Several millennia ago there was a land upon which a great civilisation rose. The people that built this civilisation developed great skills in all fields of human endeavour and their fame for their craftsmanship spread far and wide across distant lands and high seas. Tradesmen came from far and wide to seek these treasures and the land of India came to be equated with the highest ascends of human creativity…. then came the British, a nation of shopkeepers led by a queen that had trampled the last vestige of their cultural inheritance. This led to a catastrophic collapse of our nation’s craftsmanship inheritance.
Today, with hindsight, we are able to better understand our loss. As a result we are seeing a revival in preservation of this lost culture. Museums have sprung up, educational programs have been set up in an attempt not to forget. In small pockets of rural areas, preservation of these long lost skills have been sustained by passing them from one generation to the next. Efforts have been made to encourage such pockets of knowledge by facilitating market access to these craftsmen. However, a true revival of our age old crafts is only possible by nurturing the demand for these creations. Sustainable demand can only be achieved if we are able to rediscover as a nation the utility and necessity of these products. Crafted creations that end up as shelve decorations or piece of art will meet a slow death. Rediscovering and encouraging their usage in our everyday life is the best way to ensure a golden future for the hands that have created them.
This is AKFD ‘s mission. A design studio led by Ayush Kasliwal on a mission to rediscover, re-empower and reintegrate our lost craft-knowledge into our modern society. In his own words…
I believe that design is in the relationship between an object and the people who interact with it. This is a very individual experience and the result is value. For me, it is giving this `value’ to our customer, not only for what the product is, but for what it stands for- simplicity, honesty, and … a sense of play. Another aspect which is very important and dear to us is how things are made, who makes them, and do they do this out of choice, or circumstance. India as a country has a long tradition of making, and it is upon us, the young design people to take this forward into the centuries to come.
Rohida wood jar
Collector’s delight. Rohida is a rare, dense grained wood.The Rohida tree is self propagating and cannot be planted. The wood is inherently hygienic and has been used by the Jain Monks over centuries as vessels for food.The section of this jar is amongst the thinnest in the world and has been impeccably finely crafted.This is a classic Lota shape in wood.
Iron Jewellery Hanger
The Gadia Lohar community of nomadic ironsmiths travel Rajasthan repairing and creating farm equipment, kitchen utensils. Here they are improvising on their horseshoe making skills to create iron trees for hanging jewellery and other ornaments. Available in black, silver plated, gold plated finishes
Goonda wood bowls
Made from the Goonda tree, these bowls are lacquered using food-safe lacquers. They stack into one another.
Rohida wood lacquered coasters
The Rohida range is made from the wood of the Rohida tree (Tecomella Undulata) which is native and unique to Rajasthan. The wood, besides being a strong and stable hardwood is beneficial for health. It is a rare, dense grained wood. The craftsmen make extremely thin walled vessels with considerable accuracy and consistency, a skill , which few, if anywhere in the world possess. The section of these objects is amongst the thinnest in the world. This craft is dying a slow death as the wood is increasingly rare and at the same time there is declining patronage amongst the Jain community, who’s monks carry vessels made in this wood as alms bowls. Our effort at AKFD is to provide alternative marketing channels for the traditional products and at the same time develop more products that utilize the traditional skills.
Jia Brass candle holders
The ‘Jia’ Brass Band is Jaipur’s most popular wedding band. Candlesticks inspired by the band’s cymbals celebrate the exuberant activity of bringing wedding families together with music. Made from highly polished spun brass, a family of these elegant candlesticks will make a splash at any function!