New-age business plan on cards for city coppersmiths
byLaxmi BirajdarLaxmi Birajdar,
PUNE: Streamlining of quality, widening the scope of production via greater corporate and institutional orders, and thereby boosting livelihood of coppersmiths working from the famed Tambat Ali in the city, are part of the new 'tambat' craft revival and livelihood project initiated by Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Pune chapter, two months ago.
"We want to take this craft to a higher level in terms of quality and reach. A lot of research and development has gone into this project, which began on a small scale over a year ago. The Forbes Foundation has helped us in this new project. Special efforts will be taken for bigger, better branding of the brass and copper products that the coppersmiths are making," said Supriya Goturkar, in charge of the project at INTACH.
The first event to initiate this plan of action is an exhibition of products made by the coppersmiths, on March 6.
"We have zeroed on ten to 12 products of brass and copper, which cost between Rs 300 and Rs 4,000. The idea is to expand the reach of these items by inviting more and more orders from corporates and institutions. We've planned two such exhibitions this year, which will showcase the artistry and craftsmanship of the coppersmith, as we have focused a lot on improving the quality and finish of the products they are making under this initiative, and such improvement can be seen now," Goturkar added.
Copper and brass products like trays, bookmarks, candle holders, cutlery and home decor items underwent stylistic and aesthetic innovations over the last one year. It all began with a 15-day workshop held in 2010 for the Tambat Ali coppersmiths, all members of the Twashta Kasar Samaj, who were trained to upgrade their products in terms of look and quality in order to make them saleable to a larger upmarket consumer base. Design intervention was possible with a team comprising architect and designer, Rashmi Ranade and members from INTACH, Pune. Some of these products are also available for sale at Warsa, the heritage store by INTACH at Shaniwarwada.
A cooperative of the Tambat Ali coppersmiths was also formed early last year, in order for their products to reach a wider market. This led to the coppersmiths meeting small-scale private orders close to Rs 30,000 per month.
"The new project is also meant to help increase the livelihood of each coppersmith involved, because they can't solely rely on making these stylised copper and brass products, by giving up their traditional businesses in Tambat Ali. We want to help them become self-reliant as well," Goturkar said.