If only Dastkar’s Nature Bazaar could go on forever. I may have to make a special trip back to India next October just to revisit the show. Here are more pictures of the crafts on display.
Many of the textiles at the show are naturally dyed, giving them these absolutely saturated and rich hues.
Artisans from Kala Raksha design their own products, including the most endearing cloth “board” games. Women fashion game boards out of patchwork and embroidered fabric. The pieces are leather or cloth figurines. I should have bought “Chutes and Ladders.” These games were among the most creative products I saw at Dastkar.
Patel Handlooms produces Maheshwari sarees in Madhya Pradesh, the region south of Delhi where I will be conducting my field research. My first trip will be in a week or two!
Kashmiri crafts seem to have had the most widespread success in international markets. I have seen boxes like this for sale in the States for years.
Block-printers create beautiful fabrics, but I never considered the blocks themselves to be works of art — until I saw Mr. Tahir’s and his award-winning father Mr. Mohammad Ayyub’s masterpieces. This block measured a foot and a half across, and its lace-like design was carved using metal tools as fine as dentists’ picks. As I lingered over the blocks for sale, I chatted with Mr. Tahir the carver, a man about my age who provided me with a steaming cup of chai. His family members have been carving wood blocks since the 1700s!
It’s high time I explained why, specifically, I have come to India. But this explanation will have to wait until the morning. It is 12:30am, and I am ready to be lulled to sleep by the artillery of pre-Diwali firecrackers outside my window…