The terracotta craft community of Gundiyali is an enterprising community open to collaboration and growth. Over the journey of six years, various collaborative engagements through diverse projects, activities and events have taken place with the community starting in 2014. These include introducing innovation through design and technology, and the approach of experiential tourism among others.
The idea of collaboration helped in cultivating opportunities by bringing visibility to showcase, promote and celebrate the rich craft traditions of the country. “Emphasising collaboration” encouraged various organisations, institutes, and professionals to connect with the craft community of Gundiyali, leading to an intermingling web of ideas and network.
Project: Craft CoLABorative Fellowship
Craft CoLABorative fellowship was developed as a platform for an exchange of ideas and skills as a collaboration between design fellows and artisans. It was planned for fellows to understand the traditional craft practice and for artisans to dive into contemporary design challenges and find solutions together.
Process of conducting the fellowship Fellowship open call
There was an open call for the fellowship, and proposals flooded from across the country, of which 8 design fellows were chosen based on the novelty of their proposals to work with 8 craftspeople and their families. The fellows were from diverse fields like architecture, ceramic, art, communications and design research.
Collaborative making at Gundiyali
The fellowship was approached by fellows in collaboration with the craftspeople, co-creating their processes. The fellows immersed themselves into the craft environment, understanding the challenges of the community to develop contemporary outcomes with craftspeople and their families to satisfy local, national and international market needs. The fellowship outcomes led to products and product systems in the ranges of interior design, architecture, technology, gamification and interaction-led education, lifestyle and utility.
Ekta Gohel with Salim Suleman Kumbhar and family An architect by academic degree, Ekta is an alumni of CEPT University and worked with the craft fellow to develop a series of modular lamps by innovating different forms.
Leena Jain with Anwar Alimamd Kumbhar and family Leena is a design researcher and strategist, and an alumnus of NIFT Gandhinagar, she worked with the narratives of ‘home’, ‘traditional knowledge’, ‘time and ‘nostalgic affinities’ in Gundiyali with optimistic and proactive craft fellow Anwar Alimamd Kumbhar to create a product system that gamified traditional knowledge in form of a terracotta playhouse and a set of board games.
Monish Siripurapu with Jusab Amad Kumbhar and family Monish is an architect, an alumni of SPA Delhi who further studied robotic fabrication from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Spain. He worked alongside technically adept craft fellow Jusab Kumbhar in building a sustainable air conditioning system using terracotta.
Mrinalinee Bedi with Salim Ismail and family Mrinalinee Bedi is a student at the Indian Institute of Craft and Design, Jaipur – and focuses on fired material application in ceramics. In her collaboration with Salim Ismail Kumbhar, they develop a range of utility products for use at home.
Pawan Sankhala with Fakirmamad Nurmamad Kumbhar and family Pawan Sankhala is a product designer, an alumnus of NID who worked with Fakirmamd Nurmamad Kumbhar to create innovative forms of utilitarian products for use at home.
Saurav Sharma with Sidhik Kumbhar and family Saurav Sharma teaches Design as an Assistant Professor at Manipal University who also specializes in visual ethnography. In his collaboration with Sidhik Kumbhar he creates toys based on certain aspects of Gundiyali’s lifestyle and also records the stories of women craftspeople in the community.
Shreya Gupta with Abdul Karim Kumbhar and family Shreya is a ceramic artist based out of Himachal Pradesh, who works with contemporary forms. She in collaboration with Abdul Karim Kumbhar developed a range of contemporary home decor products like bells and wall niches giving them a touch of Gundiyali in shape and ornamentation.
Sushma Madappa with Salim Kasam Kumbhar and family Sushma is a ceramics artist who worked in market research for several years before switching to pottery. She translated the various quotes and observations of the craft family into product range inspirations and created a range of home decor products with innovative contemporary forms.
Event: Ekatra, spinning the wheel together
The exhibition brought together the idea of co-creation of design and innovation using the traditional craft skills and techniques with contemporary design. It was a dissemination of the three-year-long craft design innovations done in the terracotta craft cluster of Gundiyali with the craftspeople and their families. The exhibition displayed interior architectural instalments, design thinking, infrastructural upgradation, technological installations, design workshops, exposure sessions to marketing, media and technology done in the craft community, taking further to develop the cluster into the Craft Experiential Tourism hub. This exhibition also displayed the products co-created by the craftspeople and the designers from the first ever Craft CoLABorative Fellowship, a collaborative initiative by Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC), CEPT University and Manthan Educational Programme Society, Ahmedabad. Ekatra was housed at the Kanoria Centre for the arts in Ahmedabad.