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A Hundred Hands gives craftsmen a much-needed boost

A Hundred Hands, the Bengaluru-based artisans collective, is back this week for the first time since the pandemic struck

Edition XI of A Hundred Hands, a collective of handmade products by craftsmen from around the country, will take place from November 24 to 28 in Bengaluru. A Hundred Hands was founded by sisters Mala and Sonia Dhawan in 2010 with the aim of bringing creators and their clientele together.

This year, the team will host around 110 artisans from different parts of the country, with each of their products reflecting the theme of sustainability. Apart from motifs and material, these craftsmen have utilised natural dyes and non-toxic paints in their creation of eco-friendly products.

“The past two years have been really challenging for artisans; the pandemic not only brought business to a halt, but also raw material was hard to come by, making it doubly difficult for them to earn their living,” says Mala Dhawan, adding that organising the event post pandemic has boosted morale within the community.

Artisans have been braving the recent spate of rain and erratic train schedules to make it to the event. “We are getting to see other artisans from A Hundred Hands after long — that is a huge plus. Of course, we are also happy that this is also a chance to sell our work,” says Mohan Prajapati, an artist from Rajasthan.

At the collective, 100% of sales goes back to the creators and this year, many Bengaluru-based artisans participating in the event have have subsidised their costs and contributed to help out those arriving from out of town, adds Mala.

Volunteers have pitched in every way possible to organise the event. “Curation, design, coordination, social media — have all fallen into place due to the efforts of volunteers and supporters. As many as 27 interns from Srishti School of Design’s mentorship project are also helping with the event,” says Mala, adding that all the artisans have been vaccinated and COVID-19 protocols will be followed during the event.

More than 30% of the artisans will be making their debut at this edition of the collective. Apart from traditional art forms, jewellery and home decor products from across the country, items sporting a GI tag such as Udaygiri cutlery and Khana fabric from Karnataka will also be showcased, alongside natural dyes and embroidery work.

Workshops on miniature painting and pottery as well as live demos, will also be a part of A Hundred Hands which will be held at Bangalore International Centre (BIC) from November 24 to 28.

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