It might make you feel nostalgic to remember the days when you saw artists painting movie posters. You surely miss the smell that pushed through your nose when a bunch of women crushed and ground spices. Those days were really precious when you wore a handmade sweater, knitted by your grandma.
However, those days are long gone, and the unique design of your sweater isn't unique anymore, but made in a bunch and sold in lots inside a mall. Today, the big brands are promoting factories with digital prints, and 3D printers have taken over the sculptor's qualities.
Similarly, the powerloom clothing pieces are being chosen over handloom due to their low range of prices. The local businesses that once boomed are now fearing the low revenue and changing market.
Digitally we are becoming aware but that should not take us apart from our culture. The Indian culture has always been true to its core, where each state has its own folklore. Inspired by these tales, you come across music, art style, painting, clothing, and more.
From Warli paintings of the North Sahyadri Range to Pattachitra Art of Odisha one can't get enough if subjected to. And let's be sure, digital art can't take over the old culture that took days and patience to get the final piece ready. Remember, the Mona Lisa wasn't just printed out on warm paper.
This article is an ode to those who have stood still, in these times of technological advancements and even now are promoting the handcrafted business.
Handmade Business Around India
Quality over quantity is the aim of handmade businesses. And this technological age has widened the gap through its conjured automation and robotics in this niche. The interaction is gone, but the Indian markets still echo with the sounds of wooden pieces being sculpted.
These handmade businesses belong to the same old markets, that not only have seen generations practicing the art for decades, but a whole village coming together and producing artifacts for centuries.
Our team at StartupTalky had a prestigious opportunity to interview Kamal Koli, who is a producer of Chanderi Sarees in Madhya Pradesh. Koli belongs to the village by the same name as the clothing piece and has been in this business since 1998.
As per the saree maker, his handweaving sarees are most appreciated in Bollywood, and he also has a range to fit in for every class. Other designs Koli and his family have adapted are the Plain Block Print Saree and Real Jari. The patterns that are used in Plain Block Sarees are called block prints and take more than 7 days to prepare just one piece. The producer knows patience as a single Real Jari saree takes 3 to 4 months to be ready for the shelf.
Chanderi fabric goes back to the Vedic period and is known to have been founded by Shishupal, Lord Krishna’s cousin. And just like it is in demand by queens of Bollywood today, throughout the Mughal era in India, these sarees were admired by the queens during that sacred period too.
Neeraj Kumar Shah introduced us to a more heartwarming side of art, that not only talks about India but influences from Nepal as well. We are talking about Madhubani paintings, also known as Mithila art.
This craft is famous for its geometrical designs and originates from the Madhubani district of Bihar, the same place where Shah belongs. While getting to know more about the paintings, Neeraj told team ST that all the paintings are done on paper made out of bamboo.
Adding more to your intrigue, the paints used in these art pieces are made out of flower juice, leaves, and grass. More than 35 people from different families in the same village have dedicated their lives, to creating this art.
The Madhubani paintings have fine details, created by artists using finger designs, twigs, nib-pens, and matchsticks.
As per the legend, these paintings come from the holy age and were first invented in Mithila, the birthplace of Sita.
If you are a fan of Chinese puppet shows, look around you and seek Charmakare Puppets. You might have never heard of this but it does exist in India, you were just too busy appreciating foreign cultures.
The art belongs to Andhra Pradesh and is also known as leather puppetry craft. Vanarchu Ganesh introduced team ST to this art, which he and his family have been practicing for generations.
In the Nimmalakunta village, more than 50 families have been making these puppets for ages. With time, the making of these puppets has evolved into paintings and lampshades. The reason why it is called leather puppet art is because the puppets are made using goat skin, the same ones used in Tabla and Dholak. The colors too are natural and are made using vegetable colors.
Vanarchu Shankara, the father of Ganesh has even won the V Shankara State Award for his art in 2016. And recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessed the puppet show appreciating the art practiced by the whole village.
Indian Government Promoting Handmade Businesses
In September 2014, the Indian government launched the Make in India initiative globally, to promote the country as a prime manufacturing destination for companies around the world. One of the missions of the Make-in-India program was to promote handloom businesses in the country.
With a belief these businesses are an integral part of India, the government announced an economic package known as Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan. As the name suggests, the package was meant to boost the economy of India while also making the country self-reliant.
This package was launched in support of weavers, artisans, and karigars of various MSMEs to help them review their businesses.
Besides the above-explained gesture by the government, tourism is also promoted hugely which ultimately can boost the local market of different states and traditional artifacts celebrated by the regions.
How Can Technology Help Those in the Handmade Business?
Everyone is using the internet, which is a fast and expanded link to spread the word. The support by the government is already explained above, which can also be adapted by you.
Whenever you are out on a field trip or on a break from your tiring job, and if you come across something that seems to be in need of a promotion, you can simply take your phone out and put it up on your Instagram story while asking your friends to follow the page of that particular business.
Help the uneducated with your sage. Make them understand how to operate social media and reach new audiences.
Yes, the days have seen a change in the way business works today, and technology has surely taken over several businesses. But at the same time, if used wisely, you can revive the age-old handmade businesses and crafts with a simple spiced-up effort of technology.
Online marketplaces are always the best option. Plus today, some tools can help these drowning businesses a bit. Tools used for sourcing, listing optimization, and advertising would work perfectly.
There is still a chance left to help these handmade businesses get back into the market. They are the ones that are keeping Indian culture one of the most appreciated globally today. When you are embracing tech, keep your roots true to your heart and keep a legacy alive.
Help the handmade craft survive. Because it's never too late to begin again!