Crafts Bazaar 2013 in Coimbatore brings together artisans from all over the country
Colourful bangles set the stage for seduction right at the entrance as they wink and beckon. A little inside are beautiful woven grass mats from West Bengal. Step into Crafts Bazaar 2013 and there is no turning back. Saris, paintings, bags, Toda embroidery, bottlegourd lampshades, bamboo wind chimes, jewellery boxes, ethereal silver filigree work from Odisha, Kalamkari bags and tops… But the bigger picture that emerges, over and above the sheer beauty on display is that craftsmanship is still alive and kicking in the country. And Crafts Council of Tamil Nadu gives it a fresh lease of life every year as it brings to Coimbatore the spectacular handiwork of Indian artisans
Ruchita Dey and Debabrata Dey are husband and wife. They were both teachers first, when their guruji told them to do something that would benefit their fellow beings. Coming from a family of Kantha craft practitioners, they did just that. They decided to go back to working with their hands and made beautiful saris and dupattas. They also train many others in Kantha. Debabarata and Ruchita are both National Award Winners. Every piece in Debabrata’s stall is one of its kind. He shows a Kantha worked dupatta that took his wife four-and-a-half months to make. The sea green which one mistakes for the colour of the fabric is actually miniscule kaantha stitches done close together.
Remant Kumar Misra is from Jitwarpur in Madhubani district. In his village there are six National Award Winners and 35 State Award winners. One of them is his mother Bhagwan Devi. Says Remant , “I come from a family of Madhubani artists. My mother learnt from her mother and my grandmother from hers.” Pointing to a parchment with tightly packed figures in concentric circles he explains that it is a wedding scene. In blacks and bright pinks the bride and groom occupy the centre. In the next circle are the musicians, the third has the merrymakers and so on till in the outermost ring is the doli, as the girl is carried to her husband’s home.
Traditional board games
A hundred traditional board games is what Athepoo is all about. Drawing inspiration from age old games traditionally played on temple floors, on mud packed floors, in mythology and old stories, Tamil Priya recreates board games each of which in turn provides an outlet for local crafts. They are eco friendly and are even packed that way. From Gilli Danda and Pallankuzhi to Battle of Lanka and Nakshatra Villayatu, the board games document a lifestyle and culture of yore.
Sukhnandi V Yam’s paintings speak of the Gond way of life. They tell well-loved stories from folk traditions. The Monkey and the Crocodile story, Ganesha and Murugan’s race to see who can circumnavigate the universe faster and other favourite tales fill the paper. Fish jump out of the rivers in the monsoons, birds warn the villagers of impending rain, women collect berries from under the tree…they are all a part and parcel of the everyday life of the Gonds and they find their way into Suknandi’s work.
Presley from Manipur has brought traditional stone pottery that was once used only by privileged families in Manipur. Teapots, pots, mugs and bowls teamed with fine cane are made of iridescent grey-black weather rock and serpentinite. They are powdered, mixed with water and are entirely shaped with hands using moulds. Once they are slow-baked in very hot ovens they are polished with a local leaf called machee. The pottery can be used directly over the flame and are particularly good for braising and slow cooking. Best of all they are microwave and gas friendly.
S.K. Gausiya Begum is a State Award winner who makes handicrafts out of wood. She comes from a family of craftspeople and is a state award winner. Her father is an award winner too. She works with 150 other women and makes combs, hair pins, forks and spoons in beautiful light coloured wood.
Date: Till July 8
Time: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Venue: Ramakrishna Kalayana Mandapam, Avarampalayam
Find out about a workshop on Sanjhi Art, being held as part of Craft Bazaar. For details, contact: 99949-76445