Crafts week/ by Leela

And what a grand event this was. Beyond doubling our human population over the eight days of activity; beyond providing all with food, hosting, accommodation and of course the workshops; beyond the different complex logistics of it all… Beyond that there is a certain energy on which all this is being sustained.

And the energy is big and generous. Whether things of beauty or practical stuff, this energy exalts in things made by hand, with natural materials and with ancient skills. It is material which has heart and soul, attempting to fly but at the same time is real and well grounded.

Two things have struck me this time from the very first day:


One is the direct, coherent and exaggerated continuation of our ethos regarding mixed cultures and backgrounds. Around mutual tables, in complete randomness, one can find humans from all edges of society. Students from a middle-class Waldorf school in Bangalore; from Chennai Olcott school for children from disadvantage families; foreign kids and teachers from TLC school in Auroville; Tribal kids from a school in Gudalur; Children from the local Shanti Malai school; Village children from Puvidam in Dharmapuri district; kids from a village in Andra Pradesh; small homeschooling family units; and the list goes on.

Newly built forging and casting fire place

Where in the world can one find this complete equality in a meeting between people coming from such diverse backgrounds, such rich human tapestry sitting together creating.

The second thing I find even more extraordinary. In what seems like a complete chaos of multitudes, with the simplest conditions and rather minimal space, the arts and crafts themselves have that magic to draw people inward.

Johnny from Auroville kalamkar-ing

The level of concentration, absorption and application is going through the roof. Where the West has its underlying belief that perfect conditions (such as ample space, silence, perfect tools etc) are a requirement for creation and recreation, we are shown here (not for the first time) that less can actually enhance a creative process, that chaotic situations sometimes offer a unique opportunity to turn inside and tune within, and that when getting truly involved in something which is real and alive, there are endless ways in which the spirit of sharing and helping can come into play.


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