“Co- creation as a concept has been the core of design development in Rangsutra and, as a whole in the craft sector. Every crafts community has the inherent knowledge and skill to make beautiful textiles/products. Our role as an organisation working with both producers and buyers is to strike a balance between the requirement of the urban/ export market and the inherent skills of the community. While this seems to be the ideal way of functioning as a designer in this sector, it can get pretty challenging to strike this balance. One is perpetually drawn between the two contrasting worlds to create something worthwhile.”
– Krithika Acharya, Designer, RangSutra
Krithika has been one of RangSutra’s oldest and youngest designers. She landed up as an intern with RangSutra while studying at NIFT and grew up as a meticulous all- rounder and a gentle designer. Kritika has helped RangSutra create designs, she has also helped the women from the villages of western Rajasthan decipher the designs on paper and produce them in real. It is delightful to see how well the women bond once they learn to put on canvass their thoughts and colours and create something extraordinary.
“Co-creation is the core of our functioning and we will keep sharing stories related to the creation of products at the different clusters. But to begin with let’s start with the story of the sarees woven at Dhanau.”
Award winning sarees from Dhanau
Krithika shares, that when she first reached Dhanau, a tiny village in western Rajasthan, in June 2016, she only had an idea, a Baradi (Pattu), sample (Baradi is the name of one of the traditional woollen shawls woven in the area) and an intention to make lovey handwoven sarees for Rangsutra. She recalls, “So, there I was with a baradi and a few weavers gathered around me to figure out my intentions. These were weavers who were accustomed to weaving beautiful extra weft textiles with thicker yarns for garments and home furnishings. The idea of weaving a 2/100s count saree didn’t really appeal to them! At that moment, leave alone production of sarees on a large scale seemed like an impossible task, even sampling a saree seemed like a long haul. Fortunately for me, there was a bunch young enthusiastic weavers who had been to the handloom school who finally agreed to attempting to make sarees. The yarn broke often, we faced difficulty in winding the bobbin and in setting up the warp but we managed sampling some sarees. All this took about 3 months! Way more than how much normal sampling takes.
We still face problems in production, our sarees come in slower than our other products but the appreciation from our customers and the enthusiasm of the young weavers perpetually pushes us to keep trying. One of the weavers at the centre recently received a Rajasthan state facilitated award for innovation
From convincing weavers to work with 2/100s yarn to finally producing a few sarees, the journey has been challenging yet fulfilling. This experience made me realise the potential of the new age weavers to be part of a change for sustaining their skills in the future.”
One of the learnings for RangSutra and its employees have been the fact that our producers in the handicraft sector have been continuously struggling towards keeping alive their craft. The skills of crafting a community possesses is an identity which has been passed down through generations. At RangSutra, we make sure we do not lose this identity of the artisan, in the process of increasing the scale of production. At the end of the day, personalised designing and production found in the handicrafts sectors marks its definitive distinction from the mass made machine produce. RangSutra is proud to say that every thread that makes your wear has been individually put in place by the artisans and designers.
Krithika says, “The sarees from Dhanau feels like a second skin. The care bestowed in their making is felt while wearing.”