Handicraft has aesthetic value. it isn’t necessarily required that handicrafts must be used for a physical purpose. There is no clear separation exist where artistic value and utility depart. One general problem, we face in studying the handicraft sector is the term ”Handicraft” has no universally accepted definition and there is no separate product classification for handicrafts. Handicrafts refers to a wide range of items, including ”gift items”, houseware, home furnishings, products of craft industries, and fashion accessories. Artisanal products are those produced by artisans, either completely by hand, or with the help of hand tools or even by mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product. The special nature of the finished products derives from their distinctive features, such as utilitarian, aesthetic, creative, culturally attached, decorative functional, traditional, religiously and socially symbolic and significant.
When a question is asked today why Handicrafts, the answer cannot be very simple. The answer will emerge if we go down the passage of history and trace out cultural evolution to a craft-oriented society in which handicrafts still had an honoured place. The concepts of arts and crafts were interchangeable. Handicrafts are always been a very basic act of human society; for crafts are an integral part of our life. In fact, they are found to be more cohesive in a human relationship than even language and can cross such barriers as the latter may create. Particularly has this been true of an ancient society of Asia, South and Central America, Africa and older countries like Greece where certain aspects of the hoary handed -down cultures still continue to exercise powerful influence that almost seems ageless. In the ancient books of east it is said that when the hands of a craftsman are engaged in his craft, it is always ceremonial. Tools are after all but an extension of the personality of the craftsman to reach beyond the range of human limitations. The craftsman thus combines within his being the tradition that embraces both the producer and the consumer within the social fabric.
Handicraft is an income-generating and production-oriented activity. It reflects the pleasure and skill of the person who carries the folkloric tradition and customs of the community, without the need for machine power but simple tools and hand. It is usually based on the knowledge and skill of the individual. It is a product made with purpose to decorate and benefit people to meet daily necessities. It reflects the character of the society with the creative ability of the individual and reveals the taste of national art. It is an art form that emerges from the known needs of people against external factors and is characterized by the structures, traditions, and cultures of the society that they are gradually creating.
Source: Bimal’s Thesis