Srinagar: A team of more than 50 students and Faculty members of School of Fashion Technology (SoFT), Pune visited Kashmir this week to understand the making of Kashmir Art and Craft and undertook the Craft Safari scheduled for them by the Department of Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir, in three separate batches, as part of their study tour.
During their 5 day Craft safari, the participants visited different Artisans Karkhanas/ Units located in the areas of Kathidarwaza, Khanqah, Zadibal and Nawakadal areas of Srinagar city. The units of Aristapple, Pashmina spinning, Pashmina weaving, Pashmina rafugari and Moiaksi were visited in the Kathidarwaza area which proudly opens its panes to scores of golden handicrafts’ hands of this region.
The workplaces of Mir Abdul Majeed master artisan in Aari Embroidery craft, Mohammad Aslam Khan of Sozni Craft, Pashmina Rafugari unit of Mushtaq Ahmad Jan, Pashmina Spinning unit of Khadija and Fahmida, Unique Handloom Cottage Industry of Pashmina Weaving and the Moikashni unit of Basharat Ahmad were covered.
In the neighbourhood of Khanqah Shah-e-Hamdan, the team visited the work place of Mohammad Shafi Mir, a 100-year-old business of dyes and threads presently owned by Bashir Ahmad.
The team visited Shah Handicrafts, a Paper Machie unit owned by Syed Amjad and the unit of Ghulam Mohi ud din Beigh who is a master artisan in the Sozni craft at Zadibal.
In the Nawakadal area, the team visited the Kani Weaving unit of Naseer Ahmad Mir, Pashmina Weaving Unit of Javaid Ahmad Malik and Crewel/Chain stitch Unit of Farooq Ahmad Bhat.
During the activity the faculty members and students interacted and engaged with the craftsmen associated with these different crafts. The participants were elated during the journey by diving deep into the process of the artefacts making, by the artisans who have been responsible for the preservation of the art over the centuries.
The team also visited the Craft Museum School of Designs located in the premises of the Kashmir Haat where the faculty members/students, besides a one-point place of visualizing the different crafts and other intricate designs prepared by SOD. They also interacted with the Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir and other officers/officials of the department.
Speaking on the occasion, Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir said that the Department has been in close contact with the institute to materialise such type of interventions and the present programme is significant especially after Srinagar being recognized as the UNESCO’s Creative City in the field of Craft and Folk Art and launch of craft Safaris which have gained a lot of attraction from people within the country and abroad.
The Department is open to such interventions for the benefit of the artisan community of the valley and shall leave no stone unturned to explore the possibilities for design evolution and extension of marketing facilities to these artisans, he said.
To facilitate tour of the visiting team the department constituted an official team for liaising with the visiting team to ensure that maximum benefits are reared during this span of their visit.
This intervention is first of its kind between the School of Technology, Pune and Department of Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir after the deliberations already held in the month of November, 2022 with the faculty members of the School of Fashion Technology, Pune. Due to this intervention the design evolution is expected to improve and the Kashmir handicrafts gains its presence in the fashion shows outside the UT to give vast opportunities to the artisans to extend their market presence. Further tie up with other universities is under way.