At metaphor racha, for the last 10 years, we have been working with many skillful hands at khadi institutes and various local crafts, but very much within Karnataka.
We neither own any khadi sangha nor do we take the ownership of our printers and embroidery craftspeople. But, we have been responsibly collaborating with all of them and continue to do so. We have always believed that a value-based product can be made only through a healthy exchange of knowledge and mutual respect.
Many rural handmade producers are going through challenging times. The reasons vary from... lack of craft practice documentation, unfair wages, the dearth of pride, non-relevant design, lack of raw materials, poor skills, non-existent market linkages, policy paralysis and many more...The scale and the complexity of the issues are so big that no individual or a company or even a government department can tackle it alone.
While we were content working inside the self-imposed territory, it was also a time to step out, explore and understand what is beyond.
One of the unfortunate outcomes of industrialization was the division between the 'designer' and the 'maker' which still needs to be realigned. Hence, facilitating the maker to be a designer is an important part of our work.
Coming together of the craftsperson and small brands to create a bigger impact and to present the relevance of the rural-craft to a wider audience has become inevitably significant.
The appropriateness of co-creating a product through interdependency yet non-hierarchical, choosing community over competition, engaging with traditional skill by adding value to the work, respecting the cultural significance, knowing human value chain and bringing their stories to the forefront, is what we as small brands have to strive for.
It is this small yet crucial step, to acknowledge the importance of collaboration in a larger craft eco-system brought us to a small town called "pedana" in Andhra Pradesh.