One Hundred Hands was shot across four states in India, capturing insights into the burgeoning ethically-made handcraft movement and associated social issues in the countryside.
Interview with Producer/ Director Josh Waddell
Can you describe this clip?
The clip is essentially narrated by Raj Kanwar, the owner of Ojjas textiles in Jaipur, India. She's a fascinating woman with a wealth of knowledge about Indian history, culture and the current state of the craft in the modern globalised world. One of her favourite sayings is that a finished product in India passes through one hundred hands during its creation, reflecting the many people that each contribute a small but important task to the process.
What did you learn about the handcraft movement in India that makes it a unique phenomenon?
I realised talking with textile business people that handcrafts in India have been in decline for many years, as machine technology and the drive for greater profits by middle-men have eclipsed the traditional manufacturing systems. The problem is that handcrafts were an essential component in the traditional village economy and the livelihoods of millions.
However, there is a small but significant movement now taking shape towards reviving handcraft in India. This is not just a little show for tourists but genuine production that employs a lot of people and has a global market. No-one's expecting handcrafts to take over from machines any time soon, but it's an interesting trend - and any small trend in a country of 1.3 billion people is...well... big.
How is the manufacturing process completely sustainable?
There are a number of progressive businesses in India who regard sustainability of the environment and people working within to be very important. Ojjas is a hand block-printing business - a practice that requires a large amount of water yet is located near Jaipur, where water is scarce. Therefore they recycle 80% of their water and use micro biology to purify it.
They also have a large array of solar panels for power and use natural dyes and inks found in the local area. The company also provides a safe and healthy environment for its workers, with generous breaks and clean facilities. If you've ever been to India, or many other countries for that matter, you'll know that these are not typical working conditions for a great many people.
Are you planning to return to India to film more footage?
I'm definitely planning to return to India sometime in the next 12 months to explore more of this. I need plenty more time to get to know people, particularly in the villages!
Interview: April 2016
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