The marketing space of the gamut of Indian traditional crafts has moved, in the past few decades, from village ‘haat’ to large urban bazaars and exhibitions. Along with the products, the craftsperson too has moved, and in the process, has innovated his product to suit changing tastes. In Chennai to participate in a crafts bazaar are four such artisans, who are exhibiting their creativity for the upcoming festive season.

Terracotta artisan Munna from Bhadrak village in Orissa has moved from making cooking vessels, pots and toys to more eclectic items such as wall and Ganesha diyas which feature Ganesha in his many avatars. He has crafted minuscule Ganeshas for the Chaturthi festival in shades of blue, green, red, black and gold. Also on display are pencil holders, tiny clay toys and hanging bells. “I make them with a mix of local mitti (mud), stone power and water,” says Munna. After the product is shaped, it is put in the kiln, and painted after cooling.

Sisir Kumar Mahaya from Etikopakka makes animals, birds and toys such as trains, jeeps and planes. The multicoloured bangles and hair clips are attractive.

Displaying his yellow red and black Ganesha, Mahaya says, “We use vegetables and natural dyes.” Boxes and pencil stands are a great hit with shoppers looking for gifts for the festive season.

Fourth generation wood worker Ahmed Rauf from Saharanpur makes delicately inlaid brass furniture items, boxes, trays, fruits baskets and much else. “We scoop the pattern on sheesham wood and then engrave floral motifs with a phulki and leaves and vine, using a tiny hammer. The inlay work is done with thin sheets of brass and copper. As per the design, we stick the brass motifs on to the engraved portions with Fevicol, and polish it after an interval of 8-10 days.”

Rauf’s innovative artefacts include a tray-cum-puja thali and a perforated agarbatti box. Pretty brass and copper photo frames, salad spoons and tripod tables also speak of Rauf’s artistry.

The National Art and Crafts Exhibition also has on display peepul leaf paintings, Ganpat Lal Verma’s lac bangles, hand woven textile, woodcraft and Orissa palm leaf paintings. The exhibition is on view at Murugan Kalyana Mandapam, 15, Ganga Nagar, 100 Ft Road, Velacheri, till July 31.

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