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The Artistry of Handwork

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: Jaya Jaitly belongs to Kerala,and graduated in English Literature from Smith College in Northampton, Ma s s a chus e t t s ,USA. She is the Founder-President of the Dastkari Haat Samiti, a nationwide association of craftspeople. It trains, promotes and organises its members for better marketing through many innovative strategies. Part of this work involves bringing together artisans of India with counterparts in different countries. She is responsible for the creation of Dilli Haat, a well-known and popular marketplace enabling sustenance of traditional livelihoods and cultural heritage. She has created unique artistic crafts maps that document all the crafts and textiles of India. These were later presented as major exhibitions of India’s crafts culture at London, Frankfurt, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Chennai. She regularly speaks and writes on crafts and has published five books on handicrafts and one as selected writings on crafts, women’s empowerment, human and animal rights, social and political issues. She was in mainstream politics for 25 years and was the General Secretary, spokesperson and later President of the Samata Party. She currently publishes and edits a political monthly called ‘The Other Side’.Mapping India’s crafts was a mammoth task that took eleven years. During this period many new crafts were born, skills rejuvenated and some may have languished and faded away. The nature of crafts production in India is both ephemeral and resilient. India’s crafts journey resembles the progress of a river from the mountains to the ocean, picking up material, depositing some, changes course, disappearing underground to surface somewhere else. Yet the tradition continues forever. The Dastkari Haat Samiti, a national association of crafts people, undertook the enormous task of documenting whatever skills and crafts it could find and created artistic crafts maps of each state of India.Three new states were born during the process. A traditional art form of each state provides the backdrop for information meticulously gathered from first and second hand sources.The maps provide resource material to people working in different disciplines and a source of aesthetic joy to anyone who uses them as wall posters.The vibrant illustrations and academically rich content are recreated as an atlas of India’s crafts, handmade textiles and traditional arts, covering India’s cultural history.

: This book is dedicated to artisans, for whom handwork is worship, creative expression and earnings. It is a collection of random images that give viewers joy at the sight of the simple beauty of hand work. Jaya Jaitly is the Founder-President of the Dastkari Haat Samiti, a nationwide association of craftspeople. She is responsible for the creation of Dilli Haat.

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