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Carpet Café to develop Kashmir handicrafts

Haroon Mirani

Srinagar, July 21, 2007:

The Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT), Srinagar has launched a state-of-the-art digital carpet designing studio that the institute says will revolutionise the designing of traditional handicrafts in the region.

Students, craftsmen and curious onlookers are flocking the array of computers that have been arranged in sleek rows in a sophisticated computer lab, that the institute hopes will ultimately replace the old dark rooms of traditional designing.

Citing reasons for establishment of the 'carpet café' Zubair Ahmad Mir, director IICT says that, people familiar with digital designing can use the facilities for minimal charges on regular basis.

"It is like a cyber café where you have to pay nominal charges to use the facility," Mir says.

The Institute currently charges INR 1000 per month for using the facilities, and has experts to help craftsman encountering any difficulties during designing. This item is downloaded from Kashmir Newz.

"In Rs 1000 per month one can use our infrastructure complete with printers, scanners and other facilities daily for up to eight hours, without any interruption," says Mir.

Mir says, a designer can earn more than INR 10,000 per month in the café that has been aptly named the Design Studio.

The Institute has been training the people in designing carpets through special software Naqash integrated with computer aided designing.

"It (Naqash) cuts time, the designs generated are flawless and we can get complete finished printouts of the designs, which is not possible in traditional designing," explains Mir.

The results are obvious. The current batch of girls, undergoing training at the institute is already flooded with offers from export houses keen to imbibe the digital change, says Mir.

Naqash is also used to develop designs for Kashmir’s famed Kani Shawls , an intricately woven fabric, with the aid of small wooden needles called Kani in Kashmiri.

Kani Shawls, which take a craftsman around a year to weave are among the most expensive fabrics in the world.

IICT is also working on building a design bank for designs ranging from hundreds of years old to modern ones.

"This will not only preserve our traditional designs that are threatened but they will also become reference point for craftsmen and researchers alike," says Mir.

About 300, 000 people are associated with carpet industry in the region.

Stiff competition from China, Iran, Pakistan and Indian states coupled with eruption of insurgency has hit the traditional carpet industry of Kashmir.

The IICT hopes to rejuvenate the traditional industry with the aid of digital revolution. Kashmir Newz



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Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

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