In the last year, Direct Create has worked extensively on design projects for clients like Fabindia, Reliance Foundation, KGK group, Nicobar, Sujan Luxury and many more. As collaborators, we seamlessly navigate design thresholds from crafted products to large-scale projects. On the following pages, we’ll illustrate how we are able to leverage the Direct Create principle of collaboration to realize projects that cross industries and sectors – from architectural solutions to sustainable textiles and historic public spaces.
This pandemic has created havoc and has brought disruption into many lives including the craft communities. The effect has been enormous with the changing economy, reduced spending and subsequent lockdowns. The artisans and makers are facing the brunt because tourism has come to a grinding halt and spending capacity has decreased or we should say that it has become thought driven. The handcrafted products do not come in the essential category, but given a thought, we can make it a personal choice to adapt to more sustainable ways to lead our lives. There is always a way to switch to a better alternative which is healthier, joyful and has a personal touch to it.
This festive season is not going to be like the usual ones we all have celebrated till now. The pandemic has brought us all to a new normal, a change in conscience, to lead our lives more meaningfully and to spread positivity across all strata. We have sourced handcrafted products from the original makers and have curated the Gifting Collections for you. This is our initiative to bring a change in the livelihoods of our artisans, who have the exclusive knowledge of the rich cultural craft heritage of India.
We urge you to give a thought, bring a smile and spread happiness throughout the colorful festive season by buying directly from the makers. Customise and create your own personalised collections that adds meaning to the overall concept of gifting. The joy of gifting will spread happiness to your friends and family and at the same time bring hope to the artisan families. Remember that these times too shall pass.
The Craft and Handmade Collective is an informal group of over 500 (and growing) professional individuals and organisations passionate about the craft and handmade industry in India. It includes artisans, master craftsmen, producer organisations, designers, design studios, retailers, e-commerce platforms, NGO’s, craft institutes, design schools and colleges, media, and other stakeholders.
The HFH movement is working for the resurgence of the craft and handmade sector during COVID crisis and beyond. We believe that the sector can be energised through research, education, design intervention and market stimulus. We are looking at how consumer behavior and needs will be changed due to the COVID crisis. We are motivating designers to curate and create good quality and value for money products. We are going to run a campaign to sensitise the market to the crisis facing the sector and how buying craft and handmade products serves a dual purpose. Making craft a subject in education will enable the millenials and future generations to have an appreciation for craft. With this thought process, Hand for Handmade is proceeding with working groups around Education, Design Intervention, Market Campaigns and Repository.
A lasting legacy of eighteenth-century India that continues to delight visitors and residents of Jaipur is the Jal Mahal on Mansagar lake. Moving away from Amber, Sawai Jai Singh founded the city of Jaipur in 1727, whereas contemporary historians date the Jal Mahal to 1734. The Mansagar lake is strategically located to join the ancient capital of Amber with late mediaeval Jaipur as a junction between the old and the new. The lake is a pivotal point to the north that is surrounded by all that is quintessential of Rajasthan’s landscape. Low hills, forests and forts, a perfect landscape from which to enter or exit the Pink city. Till very recently the monument was an abandoned structure, with its terraces and pavilions derelict with age, its gardens rendered invisible. At the same time, its trees grew wild amidst the concrete and plaster of botched conservation efforts of the past. All of this set within a toxic lake into which the city’s drains emptied out. The structure’s significance seems to lie in its symbolic connection with water and it cannot be seen independent of the dam and the creation of the lake.
The Swadesh Bazaar was an immersive experience into India’s deep cultural heritage, curated and designed by Direct Create. Thematically designed around 108 Crafts of India - a sacred number with roots in ancient mysticism - were showcased to represent each and every state of India.
Commissioned by the Reliance Foundation, an Indian philanthropic initiative driving sustainable development across India, the exhibition was initiated to encourage the craftsmanship of traditional Indian artisans, with a special focus on preserving and reviving indigenous craft traditions. The exhibition not only provided livelihoods to thousands of such artisans but also gave them an opportunity to showcase their rare works from every corner of India to a global audience.
Located on the South Gola scope of the Himalayas, the Chestnut House was a Sanskrit researchers work of adoration for his Polish spouse. In 1933, when his significant other was achy to visit the family for the colder atmospheres of her local nation, in a ploy to extinguish this yearning, he constructed her a house in Uttarakhand, thick timberlands.
A long time later, the 80-year old house was changed over to what is today by Direct Create team as the Jilling Terraces – a wonderful resort settled between Nanda Devi and its encompassing pinnacles.
Covered up inside thick Himalayan backwoods, the 45 acre of land Jilling Terraces is only reachable by a 2km climb from Matial Village in Uttarakhand.
