A Fashion Designer And A Nutritionist Are On A Mission To Revive Art And Craft In Uttarakhand

Rafia Rahim

August 9th, 2017

“Bhuli is an Ideology that designs to revive and interpret the spirit of Indian Cottage Industry in a modern, honest fashion. To achieve that ideology we are working hard and will work hard in future to make it better”, says Tanya Singh, co-founder of Bhuli.

Bhuli means “Little Sister” in the native Garhwali dialect of Uttarakhand and it aims to revive and elucidate the spirit of Indian Cottage Industry in a modern fashion through craftspeople, designers and arts and crafts enthusiasts all over the Himalayan region.


Tanya and Tanya – the duo

It was Tanya Kotnala who started Bhuli a year back in 2016 in Dehradun. Tanya Kotnala is a fashion designer and she initially started uploading her drawings and sketches on social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook. However, she realised that she wanted to do something more creative and unique. Eventually, started recognising her work as Tanya started taking small projects under similar themes.

Before forming Bhuli, Tanya Kotnala was working with Ministry of Textiles with the minority communities of Assam. She said, “Uttarakhand is completely different from Assam, we can find the very advanced term of arts and crafts in Assam. So the knowledge I have gained here, I wanted to expand it in Uttarakhand,”  adding that since there is no space for craft in Uttarakhand so Bhuli is trying to create a craft based on the flora and fauna which are unique to the state and teach people about it. We got the inspiration from ‘Wall and floor painting’ – where various designs are highlighted in a unique way so that it should reflect the essence of Uttarakhand.


Introduction of art work

A year later, Singh, a nutritionist by profession also joined her in this mission where she started making people aware of health and hygiene, menstrual awareness, etc.

So the duo together started Bhuli, an initiative to revive the art and craft in the state of Uttarakhand. Bhuli is working with about 30 women, giving them the training to identify their skills. Out of these 30 women, 20 will be selected and then the workshop process will be conducted with them.

Singh said while talking to The Logical Indian, “We are in a preliminary stage right now. Through our artwork, I am going to train 500 Anganwadis on women hygiene issues. It‘s more or less Himalayan art form but the art on paper is not presented in Garhwal as of now, and people in Garhwal really don’t have any idea regarding art.

Kotnala and Singh were family friends, professionally from different sectors, but they met through a government project which was about creating awareness on breastfeeding. Thus, the thought of starting Bhuli as a more inventive form of expressing views came into existence.

Singh further commented, “Like art, nutrition in the place was also not in a very good condition. On the International breastfeeding week (1-7 August), we did a campaign on breastfeeding, we held small discussions on explaining its importance.” 


Women getting awareness about breastfeeding and menstrual hygiene

Project of awareness

Bhuli recently did a project in collaboration with the state of Uttarakhand and The Ministry Of Women And Child Development, as a result of which the authorities will make 26,000 Anganwadi centres across the state and spread awareness on breastfeeding.

“When you see something which is attractive, you tend to understand things better. Breastfeeding is one of the causes that took up with the government”, said Singh.

We are coming up with the product concept called Space Bhuli where women can fully express their thoughts without fear of being ridiculed.  


Concept of Space Bhuli

Tanya Singh said, “In the present era women do not feel safe, empowered, or cannot express themselves. People do not really listen to us. So in that context, we also came up with a series of six posters which have a social meaning to it. The six posters are totally different in terms of illustrations, and each one of it has a particular meaning to it.


Future plans

Their next plan is to identify some self-help groups in Dehradun and elsewhere. “In this project, local women will be empowered because we cannot deny this fact that people now are leaving off villages and coming to the cities because there are no employment opportunities in villages,” said Singh. 

“We want to make the things in the form of art and crafts which are consumer friendly. We are trying to bring good design and innovation to the products,” added Kotnala.

Bhuli is also coming up with the merchandise program. The merchandising concept will talk about the Flora and Fauna of the state of Uttarakhand. They will include the local women to help them with their products – symbiotic process, where both are getting benefitted.

A message from Bhuli

“If you wish to bring a change, it is required for us to cultivate changes in your mind and actions first. A big change often requires smaller things in order.”

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