bengal.