QUEEN'S ROAD: Karghaa and Out of the Boxx, two unusual handicraft initiatives, are organising ‘Hath Ka Bana,’ an exhibition cum sale of handwoven sarees, stoles, dupattas and fabrics in ikat, khadi and gadwal. There are also wooden boxes and trays etc. Karghaa is also launching ikat sarees in silk linen for the first time.
What does Karghaa stand for really? This is a handloom weaver association empowered y Oxfam in 2007 as a response and a viable solution to the ongoing handloom crisis in India. Through this model, the role of middle men has been minimised to maximise the gains to handloom weavers. This was achieved by organising and capacity building of 250 small handloom, ikat and gadwal weavers in 17 villages of Nalgonda District and Rajoli village in Mahbubnagar district in the state of Telangana. In the last three years of its market reach through its brand, Karghaa, CCW has catalysed a remarkable change in the lives of 132 ikat handloom weavers in terms of earnings, design development, quality control and market exposure.
The social enterprise is devoted to reviving the traditional ikat art and other traditional handloom forms and is restoring the skills of the handloom weavers in double ikat, telia rumal weaving and kuttuanchu etc. It is working simultaneously on developing innovative and contemporary designs inspired by traditional art forms that cannot be produced on power- looms.
Currently 132 of the 250 CCW weavers are getting continuous work and enhanced incomes. The cotton ikat weavers are earning from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 a month and silk weavers are earning from Rs 12600 to Rs 18,000 per month. The other 118 weavers are awaiting their turn to avail of loans from banks.
Karghaa is a brand owned by these 250 weavers.
Salient features of this unique weaver empowerment model include
- Weavers are the owners and decision makers.
- Fair trade practices (no child labour, usage of eco-friendly dyes etc) and quality checks are ensured by trained weavers at pre-loom and post- loom stage etc. Karghaa is in the process of getting fair-trade certification.
- Raw material is procured in bulk and orders are given with 50 per cent wage as advance.
- Wage cheques are given and deposited in women weavers’ accounts to ensure that the incomes are optimally utilised for their family needs.
- Every detail is mentioned in the order form (agreement with respect to wage, quantity, quality and raw material and time).
- Wage committees constituted by three weavers from different villages study the prevailing wages in the market and arrive at the wage rate. This is 20 per- cent higher than the market. Wages are revised every year.
- Weavers interact with the markets and consumers directly and get a hang of the customer’s choices and trends.
- CCW ensures that weavers get their maximum share and recognition for their skill and efforts.
- Karghaa is gaining recognition and credibility with each passing day.
- Karghaa has small orders from Fab India, And India, White Pomegranate, and supplies to leading online players like Jaypore and iTokiri.
Neelima Lal, the CEO of Karghaa, started this project along with the team while she was working with Oxfam in 2005. She is currently supporting and guiding the weavers as their CEO after the Oxfam support came to an end in 2010. She consolidated and revived the initiative and is currently involved in brand building of Karghaa and scaling up of this weaver empowered model to another 300 weavers across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to have the most diverse hand-woven fabrics at one platform for the consumers and for sustaining handloom based livelihoods.
As for Out of the Boxx, this too is an interesting initiative that uses the craft of decoupage, which is believed to have originated from East Siberia, which then moved on to China and Italy in the 12th and the 17th century. It is an art form where various types and pieces of paper are glued onto surfaces like wood and glass to achieve a painted effect. Out of the Boxx, by Kavita Pai is her expression of decoupage on wooden boxes, trays, coasters etc. Kavita left her corporate life of 12 years to focus on her motherhood and her creative side.
Venue: The Sushma Desai Studio, Surkrut, 139, 10th Main 6A Cross, Sadashiv Nagar.
Date: July 24 and 25