Our Work

What is a handicraft?|Our Mission & Vision|How do we work?|We want to...|We believe...

How do we work?

HoI has two broad categories of work. In the first category, we work with master artisans, who have a family tradition of the craft, and provide them with financial, quality and marketing assistance. In the second category, we provide services ranging from skill identification, training, design and development, quality control and marketing. As HoI grows, we hope to invest more in the second category of work where we provide the gamut of services initially, and move the artisans to the first category where design inputs, along with quality and marketing assistance would suffice. We believe that quality handiwork, provided it is designed well for the current lifestyle, is capable of generating enough income to sustain economically self-sufficient groups of artisans.

 

Most of the artisans that we work with are not educated beyond high school, but they have a younger generation, which has a relatively better access to technology and training. A fair wage, appreciation of the craft and market reaching them at their homes, rather than them having to go out and look for jobs, would go a long way in convincing them to take up the craft as their vocation. Coupled with their education, they can reach the market directly and use HoI’s inputs on a need basis.

 

Over the last few years we have gotten in touch with artisans at their homes, and sometimes in local exhibitions all across the country. The handicraft sector is the second largest employer in India after agriculture.  Many of the traditional handicrafts, like the Mysore Silk have been awarded the GI. In most cases, we start a project by visiting these places and arranging a first-hand meeting with the artisans. In some cases, inspired by the stories of a particular craft, we have gone in search of them, sometimes successfully, and sometimes in vain. We have also ended up with a few unexpected finds. A lot of our items have been used at our homes by many generations such as Calcutta Khes (soft cotton blankets), Korai mats (mats made from river grass), Appliqued blankets, Tirunelveli brass lamps and cookware, handmade laces and toys.

 

We design the products keeping in mind the art practiced by the artisan involved (be it embroidery or weaving or any other) and apply a good understanding of the process involved in the craft, and then give the artisans few samples to make. Once the samples are ready and approved, more pieces of the same type follow. The samples also help us in creating a quality sheet for the product, which specifies every single step that needs to be completed and checked before the product is declared as ready. So far we have been working with traditional designs and functionality, but lately we have been venturing into designing new stuff and imparting training to broaden the skills of the artisan.

 

In future we would like to create a network of HoI offices across the country, which the artisan can reach easily. We believe that we need to be a grass-roots organization based out of every state. HoI plans to train and employ locals to create design and quality control outfits. These local outfits will be the single point of contact for artisans to get their products checked for quality, and further shipments of the products to customers worldwide. These network offices will provide a window to the world for the artisans. Design workshops, documentation of art forms, motifs and processes, and assistance in delivering an order will be some other activities that these offices will provide.

 

 

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