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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Bidri, toys and inlay work

by Shilpa Nair Anand

The exhibition organised by Cauvery in the city celebrates craftsmanship. Photo : Vipin Chandran
The exhibition organised by Cauvery in the city celebrates craftsmanship. Photo : Vipin Chandran

The Cauvery handicrafts exhibition has exquisite handcrafted articles worth a dekko

The Cauvery handicrafts exhibition, organised by the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (KSHDC), would have been another ‘handicrafts exhibition' had it not been for the three craftsmen positioned outside the venue, the Women's Association Hall, Dewan's Road.

The three craftsmen are Mir Imtiaz from Chennapatanam, Venkatesh from Mysore and Mohammad Arifuddin from Bidar. Venkatesh sits with a hacksaw with a fine blade and a few pieces of multi-coloured wood. Evince an interest and he is more than willing to treat you to how he works. The wood inlay artist painstakingly carves out ‘shapes' which by themselves look like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. He then places the pieces together and the final result is a miniature Krishna.

He, along with his guru, has recreated several Raja Ravi Varma paintings in woods. He explains, “we don't use paint to show the colours, these are natural wood colours.” He shows the pieces that he uses. The pieces are glued together to complete the picture. The time taken to complete a painting depends on its size, he says.

Bidri work

Mohammed Arifuddin, from Bidar, explains how the technique behind the world renowned Bidri work. He eagerly shows how silver wire is beaten into the design. There are different kinds of Bidri motifs and techniques – “Tarakashi, Phooljhari, Sheet work, Mehtabi…there are different kinds of techniques. Mehtabi consumes a lot of time and effort,” he says.

Tough life

Despite KSHDC help in the form of subsidies the going is tough he says. “Very few youngsters are interested in these art forms because…” he leaves the obvious unsaid.

Mir Imtiaz nods his head in agreement. Like Arifuddin he too has followed his father into toy-making. He switches on the machine and shapes a top. And pulls out two sticks of lacquer dyes and holds it close to the top which is taking shape. And voila! it acquires a varnished look. “See there is nothing else to it. Unlike some imported toys which are toxic, these are safe,” says Parameswaran, exhibition-in-charge. Imtiaz has a small unit in Chennapatanam where he makes toys.

Toy making is fraught with challenges, “every year we have to come up with new designs to keep up with the market. Our toys last, but people want variety.” His stall at the exhibition has a variety of toys like the wiggly fish or crocodile, toy trains, ducks etc. The oldest design? He looks hard and points at a bangle stand, “my father used to make that.” A bit of tradition and modernity is what his toys are about.

The exhibition has the other usual stalls such as Bengal handloom, Oriya, costume jewellery, bedsheets, embroidered bed and table linen etc. The Tanjore dolls, which bob their heads at the slightest movement, are also there.

Precious stones

The stall for semi-precious stones has an interesting collection. You can buy them loose or as strings. Durgesh Tiwari at the counter explains the finer differences between the colours of the stones and how the cheaper, more popular ones are, stones are made using synthetic dyes. The different cuts and shapes of the stones are tempting no doubt.
source:The Hindu

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