Did you know that India is home to two million artisans who work in the carpet-making industry alone? Or that the intricate Bidriware of Karnataka has its origins in Persia? The different handicrafts are unique to every region and involve intricate craftsmanship and painstaking work that goes into developing these beautiful art forms. It is All India Handicrafts Week from Dec 8-14 and it is the perfect opportunity for parents to initiate their children to the treasure trove of arts and crafts in our country.
Here are some interesting activities to do with your children to introduce them to the world of Indian crafts –
1. Visit a weaver or artisan’s village – There are certain places in India that are home to ‘clusters’, where many families work together on a particular craft such as stonework, lacquer, zari work, wood carving, pottery and so on. It will be amazing for a pre-teen or teenager to get exposure to the creative process that goes into making a particular product that involves a lot of craftsmanship. It not only educates them about the craft but teaches them important qualities of perseverance, hard work, meticulousness and so on.
2. Teach block printing at home – This is a fun as well as educative activity that will interest your little one. It is also a beautiful, creative skill to learn and to try. Professional artisans use wooden blocks which have the designed etched on them and vegetable dyes/inks to print vivacious designs on cloth. If you do not have access to wooden blocks, involve your child to carve patterns on foam/sponge boards and use this to print on a plain piece of cotton cloth by dipping it in any ink of your choice. Let this dry and rinse it once before use. You could make printed handkerchiefs or stoles in this way.
3. Go to a handicraft exhibition – This is the season when a plethora of art and craft exhibitions are going on in different cities and a good time to take your child to visit one of these events. Many of these exhibitions will have handicrafts from all over the country, with live demonstrations by artisans. It is a great learning opportunity for all children and they will gain lot of knowledge about the rich culture of their country. It may also serve as an inspiration to hone their creative skills.
4. Do a simple DIY activity – You need not be a skilled craftsperson to try your hand at making handicrafts. Children with a creative bent of mind can try their hand at making paper crafts, beadwork, no-sew bags and cushions out of old T-shirts, jewellery or stationery with jean material and so on.
Here we show you an easy DIY idea to make a fringe bag from an old T-shirt –