Islamabad: One month children summer camp in traditional skills organized by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) concluded here at Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology (Heritage Museum), Garden Avenue, Shakarparian. The camp was started on 25th June with major focus on two crafts i.e. Block printing and Lacquer art. The objective of the camp was to promote traditional skills, encourage master artisans and inculcate awareness among younger generation, especially children about the indigenous folk heritage of Pakistan.
Sixty children (age group: 6 to 14 years) participated in the summer camp and learnt craft making techniques under the guidance of master artisans. They were also given knowledge about storytelling, folk music and other aspects of traditional culture.
Block printing in Pakistan evolves at an early date because the most ancient techniques are still practiced. The art of dyeing developed at the time of Indus valley civilization. In the 1st century, terracotta stamps used for printing textiles were excavated in Taxila. Punjab, the largest populated province appeared as remnants of craft that so widespread that most villages had their own block printers. Lahore, remains one of the largest commercial centres in block printing. Heavy fabric printed for upholstery and drapery are marked widely. The block prints depict animals, birds and floral patterns in arched frames with traditional colour combinations of Mughal architecture. Most of the contemporary block printers apply the colour directly with print blocks made of hard wood such as shisham. The basic colours are red, blue, green and yellow. After completing the outline, filling is done by selected shades.
Lacquer art forms an intrinsic part of Pakistani folk crafts. It involves the process of applying layers of “lac” in different colours on wood, while the material is rotated on a simple wooden lathe machine. Patterns are etched on the surface, exposing each colour according to the requirements of traditional patterns. A variety of designs in monochromatic or contrast colour schemes may be achieved in lacquer work. The decoration is generally geometric or stylized floral often based on a geometric grid. The design consists of a grooved pattern of lines, circles and dots. The established traditional artisans are based in Multan, Khushab, Dera Ghazi, Chiniot and Silanwali in Punjab,Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Hala in Sindh.
The summer concluded with a prestigious ceremony featured live folk musical performances rendered by participating children and young student folk artists and performers representing all provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
A large number of people including parents of summer camp children attended the event and commended performances of the artists.