Wednesday 15 April 2015
Traditional print crafts often celebrate and depict the world from which they came. Whether that be in the colours and dyes they use, or the designs that reflect the activities of the villages in which the people that make them live and work, vibrant local fabrics often have a story to tell. All you have to do is look.
The artisans of Tilonia, a village in the heart of Rajistan in India, have gone a step further. The people there have been helped by a social enterprise programme based on a partnership from the American-based Friends Of Tilonia charity, and Barefoot College, an NGO that has provided basic services and solar electricity to deprived areas of the sub-continent for quite some time. When the opportunity came to start up a business using the colourful prints of the region, the local craftspeople had a good idea.
They have launched a range of bags and scarves, using designs that represent the work that Barefoot College and Friends of Tilonia have done to help the village. A warm, circular motif invokes the solar power that has been installed and maintained by women trained by Barefoot College, while a rectangular pattern represents books, an indicator of education provided to women in the region. The artisans of Tilonia are skilled in embriodery, block printing and tie-dying. The new range of accessories uses those ancient skills in a clever new context, to celebrate the way modern technology has helped to transform their lives.
For more on Barefoot College's programme in Tilonia, check out their website: http://www.barefootcollege.org/