Art

Ananda Perumal makes cutlery with used coconut shells

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Coconuts about the planet: Learn how to make spoons and bowls with used coconut shells from Tirunelveli-based artisan Ananda Perumal

For Ananda Perumal, the best thing about working with coconut shells is that, he does not “disturb anyone” in the process. “Like the rain, my material comes from above,” says the artisan, adding, “I use what the trees offer.” The products he makes, be it a utility item or accessory, decompose without leaving a mark of its existence on the planet. Ananda, who runs Kavin Art Gallery in Tirunelveli, has been into coconut shell craft for eight years now. “But in India, the products are not that popular as compared to say, the Netherlands or Scotland,” he feels.

Which is why Ananda, who will be in the city to hold a workshop, wants to teach the craft to more people and popularise it. “A soap dish made of coconut shell can cost ₹150. People often raise questions about the high cost,” he says. Coconut shell can be a delicate material to work with, despite it being sturdy. “I cannot predict how the shell I pick to work on will turn out to be. It might develop cracks mid-way as I sculpt; there are instances when a cup splits just as I give the finishing touches... For every five cups I craft, two tend to break during their making.” The many implements used in the craft, such as blades, often hurt the fingers of the artisan.

Ananda Perumal makes cutlery with used coconut shells

“Which is why a coconut shell product is expensive,” explains Ananda. “The only way to make people understand this, is by encouraging them to try and work with the material themselves.” At his Chennai workshop, he will be showing how utility products such as small containers, spoons, ladles, and table-top flowerpots can be made. “Participants can take home what they have crafted,” he adds. “I hope to teach sculpting accessories to those interested in taking it to the next level, for that takes a little more time to master.”

Ananda Perumal makes cutlery with used coconut shells

The workshop is part of Urban Market, that is happening on December 1, 10.30 am to 1.30 pm, at Farmer & Co, 3, Lamech Avenue, Chetpet. Registration fee is ₹600. Call 6374085001.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 3:33:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/coconuts-about-the-planet/article30097048.ece

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