A graduate of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Varah Musavvir has been scrapbooking and making crafts for ten years. After the commercial success of her own brand Firefly, she decided to help some of her fellow crafters out, and thus, the Crafters Guild was born.
The Crafter’s Guild is an organisation that aims to help crafters exhibit and promote their work by organising the Crafter’s Expo. “There was no platform for regular crafters and the Guild, along with the Expo, aims to facilitate crafters and provide them with a chance to connect with a larger audience,” says Musavvir.
This year’s Crafter’s Expo will be the second one. “The Expo last year drew around 2,500 people, despite being organised in only four weeks” says Musavvir. “We’re hoping for a turnout of around 5,000 to 7,000 people this year, as we’ve been preparing for this for six months.”
The vendors that will be exhibiting at the expo range from artisans to homemakers and working women to college students looking to make a little extra money. There will be a multitude of crafts on display, such as, calligraphy, clay work, fashion accessories and ceramic works. Local truck-art painters and graffiti artists will also showcase their talent. There will be both traditional and modern offerings to cater to all tastes.
“People from different walks of life have come together for the Expo, and these vendors have been pulling nook and cranny to gather support.”
“There were 55 vendors exhibiting last year, this year we have 102,” says Musavvir. “We even have a vendor flying in from Dubai and that’s a big deal!” she says. Crafters from all over Pakistan will be exhibiting at the Expo this Sunday and will be coming to Karachi from Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi, so the expo this year is taking place on a scale much larger than the last one.
“The most important feature this year is a condition we’ve set for our vendors,” she says. “We want only original work to be exhibited at this time, no Minions or Angry Birds.” Despite the fact that these items are definite sellers, Musavvir feels using someone else’s creation is neither original, nor fair.
“All Firefly doodles and characters are original and we wanted this to be a ground rule. It pushed everyone to be more creative, to think out of the box.”
Despite the fact that Musavvir works full time in Hong Kong, she manages to both run her own company, and organise the expo. She has been in Pakistan for the past month, running around getting things ready for the Expo.
“I was handling everything from Hong Kong initially, there were a lot of international calls involved,” she says, laughing. Musavvir’s best friend was the internet during this time. She used social media along with e-mail to keep on top of things.
According to Musavvir, the greatest challenge involved in organising this Expo wasn’t the sheer amount of people she had to coordinate remotely, but finding sponsors. “We wanted to put together a crafter’s paradise, but it’s very hard to find people who believe in what we do,” she says.
As for handling everything at the event itself, Musavvir has a team of volunteers called Superstars. “I don’t know how I’d get by without these kids on Expo day,” she says. Many of these Superstars are volunteering for the second time around and will be wearing red badges at the event.
The Crafter’s Expo Details
Date: Sunday, December 15, 2013
Time: 2:00pm to 9:30pm
Location: Royal Rodale, Karachi
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2013.