Designers Meet Artisans - A Practical Guide

Price: INR 750/- (US$ 18.99)

Paperback. 168 pages.
Weight: 500 gms
Publisher: Grass Root Publications Pvt Ltd, New Delhi

The need for this volume arises from the concerns expressed, across all geographical borders, by artisans, craft activists and organisations for closer links between designers and artisans.

While design intervention in crafts is welcomed by some as a necessity and an opportunity for exploring new prospects, it is often considered by others as a threat. Designers Meet Artisans aims to address these concerns in an objective manner and clarify the scope, processes and modalities of a proper design intervention in crafts. This volume offers, for the first time, a dual presentation of the experiences of two countries—Colombia and India—which have a particularly rich and dynamic craft tradition. The case studies include the perspectives of design students and professional designers, thus offering analysis at two levels.

The selected case studies from different regions of India illustrate how interesting ideas and new intervention models can be developed for several purposes, whether for revitalising a languishing craft or for developing new products to create livelihoods. These case studies describe the design interventions of some of the leading practitioners and experts in the field.

Similarly, the case studies from the Colombian Design Laboratory, Bogota provide reflections on and strategies for design innovation in different crafts practised by artisanal communities in various regions through an interactive process respectful of their cultural identities and traditions.

Case Studies from India and Colombia. In the light of converging lessons learned about the development of effective partnerships, Designers Meet Artisans seeks to be a practical guide to the interaction between designers and artisans and the issues that arise in this interface, for a well balanced and mutually beneficial relationship applicable to a broad spectrum of the crafts sector worldwide.

This volume is proposed as a working tool and reference manual for decision makers, artisans, designers, students, design institutes, and craft NGOs that are interested in exploring the cultural and socio-economic role of crafts in a global context. The ultimate aim is to help all those involved in the promotion of the crafts sector ask the right questions rather than in delivering unequivocal answers.

The funds collected from the sale of the book will be used for research, documentation and design development of crafts and textiles.

You can also send in a Demand Draft of

  • Rs. 800/- (Within India);
  • Rs. 1250/- (US$ 30.00 - Outside India)
in favour of "The Craft Revival Trust" to the below address and the book will be sent to you.

Mailing Address:
S-4 Khirki Extension
Malviya Nagar
New Delhi - 110 017
Tel: 91-11-2954 5015, 2954 5144

Table of Contents
Section I: Theoretical Issues in a Practical Debate
  1. Interventions: The Whys
  2. Interventions: Markets and Buyers
  3. Interventions: Artisanal Creativity, Tradition, and Cultural Contexts
  4. Interventions: Technology and Change

Section II: The Indian Context
  1. Traditional Patterns of Artisanal Activity
  2. Contemporary Realities at the Macro Level
  3. The Crises in Indian Crafts
  4. A Reassessment

Section III: Case Studies: The Indian Initiatives
  1. Livelihood Restoration and Design Intervention Model: Cluster / Multiple-Village Approach for Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation
    • Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), CARE India, and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi
  2. Sustained Student Initiative: Bridging Product and Design Development to Create Livelihoods
    • Weaving Peace in Bongaigaon, Assam: A Project by the Action Northeast Trust (ANT)
    • Weavers of Phalodi, Rajasthan
  3. Livelihood Intervention: NGOs and Designers
    • The Potters of Aruvacode, Kerala
    • Dastkar: A Design Interaction with Chikan Embroidery
  4. NGO Design Intervention in the Revival of a Languishing Craft
    • The Embroidered Art of the Chamba Rumal
  5. Interaction between Design Students and Artisans for Design and
    Product Development and Long-term Design Reflection
    • Stone Craft Artisans’ Workshop
    • Continuing Education Workshop
    • Sri Kalahasti Wood Carvers
  6. Interaction between Design Students and Artisans for
    Design and Product Development
    • Namda/Felted Floor Covering
    • Mojari/Ethnic Footwear Project
    • Tarkashi/Metal-wire Inlay on Wood
    • Utilitarian Products in Blue Pottery
  7. Developmental and Livelihood Model of Interaction: Community Participatory Approach
    • Jawaja–The Rural University: National Institute of Design (NID),
      Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
  8. Craft Documentation: NGOs and Design Students
    • Panipat Khes: Documentation of a Languishing Craft
    • Blue Pottery of Delhi: Documentation of a Languishing Craft
  • Student–Artisan Interactions and Interventions
  • Short-Term Student–Artisan Design Interface: An Analysis
Section IV: The Colombian Experience: The Design Laboratory
  1. Background and Institutional Framework: Artesanías de Colombia
  2. Colombian Design Laboratory: Artesanías de Colombia
  3. Work Strategies
  4. Technological Innovation and Improvement
  5. Research and Product Development
  6. Integral Growth of Human Talent
  7. The Work Dynamic in the Design Laboratories
  8. Methodological Tools
  9. Creativity Workshops
  10. Computer-aided Design Workshop
  11. Design Consultancy
  12. Specialized Counselling
  13. Workshop Courses
  14. Technical Assistance
  15. Educational Tour or Mobile Workshop
  16. Seminars

Section V: Case Studies – Artesanías de Colombia: The Design Laboratory

  1. Casa Colombiana (Colombian House) Collection
  2. Case Study: Guadua (variety of bamboo native to Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela)
  3. Ethnic Furniture Collection: Innovation and Improvement of Competitiveness
  4. Case Study: Zenú Resguardo, San Andrés de Sotavento: Diversification, Expansion of Product Lines, and Innovation
  5. Case Study: Bolivar Municipality
  6. Case Study: San Agustín Municipality
  7. Case Study: National Jewellery Programme

Section VI: Guidelines

  1. Creating the Framework for Intervention: Some Guidelines
    • Determining the Reasons for the Intervention
    • Selecting the Craft, Artisans, and Geographical Area
    • Determining a Realistic Scope for the Intervention
    • Selecting the Format for the Intervention
  2. Pre-Field Preparation
    • Preparation and Orientation
    • Understanding the Craft and Its Context and the Environment
    • Understanding the Existing Processes of the Craft: Materials, Processes, Technologies, and Practices
    • Understanding the Artisan
    • Understanding the Markets
  3. Craft Documentation: Some Guidelines
    • Preliminary Research and Documentation
  4. Design Concerns
    • Understanding the Context and Integrating It into the Format of the Planned Intervention
    • Understanding the Material and the Process
    • Establishing Communication
    • Humanizing the Interaction and Respecting the Artisan
    • Treating the Artisan as a Creative Partner, Not Skilled Labour
    • Building Skills and Capacities
    • Recognizing the Importance of Space and Spaces
    • The Need for Sustained Follow-ups
  5. Product Concerns
    • The Need for Establishing Connections and Meanings in Product Development
    • Orienting the Artisan
    • Developing a Product USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
    • Tradition and Adaptation
    • Dealing with Materials, Processes, and Raw Materials
    • Skills, Processes, and Techniques and Technology
    • Sustainability
    • Marketability, Product Semantics, and Quality
  6. Regarding Markets
    • The Design–Marketing Interface
    • Some Basic Inputs
    • Producing for Local/Urban Markets
    • Producing for Export Markets
    • Merchandising
  7. Materials and Technological Change
    • Some Concerns regarding Materials
    • Some Concerns regarding Introduction of Technological Change
    • Using Appropriate Technologies
    • Exploring the Gendered Nature of Technology
    • Making Technological Change Participatory and Adaptive
  8. The Design Laboratory: Working Tools – Artesanías de Colombia
    • Planning
    • Research
    • Experimentation
    • Product Development
    • Market Testing


  • Possible Formats for Data Collection (A, B, and C)




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