Belonging to a small village in Andhra Pradesh, Uyka Indrajit, a dhokra artisan had never thought that attending a workshop in Ahmedabad with students of architecture, planning and construction technology would give him an occupation and a new take.
“I have known nothing but dhokra all my life. Honey wax, which is used for making the initial frame of the product, is expensive and sometimes not easily available. I learnt here that the candle wax and dhoop used in temples could also be used,” he said.
Indrajit is one of the 30 metal artisans and fabricators participating at Space Making Metal Craft Workshop being organised by the Faculty of Design, Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre of CEPT (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology) University in collaboration with Craftroots, an NGO, as part of its Winter School, a first for this university. The two-week workshop that began on November 20 also comprises around 30 CEPT students belonging to different faculties like Architecture, Planning and Construction Technology.
The workshop directs the artisans and students to collaborate, learn and experiment with different types of metal crafts like lost wax casting, metal embossing, cut work, metal engraving, sheet metal work and others.
The workshop has helped artisans coming from different regions. Ahmedabad-based fabricator, Dinesh Panchal, had only worked with brass in his 25-year career, but now he’ll use copper as well. Indrajit plans to create bigger products now. Janmamad, a copper bell making artisan from Kutch region, feels that such collaborative workshops should be happening more often.
“Craftroots is the only organisation in Gujarat that works closely with metal artisans. Most of the metal artisans belong to remote areas of the country,” said Hetal Dwivedi, development manager of Craftroots. “This year the focus of the workshop organised by CEPT was metal craft. That’s how their collaboration with us came about,” she added.
Besides the artisans, many students got their first taste of metal during the course of the workshop. Rishav Jain, Assistant Professor from Faculty of Design, said, “It not only exposes the artisans to new trends and techniques, it also gives a chance to students and artisans to interact with and learn from each other.”
“Knowledge of metals, their character, different designs and techniques are helpful in architecture. I found the dhokra art to be the most innovative,” said Asha Sreenivasan, first year PG student of Faculty of Architecture (Urban Design).
Nineteen-year-old Viranj Kumar, a UG student of Faculty of Technology, said,”We were properly oriented about the characteristics of different metals, precautions to be taken while using them, cost price, etc. Do you know that copper costs Rs 700/kg?” he said.
Krishna Jadawala, a 3rd year UG student of Faculty of Architecture, learned new craft techniques like cut work and dhokra. “Initially, there was a communication gap between us and artisans. But now we are learning a lot from each other. We experimented with many designs and techniques,” she said.
The Metal-Craft workshop is a part of CEPT Winter School 2013 and ends on December 4.
Original link: http://epaper.indianexpress.com/c/2008288
Published by The Indian Express, Ahmedabad (Late City edition) on December 2, 2013.