Crafting traditions

Here is your chance to admire and buy some of some of the beautiful arts and crafts of the country at the Gandhi Shilp Bazar

Ravi Achari from Chittoor carefully applies a coat of polish on a piece of carved wood. He is one of the 90 artistes at Gandhi Shilp Bazar organised by Ministry of Textiles, Government of India and The Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited. In front of him are a number of neatly arranged wooden boards with carved gods and goddesses. The size varies from 1 ft to 6 ft. “It is not an easy art. It took me five years to master it and I have been doing this for the past 26 years”, he tells me. Achari says that the process starts from selecting wood from the local wood depot. “I work mostly with neem, sheesham and teak wood. It is cut and soaked in water for five days to make it easier to carve. After carving, I polish and paint it.” He says that his wood carvings are to decorate living rooms and pooja rooms. “Prices are fixed depending on the size and intricacy of work. A carved wooden door can cost up to ₹100000 and will take four months to finish”, he adds.

Not too far from Achari is M. Mani Balan from Puducherry who sells bamboo wind chimes, masks, spoons, mirrors, coasters, lamp shades and cutting boards. “We have a plot of land in Auroville where we cultivate bamboo. Both the stem and the root are used in our products. It does not require any specific care and lasts long.” His products range from ₹400 to ₹2000.

Crafting traditions

Dried flowers in red, yellow, brown and white grace the counter belonging to Nandha Mach Tamuli from Assam. She uses corn husk, palm leaves and rubber tree seeds to make them. Tamuli collects the raw materials and dries it in the shade before fashioning them into flowers. Showing me a bunch of white flowers she says, “I use corn husk to make it. These are my favourite and the most difficult to make. The husk must be handled carefully when shaped into a petal. A number of petals are then tied together to make a flowers.” Her flowers cost ₹20-₹ 80.

Majini. T from Kanyakumari deftly weaves baskets with palm leaves. “I have been doing this for 30 years,” she says. She gets the leaves, weaves them and finally colours them. Her creations include purses, hats and beautiful baskets. You can pick up her works of art for anything between Rs 30 - Rs 300.

There are treasures from the sea as well as K.Vadivel from Kanyakumari points out. He makes sea shell curtains, key chains, and small sculptures with shells. “I buy shells from seaside towns and I clean and treat with bleaching powder and hydrochloric acid.” Vadivels says that he uses a hot glue gum to make small animal shapes out shells. His products range between ₹40 and ₹1500.

There is a stall that sells cotton and jute carpets in Kalamkari and Jacquard designs by A. Ramesh from Telegana. He shows me a Kalamkari carpet and says. “After weaving, it has to be boiled thrice, before dyeing. Or else the colours will not stay.” His carpets cost ₹200- ₹4800.

Crafting traditions

Sayed Ilyaz Uddain from Chennapatna comes from generations of toy makers. He makes the famous Chennapatna toys made from milkwood, so called because of the light appearance of the wood. He uses vegetable dyes to colour the toys and these are hand-painted and non toxic and safe for children to play with.

D.T Kamalakkannan from Chennai has Tanjore paintings. “These paintings are made with pure gold foil. I also use Jaipur stones and pearls to decorate it.” When most of his paintings depict gods and goddesses, there are also a few of birds. “To add a modern twist, I have also used oil paint instead of the usual poster colours.”

Santhosh Chandrakanth does live sketches of anyone who wants their portrait done. He charges ₹100 for a portrait. He has also brought along a number of paintings in acrylic and water colour that line the walls of his stall. “These paintings show the landscape and culture of my village in Maharastra”, he says.

Info you can use

Gandhi Shilp Bazar also has stalls for textiles, foot wear and accessories

It is on till February 18; 11.00 am to 8.00 pm

@ Maanakshi Hall, Avanashi Road

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 7:55:50 AM |

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