IMSE has always been on the lookout to
encourage rural talent and while doing so we
have come across several rural women in the
villages of Birbhum, Bardhaman, Murshidabad
and Bankura making some beautiful
handicrafts, artwork with stitches and
patches on cloth (Kantha stitch
predominating). Their traditional designs
are something worth preserving as it is a
blend of tradition of Bengal and artwork.
The women are hardworking and possess a lot
of potential, yet they fail to get a fair
compensation for their time, skill and
effort. They are being exploited mercilessly
by the moneylenders who take undue advantage
of their helplessness. This is where IMSE
attempts to rescue them from the traps of
the moneylenders and play the role of a
facilitator providing a proper market
linkage to their creations alongside working
towards refining their skills and
encouraging them to take pride in their
work. This would open up new avenues for
gainful self-employment for the women.
Like every good thing comes at a cost - IMSE is devoid of any funds for the project as it was started with an intention to provide a market linkage to the artisans. But in due course we understood the need of the hour is giving the designs a contemporary touch so that people could use the creations on a daily basis as well as for special occasions.
And thus in order to materialize the needs we need to organize a series of rigorous workshops inviting artists and fashion designers to train the women with the designs and colour combinations that would invite more people to patronize them.
We have already conducted a number of workshops with renowned artists whose creations have reached overseas too. The workshops were a huge success and it was really encouraging to see how fast they could adopt what the artist taught. We are now confident that with a series of such workshops these artisans are going to create magic.
Their Kantha Stitch, Zari, TaantSarees, Handloom Sarees, Dokra handicraft etc, are highly commendable and we plan to introduce them to expand their area of work by experimenting on new combinations as well.