Three meters of well cut khadi silk, 3 intertwined coloured silk threads and 3 days of careful sewing on the intricate embroidery patterns by the many villagers of Gorakhpur. Such is the level of hard work that goes into to the making of a hand-woven silk kurta.
At the Surabhi Craft Mela organised by the Kerala State Handicrafts Apex Co-operative Society, more than 100 artisans from across the country weave a story of their own in the making of their artifacts.
Colorful kurtas with exquisite kantha work reflect the craftsmanship of the artisans of Bengal. Narendra Kumar at the stall explained that the women in various villages are involved in the threading work for which they earn about Rs.50 a day for a simple running stitch work to Rs.250 for the complex patterns.
The umbrella-cut skirts and harem pants in bright colours are not as simple as they look. According to Mr. Kumar, the skirts, kurtas and bed sheets on display are dyed using vegetable dyes and natural colours with candle waxing technique to prevent the intermixing of colours in the patterns.
Virendra Singh from Rajasthan travels miles with his bag of rubies, emeralds and other precious stones-sometimes goods worth Rs.25, 000 --all the way to Thiruvananthapuram to sell the precious stone Jewellery. From the separation of stones based on their quality to the mixing of beads based on style and need, there is careful crafting all the way to make a simple necklace.
“It’s a huge risk to travel carrying these goods. The bag is always tied to me and secured safely even when I am sleeping”, said Mr.Singh
Major handicrafts from Orissa include the palm leaf writing and paintings- an ancient art that is still practised in Oriyan houses which takes about 20 days for the completion of a single palm leaf wall painting ;pattachitra cloth paintings; wooden bangles ,wall hangings and dress materials with traditional appliqué art and other decorative items extensively carved out of wood.
The ‘herb cot’ looks like any other ordinary cot until one get to know that the cot is made from more than 23 herbal woods. A.K.Monanan from Venjaramood in the city had to spend 5 years in research and attempt numerous trials before he finally launched his patent herbal wood furniture products.
A.Raju who hails from Andhra Pradesh has altogether a different story to tell. According to him there is a huge demand for the Pochampali Silk and hand made Gadwal sarees but unfortunately he is short of stock.
“Due to the strike, the goods are getting delayed. It will take more than 5 days before it reaches the city and the fair will enter its last day -November 12 by then”, he added gloomily.
Also awaiting their chance to tell the stories are the Chinese charms ,the mud painted wall masks and many more crafts displayed at the VJT Hall in the city.