Up your style quotient this winter. You can get yourself an exquisite felt shawl or scarf to brave the chill from the ongoing Dastkar Winter Mela at Nature Bazaar, Andheria Modh near Qutub Minar.
What’s felt, you may ask? Felting is the process of transforming wool into 3D objects using a barbed needle to create products with layers of wool flattened over each other. Once each layer is spread out, water is sprinkled on these and pressed with a tool. Plain felted products are usually embroidered with colourful Ari embroidery. And if you wish to learn the art of felting, you can attend workshops on it at the mela this Saturday or Sunday. The next weekend (December 21 and 22), carpet weaving workshops will be conducted by weavers from Mirzapur,Uttar Pradesh.
As the name of the mela suggests, it is represents some of the most warm and vibrant Indian crafts from all across the country like Tussar silk, Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, Banarasi brocades, quilts, knitted sweaters, capes, jackets, besides furnishing items like carpets and durries.
Since Christmas is round the corner, the mela has a special corner for X’mas goodies – cakes and gift items. What’s more: there are spices, herbs, teas, coffees and honey to help you tide over the winters.
“This year, our focus is on Kutch-specific crafts from Gujarat and embroidered Pashmina from Kashmir. So you have Kutch shawls and stoles woven with Kachchi motifs by expert weavers of Bhujodi village of Kutch region and authentic Pashmina and Kani shawls, in both contemporary and traditional designs. In all, there over 90 participants from all over the country, including award-winning artisans and weavers from Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat,” says Sonal Khanda, spokesperson, Dastkar Winter Mela, adding, “We have a special section of upcycled products where we are promoting eco-friendly products. You can buy bags, jewellery and other lifestyle and decor items made from recycled material.”
In line with its resolve to promote smaller artisans working on indigenous Indian art and craft, the mela organisers have dedicated some space to them. “Four to five stalls every year are marked for smaller artisans for whose benefit we waive off the rent and even the sales commission at times,” she adds.
Another major attraction this year is willow basketry. Though baskets can be made with any type of pliable reed, grass, vine or branch, willow is a popular choice as it creates a sturdy basket after drying. Flexible and lightweight, willow is also renewable and easy to cultivate. At the mela, you can watch artisans making these baskets of different shapes and sizes.
“Though the footfall has witnessed a downward trend after demonetisation and introduction of GST, we get a fairly sizeable crowd,” says Khanda, talking about the sixth edition of Dastkar Winter Mela.
Food-lovers will be able to relish unique delicacies and beverages from different states at the multi-cuisine food court.
At: Nature Bazaar, Andheria Modh; Till: December 23