Artisan Organization: Rajesh Kumar
"Hi, I was born and brought up in a village in Bihar, where I spent my childhood having fun playing with friends in the open fields without the influence high tech has on kids these days.
"My family is part of a potters' community and my earliest memories are of them crafting ceramics, mostly earthenware pots. On occasions they would make diyas, or oil lamps and earthenware deities during festivals like Durga Puja and Diwali.
"I learned this craft from my parents, initially as a hobby, and slowly I got really interested in it. By the time I was in college I was making big earthen deities. In India, especially in the eastern part, huge earthenware deities are handcrafted for Durga Puja to be decorated and then they are submerged in the sea on the last day of the festival. So along with a few assistants, I would craft large effigies for this big festival. It was really fun and this is how my interest for this beautiful craft was born.
"I wanted to make more and different things, so I enrolled in the Indian Institute of Craft and Design in Jaipur, where I did my post-graduate degree in handicrafts. It was a three-year design-based course, but we were also taught technique and process. I learned a lot from this Institute. Then, I worked in an export company where I was recruited as a designer.
"It's been a great experience for me to be able to finally practice what I have learned. Slowly, I got in touch with a few artisans and started doing some experiments. It seems magical to be able to see live what you design in your mind.
"Currently I specialize in ceramic, stone and wood. Slowly, I would like to expand my craft.
"Being associated with you is such an honor for me. I'm just starting my venture and, hopefully, this is the beginning of a long and satisfying association.""