Mrs.Rajshree Pathy

Mrs.Rajshree Pathy

Mrs. Rajshree Pathy was our Charter Vice President and took over as President of CCTN upon the completion of the term of Mrs. V. Seethalakshmi, who had set a high standard during her term.

The family cotton spinning business of Mrs. Rajshree Pathy would make her frequent Ahmedabad often where she had the opportunity to meet several industrialists, who did much to support the handicraft community in Gujarat, and NID which played a huge role in integrating design as a bridge between tradition and modernity. This interaction gave her the inspiration to be a founding member of CCTN.

During her tenure as the President of CCTN, Dr. Ashoke Chatterjee, President CCI visited Coimbatore and addressed the issues confronting the local artisans and the danger of craft obsolescence, if we don't actively work towards preservation, using technology and design interventions. This set her and other members of CCTN thinking and a small group of herself, Hema Khona, Nirmala Rudrappan, and Sandhya Varadarajan decided to take on the 'KALCHATTI' Project. These traditional soft stone cooking vessels were laboriously made by the craftsmen at nearby Thamampatti, Salem. There was a dying market for these, as metal utensils were fast replacing them and the makers were unable to manage a livelihood. CCTN bought them machinery and tools that would enable them to produce more with less wastage, and contemporary design drawings were given to them which helped them produce entire sets of tableware. They became hugely popular and CCI and other Councils placed orders and they were also exhibited internationally. This project was deeply fulfilling to CCTN.

The second project that CCTN undertook during her term was the revival of the hand knotted 'SUNGUDI' sarees at Madurai. CCTN worked closely with RANEE Sarees to produce a set of exquisite cotton Tie-dye sarees in the traditional way, as they had resorted to printing them to reduce costs. CCTN member Hema Khona travelled several times to Madurai to oversee the process.

The third project was a very interesting one with hand woven KILIMANGALAM Kora Grass mats. CCTN took on this with the weavers in Thrissur, Kerala and enabled them to produce these super fine mats with new design formats and vivid bright colours. These were displayed at the CCTN exhibitions and soon became popular all over the country.

Another significant project was with the TERRACOTTA clay potters of Pudukkottai. CCTN brought them to Coimbatore and accommodated them at her farm and made them produce new forms of large pots and clay Urulis which were displayed at the CCTN exhibitions and translated into large orders thereafter.

Mrs. Rajshree Pathy feels that the future of handicrafts and the artisans is our responsibility, that technology and design must be introduced into traditional craft skills to make them relevant to the present day consumer, and that one must identify such potential and work on creating craft hubs with adequate infrastructure to enable the craftsmen to continue to do what they have done for generations. She feels we should focus on local craft skills and empower them to scale up and assist in their marketing. To lose them is to have lost the soul of India, and we must not be found guilty of that.