SRINAGAR: Taking the Craft Safari to the next level in its fourth edition, the Handicrafts and Handloom Department today visited various artisan common facilities and showcased part of the institutional infrastructure.

The Craft Safari was started after the recognition of Srinagar in the UNESCO creative city network in the field of Craft and Folk Art.

The team members including officials and a number of professionals and art lovers started the new year and the craft safari from the Pashmina Testing and Quality Control Lab (PTQCC) at Bagh-e-Ali Mardan Khan, Srinagar. The PTQCC has been instrumental in certifying and labelling the genuine handmade Pashmina viz a viz Hand Spun and Hand Woven Pashmina.

To derive economic benefit from GI registration, the Pashmina products are certified and labelled with alphanumeric code for the genuineness and authenticity of the handicraft product. The testing and labelling activities being carried out at the centre have shown an increase in growth during the last year due to the rigorous advertisement for the pure pashmina campaign not only on the social media handles of the department but also on the signboards established on all corners of the city as well as on the International Airport Srinagar.

Braving the chill, the team preceded to the Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT), Srinagar. The IICT has been mandated to provide technical support to the regional Carpet Industry through Human Resource Development Design Creation and Development, Research and Development and Technical Services and Facilities to the Industry.

The Institute has developed unique Carpet Design Software wherein the carpet designs are created, developed and automatically converted into Taleem Scripts and the design thus created is preserved forever. This innovation has eased the design work enormously as it used to take months together for a group of persons, comprising of Naqash (Designer), Taleem writer and a Taleem Copyist, to make a carpet design of standard size and transfer the design drafted on graph paper into the coded pattern known as taleem in the local language. The Institute has created a Design Bank in the digital form for the carpet craft. The digitization of handwritten Taleem papers of more than 350 traditional carpet designs have been preserved in the soft form, which can be recreated as per the prevalent market requirements for further development.

The team continued its 4th edition of the safari to the workplaces of Shabir Ahmad Naqash, Sadiq Gania, Mohd Anees and Mustafa Ahmad which run the units of Tracing, Willow Wicker, Washing and Dyeing, respectively in the adjoining areas of the Nowshera belt of Srinagar.

In the tracing Unit of Shabir Ahmad Naqash, Near Nalbal Bridge, the team visualized how the different patterns are embossed on the base fabric by specialized tracers known as Naqash, with carved blocks of walnut wood dipped in a watery solution of charcoal powder mixed with a binder. The tracing is regarded as the initial process of embroidery works of Sozni, Ari and the likes of the same.

The team in the willow wicker unit run by Sadiq Gania beheld that the artisans use the delicate interweaving of willow stems for making aesthetic products, which not only look beautiful but also have a real utility. Gania is one of the rare artisans engaged in the craft of Willow wicker in Srinagar.

The unit of washing run by Mohammad Anees speaks voluminously about the hard work they are playing in the washing of handicrafts products as they need delicacy and cent per cent concentration in terms of maintaining the texture of the products without damaging the same.

The safari concluded at the Dyeing unit of Mustafa Ahmad. The management of dyeing and its colour combination plays an important role in the crafts sector and are regarded as the turning point in fetching the market and its gameplay.

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