The State Handicraft Award 2023-2024 stands as a prestigious acknowledgement of exceptional craftsmanship, celebrating artisans for 67 craft categories as recognized by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles. This annual tradition shines a spotlight on artisans who have mastered their trade, offering them esteemed recognition for their work.

The selection process commences with advertisements in the local newspapers, inviting applications and finished product samples from talented local artisans. A distinguished panel, comprising experts and officials, rigorously evaluates submissions on several criteria including originality of design, choice of materials, mastery of techniques and skills, the appeal of traditional or contemporary designs, quality of finishing, and market viability.

In the 2023-2024, the call for entries yielded 28 applications. Following a meticulous selection process, 7 (seven) exceptional artisans were chosen for their outstanding work in Hand Woven Textiles (Loinloom), Crochet Craft, Woodcarving, Beads Work, and Jewellery, showcasing the rich diversity and skill within the realm of handicrafts.

The journey of recognition does not end with the State Awards. Recipients are further eligible for the esteemed Shilp Guru and National Awards presented by the Ministry of Textiles. These accolades honor master craftpersons who have significantly contributed to the handicraft sector, underscoring their enduring legacy and influence on India’s rich cultural tapestry.

This Award not only nurtures the artisan community but also preserves and propels the rich heritage of our handicrafts into the future.

Profile of the State Handicraft Award recipient 2023-2024

1. Smti. Vekuvolu Dozo, hailing from Naga United Village in Chumukedima, has been dedicated to Loinloom weaving for the past 23 years, beginning at the young age of 18. This craft is not only her passion but also the main source of income for her family. Her notable creation, a Chakhesang Mekhala, distinguished itself through its fine, smooth weave, captivating design, and exceptional finishing, earning her the esteemed award.

2. Shri Shirme Ruivavao, a Dimapur resident, has honed his skills in woodwork over the last five years. His notable contribution to the craft is a meticulously crafted wooden Naga Warrior portrait. This piece, carved from Gamari and teak wood, showcases his extraordinary attention to detail and finesse in finishing, attributes that secured his award.

3. Smti. Imtiyala Longkumer of Yimyu Compound, Mokokchung Town, has cultivated her crochet skills over eight years. What began as a hobby has flourished into a full-time engagement, with her creations proudly displayed on her Instagram account, crochetbyyaya. Her award-winning Ao tribe Couple Crochet Toys stood out for their creative design, fine knitting, and smooth finishes.

4. Smti. Cenam Wangcha, from Lower Forest Colony, Kohima, has been engaged in beadwork since her childhood. Her innovative approach led to the creation of a traditional Konyak bag, uniquely assembled with threads and beads in place of the conventional weaving method. This creative twist, combined with her innovative design, meticulous craftsmanship, and flawless finishing, earned her accolades for her distinctive work.

5. Smti. Vikheli H Ayemi, from Dimapur, has been mastering the art of loin loom weaving for the past 15 years. Her noteworthy creation, the Hekutha Qhumi – a Sumi shawl for women earned accolades for its exceptional design and craftsmanship. This shawl, with its origins tracing back to 1949-50, initially served as a wrap-around for both men and women. Later, it evolved to become an exclusive garment for women, celebrated for its original patterns, fine weave and finish, and for preserving the essence of traditional textiles.

6. Smti. Kekuweu Lomi, hailing from Leshemi Village in Phek District, has dedicated 18 years to loin loom weaving. Her remarkable work, a woven bag crafted from two natural fibers – Stinging Nettle and Orange Rhea, blended seamlessly with cotton, has brought her recognition. This exquisite piece stood out for its innovative use of indigenous plant fibers, refined craftsmanship, and unique designs, displaying an exemplary blend of tradition and creativity.

7. Smti. Imtisenla, based in Kohima, has been creating jewelry for six years, achieving acclaim for her exquisite Traditional Naga Jewellery. Her award-winning creations, featuring precious stones, silver, and brass, exemplify sophisticated design and skilled artisanship, embodying the rich cultural heritage of Naga craftsmanship.

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