Chestnut House, one of the stone cabins at Jilling, looks out from behind the fog and trees. Overwhelming with sentimental idea, the bungalow and the rooms of the Chestnut house have names and stylistic layout mixed with motivation taken from Himalayan widely varied vegetation. The property is true to sustainability and ecological tourism with furniture, decor, furnishings, utility and wellness products have all been produced by local communities or artisans from India.
We exhibited at the MDW 2019 on the theme "Craftsmanship in the Digital Age" to showcase the impact of traditional craftsmanship on modern design. The possibilities of combining time-honoured crafts with futuristic ideas that are only limited by the imagination of the creator. Direct Create bridges the gap between tradition and innovation to define a new collaborative future for sustainable artisanal crafts. Through the installation, works of Indian artisanal and creative community reached the international audience and business players. Through the week, we engaged in dialogue with the creative community that attends the Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile.
300-year-old monument rejuvenated. 310 acres of lake and wildlife habitat restored.
150,000 lives in the community impacted. The magical revival of the Jal Mahal monument, an 18th-century floating pleasure palace of royalty, and its surroundings, transformed the historic building from a crumbling environmental disaster and toxic wasteland into the shining glory of Jaipur.
The project envisioned a 100-acre mixed-use tourism infrastructure that could restore ruins and serve as a green leisure destination. The commissioners called in the founders of Direct Create to give the palace, once deemed to have “no real historical value” and “ruined beyond redemption,” new life. To bring the Jal Mahal back to its former glory, the team collaborated with more than 400 craftsmen and artists from across Rajasthan. They recruited experts from around the world and harnessed the skills of local craftsmen and masons for the extensive overhaul – structures were restored; artists painted frescoes and murals throughout; flora revived; pavilions showcase the best of Jaipur's traditional decorative arts. Today, the Jal Mahal has become a landmark of Jaipur and is a glowing showcase of the vibrancy of India’s craft skills and living traditions.
The Direct Create team managed the INR 220 crore worth business of the Home and Lifestyle SBU at Fabindia during 2017-18. The business had 12 Home and Lifestyle categories such as Furniture, Tableware, Linen, Rugs and Dhurries and more.
Designing and merchandising of over 5,000 new products to infuse exciting and inspirational products and categorisation of all product ranges into a system which could bring uniformity across communications: Efficiency, Texture, Sustainable, Power and Luxury. Fabindia is India's largest retail private platform for products that are made from traditional techniques, skills and hand-based processes.
When an Indian business family wanted to push the envelope of the grand Indian wedding by making it sustainable, creative and impactful, it appointed Direct Create to envision the wedding. With a quest to revive the arts and timeless techniques of yesteryears and to produce fashion inspired by royalty yet fit for the 21st century style, Direct Create conceptualized and created a customized, theme-based wedding which offered a unique amalgamation of ancient craft forms from across India with contemporary design and lifestyle.
Local and international collaborations created the journey of this project and generated both tangible and intangible impact. It created opportunities for thousands of artisans and; encouraged community exchange, creative development, more rooted and long term engagement with the varied arts and crafts of India. As Direct Create brought together international artists and local artisans for this project, it facilitated collaboration by creating a transfer of ideas across continents. Direct Create converted the hand painted design of the designer to line art which was then used by pattachitra artists to create the pattachitra panel which could be used as a wall hanging. This way, the invitation became timeless and contributed to the artistic development of local artisans.
Technology integration through the DC network:
he artisans who were involved in this project were/will be integrated to the Direct Create platform for enhancement of opportunities and collaborations in the future. Direct Create is making the dated process of art discovery and buying much easier and quicker with a number of players embracing a digital-first approach to sell art.
Pattachitra Artists from Raghurajpur:
This project generated a 3-month work opportunity for 80 families in Raghurajpur, Odisha. The total number of artisans involved were over 200 in number. Teams were lead by Master artists who supervised the young apprentices.
Wood-Brass and Laquer work from Muradabad:
More than 550 artisans made 2600 lacquered wooden boxes in Moradabad, U.P. These included the brass workers, woodcarvers and leatherwork artisans.
Harela...the greens ..a word I heard for the first time in the hills.Its a festival dear to the Kumaoni, possibly the most popular only after Diwali. It is their way of paying obeisance to mother earth. Harela this year fell on the 7th of July heralding the onset of the monsoons.
Watch Sheela Lunkad, co-founder of Direct Create talk about “Scaling up Creativity with Technology” with Sanmitra Chitte, World University of Design. She talks about how Technology can be used to connect the vast creative communities to the worldwide ocean of opportunities. She also talks about working towards a digital handmade future where a platform like Direct Create can seamlessly undertake new design thinking, business processes and innovation to the Crafts sector.