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Why Handicrafts

Handicrafts has always been a very basic activity of human society; for crafts are an integral part of our life. In fact they are found to be more cohesive in human relationship than even language, and can cross such barriers as the latter may create. Particularly has this been true of the ancient societies of Asia, south and central America, Africa and older countries like Greece where certain aspects of the hoary handed-down cultures still Continue to exercise powerful influences that almost seem ageless.

We recognize that craft is as much an expression of the human spirit in material from, which gives delight to mankind, as any of what are termed fine arts. In the craft world, however, there is no hiatus between serviceability and aesthetics. One may say that in good craftsmanship the two are identical, for while the Articles is useful it would also be beautiful in appearance and joy giving.
A craft is either a functional aid to your daily functions or non-functional whose only purpose is to be aesthetically pleasing.

Certain principles of design use a combination of colours. Our craftsmen seem to have an innate understanding on how to use the various art elements involved in an operation of creating an object. Every object is not just a shape or form. When a craftsman creates it, a definite design is worked out through basically organic or geometrical shapes. When the designs are repeated on a surface, a whole rhythmical composition emerges.


Here again the aesthetic elements come into play.

A rhythm is worked out by relating the size of the motif in relation to the surface by alternating positive-negative space or varying the size of the motifs. It is in the totality of this ultimate pasteurization that the final artistic value and significance of a finished object lies.

The growth of handicrafts in society was the sign of the cultivation of sensitivity and the stirring and mellowing of humanism. It stood for man's endeavour to bring elegance and grace into an otherwise harsh and drab human life. In fact man's elevation from the gross animal existence is marked by his yearning for something beyond the satisfaction of mere creature comforts and needs, which found natural expression in crafts. The early people, way back in the dim ages, began to ornament first their person, then Article's of everyday use, later their weapons, and finally their surroundings. The rough and server walls of their huts, the floor on which they sat, ate and slept, where they worshipped, all blossomed out into pictures. A death-dealing but very strategic item like the bow and arrow became embellished with decorations, water pots took on pleasing shapes and alluring designs came to cover the mundane kitchen pans. Here we see the transformation of the mere functional into works of art, the common becoming the cherished.

No aspect of life was too insignificant or humble to lay claim to beauty or acquire sanctity as symbol of good omen. The special Articless used for particular occasions in the way of clothes, ornaments, vessels, etc; had to have a certain standard to ensure a high quality even in daily life and usage. It also meant a continuous outflow of creativeness, a sustained spirit of animation and freshness which dispelled staleness and monotony.


This is not an exercise of the intellect which takes from in a secluded studio to become the proud possession of an individual or institution that has the means to pay the price. It arises from the deeper hunger of humanity, its functions socialized, for its use is distributed through the family and the entire community. Handicrafts is not preoccupied with subjective feeling and thought but objectivity. It can be asserted that the distinguishing attribute of handicraft is beauty, not merely in physical appearance but also in concept.

In traditional objects the repetitive element comes easy, for by now it has become a set pattern. Where it is aesthetically excellent the eye does not weary of the sameness. Its intrinsic beauty is perennial and does not seem to fade or decline. The proof lies in the continuing quest for the genuine traditional objects. I refer to the real lovers not pseudo ones who prize antiques as a status symbol.

Designs can be two or three dimensional, projected through texture, colour and the variations throughout by the interplay of light and shade in an object. It is the combination of these factors that make for the rhythm and contribute to the psychological impact o an object. Texture is projected by the variation of light striking a surface and getting reflected from the surface of an object. This texture plays a significant part in an Object's attraction and appeal. It can ooze a rugged earthly quality or a highly sophisticated smooth air. It is the vibrations generated by the various elements that make the psychological impact.

Similarly, colour can communicate even more vividly ideas and emotions. Our ancient crafts men, fully aware of the power of vibrations, had worked out their own system, very unorthodox from the prevailing concepts of colour and its role, both of which are very constricted. Our old craftsmen realized that the choice o colour was not to be an ad hoc matter determined by a whim or a fancy but purposeful in keeping with the environment around the mood of the occasion and the emotions to be stimulated and brought into play. Different depths are created by varying shadows; equally many visual depths are created by layers of bright colours.

The early Indo-Aryans were attracted to beauty as an attribute of godhead, and in India, which is one of the cradles of an infinite variety of handicrafts, beauty has been endowed with divinity, and worshipped. There are rich incantations and devotional lyrics addressed to beauty as the source of life. It is natural therefore that this reaching out to beauty and its manifold manifestations should be made a constant factor in the life of the people. This was assured by making beauty synonymous with good omen, and compulsive part of every ritual, ceremony, festival or celebration.

In the ancient books o the East it is said that when the hands of a craftsman are engaged in his craft, it is always ceremonial. Tools are after all but an extension of the personality of the craftsman to reach beyond the range of human limitations. The craftsman thus combines within his being the tradition that embraces both the producer and the consumer within the social fabric.


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