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Graphics

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Celebrating print makers and print making traditions of Kachchh, we invited children to create their own little masterpieces exploring print making techniques like Mono-printing, Dry Point Intaglio and Collography.
Why am I not surprised at the result! These are some of the prints made by these little creative geniuses!

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Imagine a classroom where you learn math with an artisan, discussing his profits and productions, a science class at a dyeing workshop to make your own clothes, and a Hindi Class where you learn to interview people from diverse backgrounds about their life and work! Imagine a classroom where your regular subjects come to life and learning is by making, observing and interacting with everyday life and surroundings! That is exactly what we did for the students of Sinchan school, who gladly left their textbooks behind and spent a whole week at Khamir. We took textbook lessons and made them relevant to Kachchh, to craft and to its people.
Sinchan is an alternative school in Bhuj, whose philosophy is learning by ‘the-play-way’ method. For the past 7 years they have been experimenting new ways to teach and learn. Our philosophies matched and Khamir turned into a school for a week! The collography classes were a part of the Khamir School Curriculum 🙂

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We even made it to the local newspaper! Sorry it is in Gujarati!
kutchi

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Little Khari had been waiting so long for this day. Every time she thought about it, her heart skipped a beat! Trying hard to contain her excitement, Little Khari skipped over to her mother, “Mother, tell me the story! Tell me again!”
It was a beautiful sunrise and her mother was preparing for their departure along with the others of the flock. She had heard this story over and over again but would never get tired of it. It was her favorite. After all, she had been named after a river from this land.
“It is beautiful my dear, the most unique place I have ever been to. You will see for yourself soon”. said her mother.
“Prepare for a grand adventure little one” cried a neighbor, “One that you will not forget!”

Soon it was time to take off, Little Khari and her mother took the wind in their wings. It was chilly but they were full of hope for the warm days they were going to have ahead.

They flew for several days, over white mountains and blue seas, over brown fields and green canopies. They crossed great mountains, they struggled through the big cities of big countries. She kept her eyes wide open throughout the journey, but was always ahead of her pack, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”, “Hurry up everybody!” she would say.
For there was only one thing on her mind.
She was eager to arrive. To arrive in Kachchh.

And so it happened. On the 11th Monday since their departure, the landscape began to give away hints of their destination.
“It is really white!” thought Little Khari, looking down at the vast white land below. Her mother had been right, but this was more than she had imagined! Within a few kilometers, the landscape had changed so quickly. No more buildings, no more big cities, no more tiny trees and people. This was all just white.

Do you know where Khari has arrived?? Storytelling for little children. Co-authored by Sujatha Padmanabhan and Shruthi Ramakrishna; and illustrated by the talented Kalyani Ganapathy, Little Khari’s little story book is coming soon on madeinkachchh.

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Bringing together the Block printers and dyers of Kachchh and Khamir, our exhibition ‘Kachchh Ji Chhaap’ is now open!

The exhibition is an attempt to tell the story of prints and print making as it unfolded from the time it was practiced on the banks of the Indus to its many facets today. Kachchh Ji Chhaap is an intricate tale of the craftsmen, bringing together narratives of their lives, their milestones and their challenges.

The Exhibition will be held at the Khamir Campus from 7th December 2013 to 28th February 2014.

Working with the past, swimming in people’s memories from ‘back then’ and telling tales of a time that is long gone can be a challenging task. These stories take us into a world that is fondly remembered to be a more honest, more simple and a more happy one. And especially to the urban ones like us, the poetry of it all speaks to everything that we wish to be, but are uneasily aware that we are not.

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Together with the Khamir and the artisans of Kachchh, “Kachchh Ji Chhaap : 500 years of blockprinting history” coming soon on 7th December.

“How do you draw a camel?” A very valid question if one is trying to describe Kachchh in typical pictures. We are in our new second home, Ajrakhpur. Working on the poster for the upcoming exhibit. Rather than designing something on the computer, we want to print it on real cloth, fill the poster with life and real colour. So we went to design the poster together with Rauf and Khalid and especially Khalid, who would leave laughter lines on our faces.

Rauf is currently our source number one, who is accompanying us to visit many artisans across the region and helping us to connect to the Khatri community. Khalid, also a Blockprinter from Ajrakhpur, whom we met for the first time a few days back. A less worded, simple man. The kind of type I maybe would not recognize if he was walking by. Rauf told me he was the craziest man here in Ajrakhpur, I had some problems to imagine that “big boy” with the “I can not harm any fly” eyes to be the fanciest artisan around. But I was wrong. As soon as he started showing his pieces Krazy Khalid showed his face.

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His pieces are different from everything we have seen until now. He does not care about traditional pattern, rules and the design of his ancestors.  He has his own head.  When everyone would print in the day he would print at night, when everyone bets on traditional pattern he would invent his own way of drawing. His own remark to his work: “There is no meaning at all, I am only taking some Blocks and putting them together to see whats happening.”
A real teaser. Stunned, amused and excited we decided to design the poster for the exhibition together with him.
We go the following day to his workshop.

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Do we want something simple or complex? Should we layer it with colours and motifs? Should we use traditional blocks or make our own drawings?

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What followed was a full day of work and play. Various ideas and laughing fits later we created several prints.

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We used a resist dye on canvas cloth that we would later transform in colour by dyeing the cloth in indigo and red ( the traditional colours of blockprint)

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Especially proud we are of the hand drawn camel and the little newspaper silhouette buffaloes which should represent the landscape of Kachchh.

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So graphic designing with the artisans = success!
And what does the final design look like? You will see soon here on Made in Kachcch!

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Abdul Rauf and Mansukh, both Khatris, both Blockprinters, but two men who could not be more contradictory.
Rauf, the businessmen. He knows about the value of his craft, he knows how to sell it, how to present it. He knows why it is important to preserve his craft.

And Mansook? He considers himself as a laborer, is working for the same customers since he started, the same pattern, the same cloth. He has never visited other Blockprinters, never came out of Bela and had never met Rauf…Until Now.

“So, what are you doing in Ajrakhpur?” asks Mansukh.

This is the first conversation between two worlds who are rooted in the same thing but couldn´t be more different. Who they are? What is their story?

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Bringing together the Khatri Blockprinters of Kachchh – The Blockprint Collective – coming up soon in December 2013 at Khamir

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