Take home a quilt!
In September, Manchester Craft & Design Centre launched an exhibition called ‘Katab: Quilting Stories from India’ which showcased seven quilts made by a group of Katab (appliqué) artisans. The exhibition was on from 14th September – 12th November and was the outcome of a two-year project entitled ‘Katab- Not Only Money’ run by two artists LOkesh Ghai and Emma Sumner.
The project is all about enhancing the understanding of the traditional craft of Katab and honouring the creativity of its artisans. The quilts on display were handmade by seven female artisans who live in Vadaj- a semi-slum area in Ahmedabad with a strong history of appliqué work. The artisans make domestic decorations such as quilts and door hangings by recycling off-cuts of materials from local tailors and garment manufacturers.
Unfortunately, a lot of the commercial work available to the women comes through agents who take large commissions and dictate the design process. LOkesh and Emma have been working with these women, helping them develop a sustainable business model that allows them to receive 100% profit from the work that they make. The women can then make their own designs for market, removing the need for agents and allowing them to earn an income that reflects their skill and dedication. For many of the artists, the exhibition at Manchester Craft & Design Centre was their first opportunity to put their name to the work that they have made.
The seven quilts on display brought colour and vibrancy to our exhibition space and we were delighted when one of the quilts was sold. It was lovely to inform the artisans that their hard work and talent had been recognised, but it was amazing telling Vaishali – one of the female artisans – that her work had been taken home by one of our visitors!
Six of these quilts are still available and the money will go back to the artisans in India, enabling them to continue making for a career. If you are interested in buying a quilt, visit our online store for more information. You can also visit us in the office upstairs (Studio 24) or email Kaylee, our Exhibitions & Events Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org. All of the quilts are £240 and you can collect them from Manchester Craft & Design Centre or it can be posted out to you (UK only).
The quilts are not only beautiful but they tell the story of their makers, their locality and their histories. Our aim is to find new homes for all six of these unique handmade quilts, help us make this happen!