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An ethnic affair

The All-India Crafts Fair at Shilparamam has the biggest number of artisans from all over the country participating this year

AMIDST THE rush of shopping malls and retail outlets brandishing designer labels from clothing to pottery, the all India crafts fair at Shilparamam is like a breath of fresh air to the modernity-suffused minds of the city dwellers. If you feel a need to update your quotient on national art `n craft, then Shilparamam is the place to be. Saris, suits, durries, jute products, home decorations, pottery, dry flowers and much more is there to be appreciated and invariably picked up. Artisans from all over India flock to the fair every year to display their talent. According to B.S. Reddy, special officer Shilparamam, this year, the fair has overtaken the Surajkund mela in terms of the number of artisans participating in the fair.

Wide range

Owing to this particular factor, the main attraction at the fair this year is the variety available for every item. So where the Bengali saris stalls have the regular tangail, Dhaka jamadhani and kantha, there this year they have come out with ghagra- cholis with the same work and material. Aari-work on saris with baluchari like designs is also a novel addition. Gossamer Chanderi saris and salwar-kameez pieces enthral the beholder every time. There is an unbelievable variety in Benarsi silks this year. Also from Varanasi are tanchoi based products like cushion covers, purses and stoles. Pashmina silk saris in whites adorned with dainty pashmina needle work in pastel pinks and blues is exquisite. Rajasthan comes with its stock of practical and gauzy cotton Kota saris. Punjabi Phulkari with its beige base and vividly coloured phulkari patterns looks resplendent in a backdrop of thatch roofed stalls. The products are eye candy for those with a penchant for handloom weaves and hand made art products. You could stand there gaping at one piece after another unable to make a choice with the thought of 600 stalls still left to be covered.

Poona Saris with their immaculate borders with funny names like chunchuni, shivshambhu and paithani borders are irresistible. A must have for Kalamkari buffs this season are suit pieces in Mangalagiri cotton with the dupatta and the salwar in kalamkari prints. Top contenders are also Maheshwari saris and suits in vegetable dyes and Bagh and daboo patterns. Gujarat has arrived with a whole range of products from shawls, salwar-suits with mirror work, heavy Navratra jewelry in white metal along with cushion covers and wall hangings in exquisite silver thread aari Kutch work. Rajasthani products include lively bandani dupattas and dress material with huge silver coloured metal tassels and big patched mirrors. From Jodhpur, terra cotta products are first timers while rajasthani juttis with a few new patterns are hot sellers. Capsule net, zigzag and box design are new weaving patterns of jute that is used to make purses, jewellery, footwear and home decoration products like Ganeshas and flower vases.

adhubani artisans showcase their skills in wall paintings, silk saris and kurtas painted in madhubani style and paper mache products.

Festive spirit

For the Christmas season there is a madhubani paper mache nativity set and a Christmas tree. Mysore is grandly present with its lifelike engraved statues of ganesha as also rosewood furniture articles. Batik paintings from Aurangabad, silver filigree jewellery from Orissa, dry flowers from Nagaland, appliqué work dress material from U.P and the aesthetic yet affordable Khurja pottery have a considerable presence at the fair.

An endless treat for the art lovers, the variety at the fair is unlimited , the stamina required to cover it exhausts sooner than one can imagine. Well that's what makes it exciting, isn't it?


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