Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Of rag dolls, jugalbandi and making unique hand crafted toys

The Delhi boy and girl made by Madhubani artists
I spent the last week at Asian Heritage foundation conductng a Jugalbandi workshop on making rag dolls. It was organised by Jiyo an intiative of AHF for the world bank
"Jugalbandi is a performance in Indian classical music, especially the Hindustani classical music, that features a duet of two solo musicians. The word jugalbandi means, literally, "entwined twins."

The aim of the workshop was to to bring together craftspeople from different disciplines and get them to share their skills and learn from each other. This is the reason it was called a “Jugalbandi” workshop.
The area of product development was doll making from waste fabrics. 

The raw form made by the Kathputli artisan
 The artisan groups involved were women from Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. Their main occupation was farming and rearing a  rear breed of chicken called Kadaknath. They learned the skill of doll making to supplement their income.
We had Babita Devi and Narmada Devi from Mithila, Bihar both accomplished painters who were looking for new products to make.
Rajesh and his father are Kathputhli artisits from Shadipur depot. When they came for the workshop they did not know what they would do.
Sheela Chowdhory, an accomplished doll maker who has been making dolls from waste for over 20 years.

The first first day were uncomfortable as we did not know how to find common ground and what to make. As a warm up we started with drawing. We then tried to animate the drawings into 3D forms using cloth and other waste.  Among other things we made a Khajur tree, a lion, a peacock, Ravan and a pigeon!

Thinking before we draw!
A drawing made by one of the participants
The Madhubani artists painted on 3D fish and also soft dolls in abstract forms.
The Kathputli artisits struggled to make new forms. All they wanted to make was elephant, horse and camel. They experimented with new cloth and trims. With bold colours and prints.

Soft toys painted by Madhubani artists

Babita devi painting a self portrait

The Kathputli artisan

The ladies from Jhabua benefitted the most. They learnt to paint from the Madhubani artisits and they learnt to construct 3D forms from the Kathputli artist. We spoke about festivals and rituals and even had a Bhil Wedding of the dolls made during the workshop. (the video below takes time to upload)

Bhil wedding

Towards the end we had some exceptional products like the dinosaur made by the kathputli artist. The women from Jhabua made dolls inspired by real people. Each one unique.

The Aditi doll inspired by me made by Kina Domar

Rag dolls reperesenting people in the workshop
Participants of the Jugalbandi workshop
The idea of empowering women and finding ways to use waste creatively is at the heart of what we do at Pure Ghee Designs. And the workshop tied in well with our core values. We will keep you posted on how we use our learnings from the workshop in our design and process at Pure Ghee Designs.


Rose N said...

I really liked this post! It's very interesting :)

Aditi Prakash said...

Thanks for your feed back Rose!

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