Distt: Kutch, Gujarat
Tel: 91-2808-277237 / 38
Fax: 91-2832-255500 / 250410
Kala Raksha is a registered Society and Trust, a not for profit Non Government Organization which was founded on artisan initiative in 1993 in the village Sumrasar Sheikh, 25 km from Bhuj, in the desert region Kutch, in India. The Trust's mission is to preserve and protect traditional arts, primarily through assisting artisan cooperatives.
Comprising artisans, community members, and experts in the fields of art, design and museums, Kala Raksha Trust works hand in hand with traditional women embroiderers from six marginalized societies of Kutch.
Uniquely committed to documentation of existing traditions, the Trust maintains a collection of heirloom textiles housed locally at an international quality Resource Center and Museum. Documentation is dovetailed with income-generation. Kala Raksha's artisans work with designers and Trustees to create contemporary pieces inspired by the Museum.
A grassroots social enterprise, Kala Raksha encourages local participation in each phase of its work. Production begins with the highly developed craft traditions and is maintained at a village scale. Believing that
true development grows from self determination, the Trust exposes artisans to the entire process of design, production and marketing and encourages them to participate at all stages. Artisan-driven, Kala Raksha has artisans set their wages. Thirty percent of the price of Kala Raksha Products goes directly to these village women.
EMBROIDERY: A WOMAN'S ART
Kala Raksha focuses on the dazzling embroideries of Kutch. Today coveted in world markets, these embroideries traditionally were never commercial. Village women embroidered to beautify, to create social wealth, and to express their skill and affection. The styles that women used to embellish were extraordinarily varied. Different patterns of stitch and motif articulate cultural identity and history. Styles were regional, shared by different peoples living in one area, or ethnic, "belonging" to more isolated groups.
Kala Raksha works with six traditional arts: the regional embroideries suf, kharek and paako, practised by peoples of the greater Thar Parkar region, and the ethnic embroideries of Rabari, Jat and Mutava pastoralists.
Kala Raksha produces some of the most exquisitely hand embroidered and patch worked products made in Kutch. Using only natural fibers and wherever possible natural dyes, the Trust makes a wide range of garments, accessories and home furnishings. The Trust also strives to maximize local production, creating a network that benefits Kutchi craftspersons. Most of the textile products begin with 100% cotton and wool woven locally for them. The matka silk is produced by a co-operative in Bihar. The handloom is dyed locally with vegetable dyes brewed from roots, flowers, leaves and fruits. Labour intensive, these dyes are beautiful, and non-harmful to the dyers and costumers. Finally, the products are hand-embroidered by Kala Raksha's highly skilled women artisans. Older women whose eyesight is waning turn their design skills to patchwork, made from cloths printed and vegetable dyed in the age-old patterns of local communities.
SOCIAL WELFARE ACTIVITIES
In addition, the Trust provides social welfare activities, including programs in preventive health care, basic education, and group savings.
THE DESIGN SCHOOL: A NEW APPROACH FOR REVIVAL OF ARTS & CRAFTS
In its second decade, Kala Raksha seeks to address India's most pressing need: Education. Kala Raksha Vidyalaya, an institution of design for traditional artisans, will provide an environment and methodology
appropriate to traditional artisans, thus enabling artisans to revitalize the art.
Kala Raksha is currently in search of funding and manpower to continue and expand its preventive health care and basic education programs. The Trust is also taking applications for experienced professionals in Marketing and Production Management.
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