What is in a name? Very much, if the lengths to which people go to select a name for their homes and display it prominently is considered.

Craftsmen in the field of decorative metal art have thus plenty of work. With glossy letters engraved in gleaming metal, they give a chic identity to a house. It takes only a few hours, with not much of an expense, to get your dream name etched on a desired surface for your dream home.

Such craftsmen in Kozhikode city have been rewarded by a plenitude of work, giving a shiny, artistic touch to nameplates with beautiful fonts. With the entry of this specialised set, the custom of writing names on walls and gates has transformed from unskilled painting to something of artistic value.

The much preferred metal surface is glittering brass plates. The artistic alphabets flow from one edge to the other in an enticing manner. A wise selection of colour helps.

“Considering the client's interest, we make use of thick glasses, plastic sheets, wooden plaques, and costly stones to engrave the names. Within three hours, the process can be completed and the final product delivered,” V.S. Santhosh, owner of a metal art shop, says. “The entry of etching work on glass has ushered in a new trend, along with brass engraving.”

Price range

From Rs.450 to Rs.2,000, these men offer attractive nameplates for homes. The prices vary with the size of the metal plate and labour charge.

For displaying on walls, buyers normally prefer the basic models. The pricey items are picked by those who want to display the nameplates on gorgeous gates and compound walls.

“Today, we have a number of modern machines to carve and shape the name boards with an eye-catching look. Craftsmen who used to exert manual labour for perfection are now experts in handling such machines,” Suresh Babu, a craftsman, says. Many of them occasionally visit cities such as Chennai and Coimbatore to get training from experts in the field, he adds.

The letter art market in Kozhikode is now rich with the presence of more than 26 shops, each comprising three or four skilled labourers in the field. Most of them have their own workshops to receive bulk orders from various parts of the State and deliver in time. “Along with nameplates, we prepare number plates, mementos, and trophies,” says Roshan Lal, a craftsman.

It is not just small-scale orders that come in search of them. A biggest share of their earnings comes from established builders and developers. Most of them come in search of bold metal letters to display their brand names in front of buildings. “On such occasions, our efforts become more lucrative. Recently, we had an opportunity from a city-based client to complete a big project at a cost of Rs. 2 lakh,” a young metal art worker in Kozhikode says.

MITHOSH JOSEPH