Sunday, December 26, 2010

These are some of the beautiful household products designed by Delhi Crafts Council in malkha. The work is done in traditional styles of kantha stitching and applique, by disadvantaged groups or traditional artisans guided and organized by NGOs.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This is the invitation for 'Malkha & Crafts' show to be held in Pune from January 13-16 2011. This time the Malkha Marketing Trust is the organizer of the exhibition, rather than participating in one organized by others. Most of the time we have a stall in the Nature Bazaars organized by Dastkar, and in June this year we took part in Sampoorn's Bangalore show, so the Pune show will be a first for us.

As the invitation says, there will be 5 crafts groups besides Malkha, and on the net you can find more information about Neev soaps, Jugaad by Karm Marg, and Weavers Wheel. Parampara Jana Seva Sangh combine jute and leather, or cotton and leather to make bags that last and last, and use traditional techniques in cheaper metals to make affordable jewellery. Radha Chitrakar and her family from Bengal carry on the tradition of painting scrolls [patts]of Ramayana & Mahabharata stories as well as reciting the stories; We hope they'll get an enthusiastic hearing in Pune.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dastkar Andhra Marketing Association's annual Hyderabad exhibition packed up yesterday. As usual it was full of wonderful fabrics from the Andhra co-operatives. In the picture are some favourites, two natural dyed sarees from Srikakulam woven with extraordinary and specialized weaving skills: The red saree has hand-set jamdani buttas and the indigo saree has a temple border with moga silk extra weft. In the jamdani technique the weaver weaves in by hand each motif line by line after each weft thread is beaten into place. For the temple border on the indigo saree a weaver [sometimes with a helper] uses 3 shuttles, the ones at each end carrying the weft of the borders. At each weft line the end shuttles have to be looped around the middle shuttle. Both these techniques need hand-sleying without the fly shuttle, so of course are much much slower to weave.

Awe-inspiring and humbling that such artistry is available to be worn today.

In the background a couple of dupattas from Chinnur which fly off the shelves because of their soft texture. Dastkar has re-inducted a new generation of weavers in the villages around Chinnur and the fabrics are among DAMA's hottest sellers.

DAMA's supplier co-operatives lost around 20 lakh rupees worth of production during the heavy rains this year, in spite of which DAMA's annual sale this year will be over 3 crores. DAMA has been self-sufficient for some time now, and is a model of a marketing enterprise serving rural production, supplying the vast Indian middle market at low cost with beautiful, good quality & reasonably priced fabrics.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We now get several inquiries from customers who have bought malkha at the various exhibitions, have enjoyed wearing it, and want to have access to regular outlets; particularly in Bangalore and Delhi, where we have now held several exhibitions and have built a loyal and devoted customer base. Our problem is that there is not enough production yet to justify the costs of opening a retail store in any of the metros - other than Hyderabad, of course, where our stock-room will double as retail outlet.

The solution is probably to have more 'home-sellers' like Sowmya Karthik in Chennai, who buys about 50 metres at a time and retails from her home. It would cut down our marketing costs substantially if we could sell in this way, making malkha regularly available to end-users, while we would continue selling larger quantities to retailers through e-mail orders.

So if any of the readers of this blog know people who would like to take this on, do let us know through e-mail []