Kathakali designs perfectly suit Kalamkari products, says a Pedana artisan

The unsung heroes of Kalamkari art, a rural industry, K. Gangadhar and Narasaiah, have begun introducing the beauty of the Indian classical dances, rural life and tribal dance forms through their wood-block products. These are now being used in both traditional Kalamkari industry and chemical printing units across India.  

An attempt was made on carving the wood blocks and sketches are being readied on other dance forms, too. “Kathakali designs suit well with our very own Kalamkari products. The textile printing units in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other Indian states are now after the designs,” Mr. Gangadhar told The Hindu.

New orders

Since January, orders are flowing from South India to one of the largest wood-carving units run by the duo. Their crew is engaged in clearing routine designs, leaving the new designs to be carved by the masters.

A few successful recent creations are that of Warli designs in which tribal life styles and life cycle can be depicted, including Indian tribal dances, and Indian rural folk life.

This unit was credited with the production of every design of the ‘Textile Arts of India’ apart from the Bathik design of Andhra Pradesh, Turban of Rajasthan and Quilt of Maharashtra. “Time has come for us to tap the growing textile design market. Visiting Indian cities has become one of my regular work to introduce my experiments to the artisans in other Indian cities,” President of India Awardee artisan Mr. Gangadhar said.

For a few Pedana-based foreign exporters, these new creations are helping them woo new customers, who are mostly exhibiting interest in the Kalamakari products on their soil. New faces, both women and men, are seen at the Gangadhar’s printing and wood carving units, where they are being trained in the centuries old art form – in every aspect of the industry.