It is heartening to observe the trend of young men and women coming back to traditional weaving these days,says Judy Frater, co-founder of Somaiya Kala Vidya (SKV), an institute for the education of artisans, established in 2014.
She adds,Weavers in Kutch are confident and happy. Not only are they now respected, but have also started making a livelihood out of weaving, as it is a viable source of income.
Frater has lived in Kutch, Gujarat, and worked with artisans for over 25 years. She founded and operated Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, the first-ever design school for artisans, and was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003 for this concept. In 2014, she co-founded SKV, with the aim to instil confidence in artisans and empower and teach them management skills.
These working traditional artisans of Kutch already have the knowledge and design aesthetics. We teach them new design, innovations and upgrade existing skills. We also impart business management education to them,” says Frater.
SKV offers a 11-month course, thereby making higher education possible for these weavers; in fact, the curricula, class schedule and language of instruction is designed to accommodate the artisan's lifestyle.