Irfan Hussain from Moradabad is an expert at casting brass artefacts. Fruit bowls with intricate minakari work, tall vases with hand-crafted motifs, wall-hangings done in oxidised brass… his work is brilliant. Umar from Srinagar is a skilled weaver of Pashmina shawls. He has a handloom at home and works on it eight to 10 hours a day. Asha Lohia runs her own handicrafts business specialising in ‘cheeda' work. She has 150 women working under her in Mumbai and in Rajasthan. All of them have displayed their ware at the ongoing Sahara Art and Craft Shopping festival.
Almost everything here is handmade — be it a pair of sandals or clothes, it has passed through the hands of an artisan.
“Eco-friendly, light-weight, long life!” sings Prashanth to passers-by who stop and stare. He has jute footwear with simple designs for just Rs. 150. Zaheer's stall has a more ornate collection of hand-made footwear, available in a variety of colours and with embroidery designs on them from Jaipur.
Lucknow chikan work has been given a new twist. “Chikankari with crochet work is our new arrival,” says salesperson Santhosh. When combined with patches of white crochet, the fabric takes on a trendier look. There also are chikan work fabrics with patch and network. Anarkali kurtis that come tailored in various sizes, gauze-like salwar suit fabrics and saris with aari work are the other attractions from Lucknow.
There are fabrics with aari work in Umar's stall too. The hand-embroidery is done by women in Srinagar at their home after their daily chores, he says. “Almost every house in Srinagar has a woman doing embroidery work. My mother Shameena is an expert at it,” he says. These Kashmiri salwar suits are heavily worked and come with chiffon dupattas. They are elegant and value added thanks to the handwork on them. At the Bandhini stall, it is colours galore. The tie and dye fabrics come with hand stitched patchwork.You can match them with accessories form Asha's stall. The 57-year-old from Rajasthan has earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets in traditional ‘cheeda' work. Made of hundreds of colourful, tiny beads, they are perfect for party wear. “Women in Rajasthan wear these for special occasions such as Deepavali,” says Asha. She also sells decorative items for home, from hand-made dolls to wall hangings.
Crockery in every possible shade one can think of, bed-spreads, artificial flowers, hologram paintings, vegetable-cutters, carpets, life-sized idols of deities…the exhibition is a one-stop-shop for all your home needs. Pickles from Rajasthan, chips from Mysore and lip smacking digestive churan and mouth fresheners — there's plenty to eat!
Sahara Art and Craft shopping festival is on at Park Gate Grounds, Dr. Nanjappa Road till June 12 from 10.30 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. All credit and debit cards are accepted. Parking and entry are free. For details, call 9994640694.
Keywords: Sahara Art and Craft