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Thursday, Sep 12, 2002

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Creativity to the fore

Kalamkari torans, coffee tables, hand-woven bedspreads, Lambani embroidered purses... these and much more are available at the SIPA's "Fair Trade Crafts Fair" on at Sri Sankara Hall, till September 15.

TRUE TO its name, the South India Producers' Association's (SIPA) "Fair Trade Crafts Fair" brings maker and market together in an amazing partnership of fair prices with high quality hand crafted items. Made by 9,000 mostly marginalised craftspersons organised into cooperatives, social action groups and voluntary agencies, the crafts on display are a blend of design innovation and traditional skills.

The emphasis on non-toxic materials and sustainable development is another hallmark of the crafts showcased at the fair.

And one interacts directly with the artisans too who might just be a National awardee, a Kalamkari legend or the maker of the most delicate sisal fibre bags.

Wander into the world of the rare, beautiful craft items. And pick up a stunning `dashavatara' Kalamkari toran designed by Mamta Reddy, a set of lyrical Kalamkari and lace cushions or a Ganesha mask brilliantly conceived out of naturally striped Australian wood, or an ornately carved teak wood coffee table embellished with the auspicious lotus and peacock motifs or even something as mundane as a palm leaf box from Pulicat finished to detailed perfection.

Among the brilliantly designed hand-woven linen are bedspreads, towels and table linen from `Reaching The Unreached', an NGO from Theni district of Tamil Nadu. A range of well-crafted vegetable dyed Kalamkari bed linen is another attraction.

There are pretty Lambani embroidered purses, handbags and shopping bags from Bijapur, cleverly set off against block prints and embellished with cowrie shells that make excellent giveaways.

Also, on display are vegetable dyed non-toxic lacquer ware toys and spinning tops made as per international standards and carrying the German CE trademark.

While the cool sisal fibre is transformed into pretty bags, place mats and dolls by `Action for Social Transformation', the terracotta artefacts from Pondicherry attract with their vibrant colour.

The handicrafts of Auroville, which range from brilliantly designed mugs to superbly finished tooled leather bags, wooden cutlery and educational toys, form part of the cluster of development of 78 crafts initiated by the Government of India.

The `Fair Trade Crafts Fair', which is currently on at Sri Sankara Hall, 267, TTK Road, Alwarpet, ends on September 15.


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