Text: Sohini Dey | Images: Courtesy A Hundred Hands
In Bagli Tehsil, Madhya Pradesh, tribal women craft bags and clutches using patchwork and geometric patterns. Coorg resident Thangamma Monappa uses decoupage in storage items and whips up lip-smacking preserves. Mahesh lives in his own glass kingdom, using biochemistry to conjure works of art. Starting tomorrow, these—and artists from across India—will be in Bangalore to showcase their masterpieces at the Annual Handmade Collective, an initiative of A Hundred Hands.
FOR THE LOVE OF CRAFTS
Now in its sixth year, the event is the brainchild of Mala and Sonia Dhawan, co-founders of A Hundred Hands. “We opened our garden some years ago for a women’s farming collective showcase,” says Mala. “As requests from other artists followed, some located as far as Kumaon, we realised that we could offer artists a centrally located platform to display their creations. The first Handmade Collective was launched in 2010.”
Following a successful inauguration, they created The Artist Membership Programme to assist craftspersons in developing their designs and branding, and discovering sustainable markets. Since then, the number of exhibiting artists has grown to 80, with a whopping 200 more in the waiting list.
FEAST FOR THE SENSES
This year, the exhibition theme is “Science in Art”—a natural area of interest for Mala and Sonia who hail from a science background—drawing attention to the scientific principles behind artisanal practices. From mathematically conceived handlooms to knits based on binary principles, shopping here comes with new eye-opening information on your favourite crafts. On our must-see list: Romla Thomas’s impeccable quilted designs and GS Jayanthi’s artworks made using spices.
While you scour new closet and home additions, children can learn making toys from trash and understand scientific concepts through crafts at workshops conducted in collaboration with Innovation & Science Promotion Foundation and Arvind Gupta Toys.
THE WAY FORWARD
Having gained a fan following among locals aficionados, A Hundred Hands is now keen on exploring new territories. Apart from the December event and a mid-year Monsoon Collective, the founders have also hosted exhibitions in Kochi. But there’s more good news in store. “This January, we will host our first exhibition in Mumbai at the prestigious Bhau Daji Lad Museum,” reveals Mala. Make sure you save the dates!l