Society

This Crafts Thiruvizha helps keep traditions alive

Whether it’s textiles, woodwork, toys, or banana fibre products, the Crafts Thiruvizha at Poompuhar has something for everyone

Dhivya T is looking for a particular shade of indigo in a sungudi she wants to buy. TA Ramesh from Madurai pulls out a piece and hands it over. Ramesh, who has a stall at the Crafts Thiruvizha organised by Poompuhar, says his family has been working with sungudi for “at least 10 generations. “My parents taught me the craft when I was a young boy but I took it up only 10 years ago after my father fell sick. Now I enjoy it,” he says. He sources cotton saris from five handloom weavers in Madurai and “dye them using natural colours. It takes me one day to complete a piece, which I sell for ₹530.” He also has a collection of Paramakudi silk cotton saris that he sources from his relatives. Showing me a blue one with images of women playing drums and men on horses, he says, “the designs are inspired by the sculptures at the Meenakshi Temple.”

The Crafts Thiruvizha features 15 artisans from around the state. R Narendrabose, manager of Poompuhar, explains that the exhibition is meant “to preserve the traditional crafts of Tamil Nadu and to give craftsmen an opportunity to interact directly with the customers. This edition’s speciality is wooden and banana fibre products. We also have brass artefacts, Thanjavur dancing dolls, incense sticks and jewellery.”

This Crafts Thiruvizha helps keep traditions alive

At Satish Kumar’s store, customers are checking out the wooden bowls, kettles, tumblers, jugs and jewellery boxes. “I am a mechanical engineer from Chennai. I worked in a private firm for two years but my earning was enough to sustain my family. My father is a carpenter and I knew the basics. So I decided to do something with wood and I earn better now,” he says. He started with making jewellery boxes with secret chambers. “I found the process of making these boxes interesting and I was hooked. The secret compartments can be made visible by simply sliding a wooden panel inside. It has been only a year since I started making kitchen utensils.” He uses neem wood and applies coat of beeswax, neem oil and olive oil for the finish.

Banana fibre products include baskets, cushions, tissue boxes, bags and hats. “We had a lot more products, but most of the baskets and flower vases were sold out in the first two days,” says Narendrabose. “The government trained 25 basket makers, who source the fibre locally, from Madurai in December.”

Children are attracted to the Channapatna toy stall. Six-year-old Adithya S is amused by a top that turns turtle as it spins. “This is magic,” he says as he tries it out. Karthika K checks out the Thanjavur dancing dolls. “The earlier one broke. I had read about this exhibition and wanted to get another one. They have a good collection and most products are also affordable,” she says.

The exhibition will be on till February 8; 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Poompuhar, Big Bazaar Street

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:22:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/the-crafts-thiruvizha-at-poompuhar-offers-something-for-everyone/article30674414.ece

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