Muughl Mâché - Ethically Hand-Made Elephants, for Elephants
Support a beautiful tradition. Works of art in wood and papier mâché, painted, and ethically hand-crafted in Kashmir, India.
Elephants for Elephants
Created in India by local artisans, these hand-crafted and meticulously hand painted elephants aren’t just a herd of pretty faces. Although, clearly, they’re that too. When you purchase, or gift, one of these unique elephants, know that you’re also supporting something—actually two things—that are pretty special.
The first thing: Each elephant is ethically made, supports sustainable consumerism and production, and provides fair compensation for the artist’s labour. The artists themselves live in Kashmir and this partnership supports both their passion and their economy.
The second thing: Every purchase outside of this Kickstarter campaign benefits Asian elephant conservation in India. We say outside of this campaign because Kickstarter does not allow money to be raised for charity. Which is fair. For more details on the elephant conservation aspect of this project skip down to the section on WWF-India.
Kashmir Valley, India, and Its Art
Surrounded by the lofty Himalayan Mountains of Northern India lies the Kashmir Valley in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. This valley is home to a number of art forms built on centuries of tradition. One such handicraft is that of papier-mâché sculpting, locally known as Kashmir Paper Machie.
The practice involves creating multiple items, including bowls, boxes, vases and most applicable for our purposes, elephants.
Each elephant we sell is carved out of wood, covered in a layer of papier-mâché paste, smoothed, and meticulously painted by one of our artisans, all by hand. The production process for each elephant spans between 5-7 days to craft.
Due to the hand-made nature, designs are similar, but no two elephants are ever the same.
Kind of like elephant snowflakes.
In case you’re wondering how we came across the incredible artists we’re partnering with in this endeavour, this isn’t our first partnership in Kashmir.
Our sister brand, Shawl Wallah, sources another local handcrafted item from this region—ethical cashmere (or pashmina) shawls.
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, Shawl Wallah has grown year over year. In our trips to Kashmir we’ve come across many remarkable items with just as rich a history as Kashmir cashmere.
Wanting to bring these artisanal artifacts to a greater audience, Muughl Mâché was born.
Muughl Mâché (moo-gull ma-shay) is named both after the art medium, and the Mughal Empire, from which the culture of Kashmir has been greatly influenced.
Not to put too fine a point on it, we need you. Reaching our goal will allow us to build a large enough order to create a sustainable partnership in Kashmir. It’s important that our first order is substantial so that we can provide a steady stream of work to our artists and ensure respect and trust is at the root of this venture.
Just a note: Unlike mass-produced items, quantity does not affect cost in this structure. Because these are handmade pieces of art, they will always be priced individually. The artists we work with are just that—incredible artists—and we want to ensure they are always compensated accordingly.
How does it work?
There are two decisions to make when choosing a reward:
1. Choose the item(s) you would like
2. Choose the design you would like painted on it/them
That’s it! Easy!
Once the campaign has been fully funded, we will be able to give the artisans we work with a shout, so they can begin work on the herd. Once work has begun, we’ll document the journey of the elephants as they move through the production process, keeping you updated along the march.
As we said earlier, Kickstarter does not allow campaigns to raise money for charity. So, to be clear, we are not raising money for WWF-India in this campaign.BUT, we do want you to know, that Muughl Mâché has an agreement with WWF-India, in which we are donating 10% of the profits from each elephant sold outside of Kickstarter. These funds will be earmarked specifically for Asian elephant conservation in India.
Big ups to WWF-India. We deal in fake elephants. They help protect the real deal.
Here are a dozen (ish) eggs, drying on a line, ready for their final coat of paint! The end design result is exactly like the elephants. Three of these eggos for $10!
Risks and challenges
We have given ourselves a 5 month window from end of campaign, to delivery date (September 2018). This gives us a buffer when looking at large order quantities, and the fact that these items are hand-made. We feel this deliverable time is reasonable, and may be 1-2 months on the conservative side.
Our ongoing work with the families means the necessary tools are in place to be able to deliver on our orders.
A Volatile Region
While Jammu & Kashmir should be known for its stunning vistas and eco tourism, unfortunately it is better known for its conflict and decades of instability. However, over the last 8-10 years, the region has become relatively more stable, ensuring more open lines of communication, better conditions for the artisans to work in, and improved methods of goods transportation and delivery to us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)