Since time immemorial, men and women have explored the world, their immediate and not so immediate environments, contemplating upon and celebrating nature. Inspired by the myriad materials in nature, they have made things of great beauty, utility and significance. Having engaged and excelled in making, crafting, designing, engineering, we have continuously stretched boundaries and enriched our lives. Even without a special designation or title of ‘artist’, or ‘artisan’, men and women have created, innovated, tinkered, boiled, baked, turned, chiseled, milled, mended, spun, printed, cut, drilled, scraped, sculpted, bringing such delights into existence, that continue to enthrall irrespective of geographies and generations.
In his essays on Creative Unity, Tagore writes “(…) this world is a creation; that in its center there is a living idea which reveals itself in an eternal symphony, played on innumerable instruments, all keeping perfect time. We know that this great world-verse, that runs from sky to sky, is not made for the mere enumeration of facts—it is not “Thirty days hath September”—it has its direct revelation in our delight.” “(….)The instruments of our necessity assert that we must have food, shelter, clothes, comforts and convenience. And yet men spend an immense amount of their time and resources in contradicting this assertion, to prove that they are not a mere living catalogue of endless wants; that there is in them an ideal of perfection, a sense of unity, which is a harmony between parts and a harmony with surroundings. We create in pursuit of this unity, this harmony.”
As a tribute to making and creating (the fascinating aspects of humanity that they are), I would like to share an admirable and heartening resource in this post, PARI – People’s Archive of Rural India. Among several other things, it has chosen to honor the everyday efforts of everyday men and women, in pursuit of beauty and harmony as they create objects of utility and significance from the environment around them.
I hope this resource helps (or inspires!) everyone who stops by, especially teachers and students, to acquaint themselves with the many craft traditions, ways of living, skills, objects of beauty and utility that enrich societies, cultures and lives.
I hope it inspires us to never stop making, creating or working with our hands!