Monday, August 29, 2011

Creative Hands & Creative Minds

The most fascinating aspect of migration is that most often, a laborer will take a form of transport that is not an airplane- they will travel by ship, by bus, makeshift rickshaws, even walk. In this slow journey from 'home' to 'a city of opportunity', a worker carries with him not only his mannerisms, culture and 
memories but also the entire landscape and all his impressions en route. As a result, he arrives in the city as a pilgrim, filled with desire and hope from his own life's experiences. These, inevitably, manifest themselves in the community he seeks to find, and the work that he is made to do.

Since India is largely an agricultural economy, much of the rural landscape is farms. These areas suffer from too much labor and low yields, thus causing their move from the rural to the urban sector. Either families or friends have already moved to a certain city and can promise jobs, or their imagined idea of a city beckons. 

At Rugs by Raj, the workers come from all acorss India and commune in the large warehouses of Panipat. There is an exchange of information, of culture, of skill, of stories and of food. They lose themselves in the process of carpet weaving, listening to bollywood music, eating, sleeping, chatting with no further ambition than simply to make ends meet. In this osmosis, the rugs become ripe with diverse narratives. Narratives of the people whose energies cross over to create designs that spread across the international market.

Every Monday, workers, masters and designers come together for 'Innovative Mondays', Rugs by Raj invites all their staff to create a sample rug of their own design, with their own colors. This is both a way to encourage creativity and individual motivation as well as an efficient utilization of leftover yarn. 

It is on these Mondays that a migrant worker is no longer just a worker from another part of the country. His cultural identity and his natural and constructed landscape of home manifests itself in his visual aesthetic. And this visual aesthetic becomes design. 

Text: Wooly Eyes
Image courtesy: Wooly Eyes and Vasant Nath

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written and it is thought provoking. You weaved a emotional journey in your words.


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