K Shankar from Etikopakka village in Andhra Pradesh, Jayoti Acharya from Bolepur in West Bengal and Bibaji Chudiwala from Jodhpur in Rajasthan are among the group of craftspersons and weavers who have come to Visakhapatnam to participate in the Weaves and Crafts Bazaar organised by Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh (CCAP).
The expo features saris, hand-woven fabrics, traditional Indian art and craft kits and products by weaving and craft clusters across India. Among them are the Bobbili saris, Ponduru khadi, eco-friendly board games, artifacts made from canvas, marble pebbles, handmade palm baskets, Banjara needle work and natural fibre crafts.
K Shankar is a third generation craftsperson who does palm leaf and screw pine basketry. “I grew up watching my parents and grandparents seamlessly weave the baskets, along with many other families in our village. Weaving is a way of life for me,” he says. Recently, the craftspeople of Etikoppaka were trained by the CCAP in the process of using natural dyes in palm leaves and weaving the coloured leaves into baskets, table-mats and coin bags.
The rich tradition of Indian art and craft is rarely introduced to children at an early age. To bridge that gap, Pooja Ratnakar started Potli that offers a range of traditional DIY kits that cover art forms such as Warli, Madhubani, Patua and Gond. Potli also has kits that allow children to make use of block prints on dupattas and stoles and make natural colours through small sachets of dried flowers and other natural dyeing agents. “We have art kits featuring 12 States of India. We have also introduced an art kit that chronicles the journey of the major Indian rivers,” says Mahinder Kumar Gond, a team member of Potli who has come from Noida in Uttar Pradesh.
Bibaji Churiwala’s crystal bangles once adorned the royal families of Rajasthan. The craftsperson has come to Visakhapatnam from Jodhpur to display a range of these bangles. “These crystal bangles are specially handcrafted. The expensive ones are made to order. These bangles are part of every wedding in Rajasthan,” says Bibaji, who is a third generation craftsperson.
The exhibition will be on March 17 at the Gandhi Community Centre, Daspalla Hills, from 10am to 7pm.