The Crafts Council of Karnataka is a not-for-profit organization started in Bengaluru in the year 1967, under the patronage of Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, doyenne of handicrafts in India. The Council was formed into a society in 1982. The mission of CCK is the promotion and support of the crafts of Karnataka and sustainable livelihoods of its crafts persons. Its objectives are to provide a bridge between craft communities and source markets, facilitate design intervention and product development that will meet the needs of the contemporary consumer, upgrade technologies used by craftspersons and revive and preserve languishing crafts of Karnataka. The Crafts Council of Karnataka has conducted documentation of selected crafts of Karnataka and brought out several publications. The Council is affiliated to the Crafts Council of India which in turn is affiliated to the World Crafts Council.
Gandhian, freedom fighter, social reformer and doyenne of handicrafts in India, Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay will be long remembered for her pioneering efforts in the rediscovery and promotion of Indian Crafts and Handlooms and improving the lives and livelihoods of the artisans of the nation. As Chairperson of the All-India Handicrafts Board, she travelled the length and breadth of the country, resuscitating languishing crafts and promoting existing craft traditions. She started Design Development Centres in many parts of the country to cater to the changing needs of consumers, as well as Marketing Clinics for craftspersons. She instituted National Awards for talented craftspersons and welfare measures like a pension system. Her enterprising spirit, led to the setting up Central Cottage Industries Emporia, throughout India, to cater to the tastes of a nation, rediscovering its indigenous culture and identity.
One of her pioneering efforts was in bringing together a band of volunteers to form Crafts Councils in many states of the country with a common mission to protect and promote India’s rich heritage in crafts. The Crafts Council of Karnataka was founded under her patronage in the year 1967.
“The craftsman is the unbroken link in the tradition that embraces both the producer and the consumer within the social and religious fabric. Art and aesthetics are deeply rooted in function.” Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay.
During her tenure Smt. Ubhayaker pioneered many exhibitions, unique events, craftsmen meet, workshops and festivals, each distinctive than the other, creating milestones in the annals of handicrafts of Karnataka. In addition, the Vishwakarma award in the name of Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was instituted by Smt. Ubhayaker to encourage young, talented craftspersons of the State. Another important accomplishment of the Council was setting up the Venkatachalam Memorial Committee under the guidance of Kamaladeviji and executed by Smt. Ubhayaker to honour the memory of Shri. G. Venkatachalam, a great patron and scholar.
Smt. Vimala Rangachar
A many faceted personality and eminence personified is Smt. Vimala Rangachar who has rendered invaluable service to The Crafts Council of Karnataka through many innovative schemes and programmes that have earned laurels for the organization. Notable among them are: Research and documentation of temple treasures and their publication as three volumes, publication of the metal crafts and wood craft of Karnataka, an anthology on Kamadeviji to mark her birth centenary and many more.
Under the stewardship of Smt. Rangachar, the Council was instrumental in setting up "Kaushalya", a Canara Bank project to train young craftspersons so as to ensure quality production of handicrafts and promotion of their sale. Tirelessly continuing her efforts to promote handicrafts, Smt. Rangachar was also instrumental in Canara Bank to set up the artisan village at Bidadi near Bangalore.
It may be mentioned in this context that Shri Vadiraj, a highly acclaimed craftsperson was inducted as the vice-chairman of CCK during the tenure of Smt Rangachar and electing a practicing craftsperson for the post is considered to be the first initiative in the country.
Smt. Vimala Rangachar conceptualized Vastrabharana, the flagship event of CCK to showcase handcrafted textiles and jewellery held annually in Bangalore. This is a much sought after exhibition by the discerning citizens of Bangalore.
Her contributions to the world of arts and crafts are phenomenal and the Crafts Council of Karnataka continues to excel itself under her guidance and advice. She is the Honorary Patron of CCK.
Shri. M.V. Narayana Rao
Shri M. V. Narayana Rao served as Publicity Officer and Chief of Crafts Division in the Office of the DC (Handcrafts), Ministry of textiles, Govt. of India. Upon his retirement, he accepted the task of being the vice chairperson of The Crafts Council of Karnataka and handled all administrative work, projects, publications and others. Being a perfectionist, he ensured that CCK had a smooth sailing in all its efforts . He served the organization for over 16 years and presently he is the advisor to CCK.