Local handicrafts need promotion, say Goan craftspersons

Candolim (Goa), Nov 29 (IANS) From crochet, woodcraft, wall hangings to jewellery and even homemade Feni − Goan craftspersons are getting a rare worthy chance to showcase their handicrafts at the ongoing India Resort Fashion Week (IRFW), where fashionistas from different corners of the world have converged.

IRFW is giving a new dimension to the traditional Indian flea market by offering retail space to not just established and upcoming designer brands, but also to local craftspersons.

A Fashion Village is serving as a one−stop shop destination for unique crafts of the state. The products are catching the fancy of tourists and locals alike.

For the artisans, these handicrafts are a mirror to Goa's perennial beauty, and so promoting them well was indeed a need of the hour.

"We usually don't get a platform to promote such crafts as one can only see artisans in remote villages crafting traditional items. Hence, when we got to know that IRFW is also giving chance to promote our work, we quickly said yes. Afterall, we were getting the chance to promote Goan culure," an artisan selling decorative pottery told IANS.

Five local artisans are showcasing their skills throughout the four−day fashion extravaganza, which started Wednesday.

More than the business, it was the chance to promote culture that drew many to the second edition of IRFW.

"The sales will happen, but for me it is more about showcasing the real Goa in front of both domestic and international tourists. I think a platform like this really helps in getting the right exposure to local artisans, who are otherwise lost somewhere," Paola Sequeira, representative of Goa Handicrafts Rural and Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (GHRSSIDC), told IANS.

GHRSSIDC, a participating organisation at IRFW, came into being in the year 1980 with an intention to promote Goan handicrafts.

Sequeira is proud that "Goan artists have carved a niche for themselves with myriad handicrafts that have been the connoisseur of the eyes world over."

"Goan handicrafts are the most valuable assets of the beach state and these are not only ethnic, but their creative merit surpasses many costly trendy items of the present stage. Goans are very good at carving out showpieces out of natural materials like coconut husk or palm leaves," she added.

The state is known for its bamboo craft, woodcarving, brass metals, seashell craft, and wooden lacquer ware apart from jute macrame, crochet and embroidery, silver jewellery, cotton dolls, woollen tapestry and artistic weaving.

The price of the handicrafts start from as low as Rs.30 for a key−chain and even go into thousands and lakhs depending on the product.

A Feni manufacturer was seen offering the drink to all the visitors. It was being served in style in a coconut shell.

"Thank you sir, do come to Goa next time and I will serve you better than this," he told an international tourist while offering the drink, which is usually made using coconut or cashew.

The first day of the event hardly generated any sale for the artisans, but the visibility and acceptance managed to humble smile on their faces.

−−Indo−−Asian News Service

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