Jewellery, textiles, readymades, ethnic wear…. the crafts fair has it all

When you hear a crafts fair is in town, you think you have seen it all. The funny thing is that, each time it manages to surprise you with its sheer variety. The handicrafts exhibition hosted by the Gujarat Emporium for the 21st consecutive year lives up to its wow-factor with a selection of hand-woven clothes, home linen, ready-to-wear garments, handicrafts and a curious collection of knick-knacks.

Entering the Women’s Association hall, you cannot miss rows of sparkling jewellery—dazzling stones, beads, the dainty Meenakari earrings and traditional Gujarati lacquer bangles with bead and mirror work. The typical glass bangles, which are not so easily found these days, are available in plenty. You could just rummage through the heap to pick out your favourite colours. Since the glass is mixed with other materials, they are not as fragile as simple glass bangles, the salesman says. You can also pick your favourite beads and glass pieces and get a piece of jewellery made the way you like it.

Seven states are participating in the fair, but most of the stalls are from Gujarat. Apart from the traditional hand block prints, a lot of “new-age” tops and kurtis are on display. The Kochi Gujarati Emporium, too, has put up a stall. The hand-block print saris start from Rs. 350 and go up to Rs. 1,200.

For ikkat fans, the expo presents a fair treat—saris, salwar materials, dupattas and running material in a variety of traditional colours. The saris start from Rs. 3,000. Authentic bichitrapuri design comes in the dupattas as well. The Kotpad stoles from tribal Orissa, made of natural fibre, is a stylish eco-friendly alternative to your usual synthetic stoles. Terracotta jewellery from Orissa with popular Indian motifs in fascinating colours cannot be missed. The ornaments have a peculiar glazed finish, owing to the tree-gum, clay and stone powder mixed with terracotta.

A mind-boggling range of precious stones from Jaipur, including ruby, topaz, emerald, mother of pearl and sapphire, are on display, strands of which cost up to Rs. 47,000.

Lucknow continues to charm with its pure white and pastel chikan kurtis. This time around, the variety is better with a lot of experimentation with colours and patterns such crochet sleeves and Kerala kasavu borders. Rajesh, the salesman, says even bold colours are preferred in chikan work now.

Leather bags, sofa covers, table mats and bedsheets are on display. Kanta and batik work dress materials and shirts from Kolkata, chanderi cottons from Madhya Pradesh, toys from Channapatna complete the picture. The handicraft stall from Uttar Pradesh has an assortment of curios done in Assam teak. Lanterns, jewel boxes, agarbathi holders, keychain holders and a wide array of intriguing curios. The products are sold on a rebate of 20 per cent for handlooms and 10 per cent for handicrafts. “The ultimate aim of the expo is to improve the livelihood of craftsmen and handloom weavers in the country,” says K. Arunachalam, manager of the Manager of Gujarat Emporium, Kochi. The exhibition is on till November 18.