A Contemporary approach to Traditional: Potli and Kadam

A Contemporary approach to Traditional: Potli and Kadam

In this global consumerist eco system, it is essential that the tangible and intangible tradition and culture of a place has to be infused with a contemporary approach. It helps bridge and connect traditional makers with a global market.

Kadam, is a a voluntary organisation dedicated to the holistic development of rural craft villages. It helps the artisans who are struggling to sustain themselves through age old crafts by adopting one village at a time, offering technical and design support in the form of basic machinery or equipment for improving productivity and technological growth while providing contemporary design sensibilities.

After training in the 1st year and trial production in the 2nd & 3 year, in 4th year the confident cluster is weaned off keeping an open link of connectivity for any support they require henceforth.


One of their new ideas is POTLI – A series of Indian art & craft kits that aims to reconnect children with traditional Indian art and craft. Potli, steered by Pooja Ratnakar, is reviving and trying to sustain a few selected dyeing crafts while retaining its authenticity in terms of the processes and the natural material used. At the same time, they help the artisans sustain themselves and strengthen their livlihoods by nurturing the skills they have inherited over generations

“Children should also have a physical activity that helps them understand what goes into different things,” says Pooja. “For example, the block-printing kits can help them understand what goes behind making such a fabric.”

These Do-It-Yourself kits have been designed to represent specific traditional / tribal art forms such as Warli, Madhubani, Patua, Santhal, Phad, Gond, etc. They also have kits on hand block printing, bead craft and shell craft. The objective of the kit is to familiarize children with these arts forms, tell them about the history behind the art form and its peculiarities. These kits also support the village artist, as a certain part of the proceeds from the sale is passed on to them. In a small way, this is a way to keep the art forms and our traditional artists’ vision alive.

All the Painting kits also come with a DVD of five short animation films of folk tales from various parts of India, and based on the traditional art forms.

Direct Create is proud to have Pooja Ratnakar and Potli join us.