CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOPS
Two 10 days basic bamboo craft workshops were organised in July 2017 in Aushgram and Natungram. Altogether 73 participants attended these two workshops and got the opportunity to learn the craft. Advanced training was organized for 6 craftspersons in Raiganj. The workshops provided platforms for master trainers to share their knowledge of the standard process of bamboo craft. The workshops also aimed to encourage the new generation to take up the traditional craft which has good market demand.
Six Advanced Basketry Training Workshops were organized between April 2018 and June 2019. Among those, 4 were held at Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district and 2 at Natungram in Purba Bardhaman district. Altogether 131 participants, including 91 women, attended these six workshops and enhanced their skills from 8 established artists and designers. Veteran artist Natabar Jana and Lakshman Samat, local masters Champak Chandra, Ajit Das, Purna Das and external exponents Goutam Modak, Manas Acharya, Sanjoy Bose and Mrtiyunjay Kumar were present at the workshops.
One design diversification workshop targeting lifestyle items was held from 04.08.19 to 13.08.19 at Daspara, Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur. 19 weavers participated in the workshop and learnt the process of making utility and decorative items such as baskets,lampshades, pen stands and flower vases.
A bamboo jewellery making workshop was organised from 22.06.19 to 01.07.19 at Gazole, Malda. Soumita Thakur guided 12 female artists participating in the workshop. The workshop aimed at introducing the possibilities of making fashion accessories with bamboo apart from lifestyle items. The participants learnt to make accessories like necklace, earrings and pendants by modifying their bamboo weaving skills.
Product development possibilities were further explored with the artists at Daspara, Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur from 19.08.19 to 24.08.19. This workshop aimed at incorporating bamboo weaves with materials like terracotta and generating a possibility of creating a new range of finished products directly from the hubs. The terracotta was sourced locally making it possible for the artists to continue with the chain of production and ensuring creation of a new lifestyle items.
An exclusive exhibition and sale of the handicrafts named 'Bengal Hues' were held at Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Kolkata from July 25-27, 2017. Dhokra, Madurkathi, Sholapith, Tribal Patachitra, Bamboo craft, Pottery and Sabai grass were showcased in the exhibition. The exhibition attracted several people working with craft besides regular customers.
Basketry artists of Uttar Dinajpur and Malda showcased their craft at 'Naturally Bengal' between December 14 - 15, 2018 at Rabindratirtha and December 19 - 20, 2018 at ICCR, Kolkata. They also showcased at Gitabitan Mela from December 29 - 31, 2018.
An exposure visit to Tripura was organized between 9 and 13 April 2018, with 4 leading craftspersons including Manik Rabidas and Manoranjan Mondal from Gajol in Malda, Minati Das from Daspara, Uttar Dinajpur and Goutam Baishya from Kushmandi, Dakshin Dinajpur. The entire programme was designed in association with the Tripura Bamboo Mission and IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Ltd.
Communication Skill, Digital Awareness and Financial Literacy Workshop
A workshop with 16 Basketry artists of Uttar Dinajpur was organized on June 13, 2019 at Daspara, Raiganj to address the problem of technological ignorance. Various digital payment options, use of social media for promotion of artforms, general financial literacy and overall improvement of communication skills were the main targets of this workshop. The participants were enthusiastic about promoting their crafts on a global scale via social media platforms.
Participation at Events & Festivals
The artists doing bamboo work in order to showcase their intrinsic art form went to several events like Gitabitan Mela 2018, Madhyamgram Khadi Mela in 2018, Bengal-Goa Folk Festival, Craft Bazar Murshidabad and Surjahan too.