The Nila organisation sits at the intersection of craft, design, sustainability and community empowerment. A ground-breaking non-profit initiative, Nila is unique worldwide in its scope, encompassing all stages of the Indian craft value chain. Thoughtfully envisioned, innovative in method and sensitive in execution, the foundation addresses the core needs required for the survival of a progressive, thriving craft industry in today’s global economy.
Nila was founded in 2016 with an in-depth assessment of the existing craft ecosystem and its challenges. Nila identified the problems that needed to be addressed, for example crafts communities showing exemplary skill yet lacking the required exposure or tools to continue their traditions; craft practitioners forced to abandon the sensitive practices of their ancestors in favour of polluting, unsustainable quick-fixes; a lack of understanding and appreciation of traditional craft processes in the market; a proliferation of harmful chemicals where natural ingredients were traditionally used; a lack of infrastructure available to correctly dispose of chemical waste. Nila also found solutions, such as incredible grassroots organisations already established to revive pure craft forms and support their communities; accomplished artisan guides - custodians of traditional expertise who are still very much part of the fabric of the foundation today, as well as traditional indigenous knowledge systems providing the key to a more sustainable future.
In 2019, Nila House opened in Jaipur - an interactive beacon of excellence, honouring and celebrating the craft traditions of India within one of India’s oldest craft centres. Nila House is the public-facing side of a vast and complex project which will only expand and deepen its reach in years to come.
Although based in and focused on Rajasthan, Nila’s work is pan-India, across dozens of craft traditions. Our principal activities sit within the following spheres.