For the third and final edition of Sangam in December 2013, we were asked to create gifts for the delegates that conceptually addressed culmination of the Sangam Project. When Sangam was launched in 2011, we named it such, because we were trying to create a confluence between the artisan, designer and user similar to the existing confluence at Prayag of the three rivers — Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati respectively.
It seemed apt that for the "end of the journey" we should again relate back to what this platform was all about — the idea of confluence. We decided to create three jewelry pieces each representing one of the three rivers and associated to the type of person the delegate was. The artisans, the carriers of our tradition and heritage were given the "Ganga river" pendant since river is sacred to us and travels a long distance across India, signifying how widespread craft in India is. The designers at the conference received the "Yamuna" since the Yamuna is a tributary of the Ganga, it feeds into it and is influenced by it. Its perhaps younger than the Ganga and is less rapid and more calm. The user were given the hidden "Saraswati" because the users role in providing a secure platform for artisans and designers is often neglected. The user can ensure crafts are valued and safeguarded and can use their purchasing power to sustain craft traditions.
The design of the jewelry was based on the characteristics of each river. The cane is used to represent water and the clay to represent the soil. The pendant for the Ganga is long to represent the length of the river, the cane is thin to represent its shallow and forcefulness. The Yamuna by contrast is shorter and has a thicker cane running in the middle to represent the calmness of the river. The hidden Saraswati is represented by hiding the cane inside the clay.
We worked with Apam Ahum of Hao Crafts to create the letters in black stone pottery or Longpi pottery which is made from combining clay with crushed Longpi rock from Longpi village in Ukhrul district of Manipur in the marginalized area of the Northeast part of the country.