Craft design innovation in terracotta craft cluster of Gundiyali
2015 - 2019
Craft Design Innovation Project is an attempt to initiate an all inclusive and participatory process, bringing together the fields of craft and design. The idea is to engage with Terracotta cluster of Gundiyali, a small village in Kutch, and to explore possibilities of co-creating new products and interior architecture elements. Gundiyali has around 72 potter families who have been practicing terracotta craft since ages and have inherited the craft from their forefathers.
Divided over four phases, this project attempts to strengthen the relationship with craft
community and empower them with multiple skills of craft design innovation.
• Phase 1: Craft Innovation Training Program
• Phase 2: Community driven Innovation Training Program
• Phase 3: Spatial re-configuration of the work spaces
• Phase 4: Craft Experiential Tourism
The project began with a detailed mapping of Gundiyali craft cluster, which produced comprehensive information consisting of craft process images, craftspeople data, tools and techniques, final product details etc. The mapping stage gave a deeper insight on the number of active craft practices. On the basis of the research and mapping the team at DICRC further engaged with the Gundiyali craft community to trigger new ideas through various contextual programs. These were - the Craft Innovation Training Program (April 2015), Craft Exposure Sessions in Ahmedabad (August 2015), International Exchange workshop as part of International Master of Interior Architectural Design, IMIAD (September 2015), Craft Demonstration Sessions (January 2016), Community driven Innovation Training Program (February 2016), Digitising and archiving Craft products (July 2016), Exhibition and demonstration at Maker Fest (January 2017), Spatial re-configuration of workspaces (February 2017), Craft CoLABorative Fellowship (December 2018) and Ekatra: Spinning the wheel together (March 2019).
The key visible results of the project have been the increase in the number of craftspeople practicing the craft, an increase in the selling opportunities, and development of a wide variety of innovative products. There are around 80 families who practice craft in Gundiyali, out of which around 30 families have started practicing the craft full time. It has resulted in the creation of several interior-architecture design prototypes and lifestyle accessory products.
The project was also successful in documenting, and increasing participation of women in the craft. More than 30 women took lead in craft processes and also narrated embedded stories and narratives related to terracotta craft. The project processes and outcomes have been documented through training methodology kits, spatial reconfiguration plans, research reports, exhibitions and craft demonstration sessions in India.