Paradise for craft lovers

Vibrant Display

Paradise for craft lovers

The Crafts Council of Karnataka recently organised Kuteera, its annual exhibition of handicraft products from around the country, at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat. “Kuteera has established itself as an exhibition where people who are well versed with Indian crafts will show up. We are trying to promote new crafts this year, while showcasing the popular ones as well,” shares Indu Sridhar, one of the organisers.

The exhibition has a lot of variety. The fabric corner has Maheswari saris, sujani embroidery, kalamkari work, Orissa saris and Rajasthani bagru print among others. A lot of toys are also on display — from Pondicherry’s wooden toys to Karnataka’s lacquer ware.  Abdul Satah, who makes bells in Bhuj, Gujarat, is showcasing his items for the first time. “I’m hoping to make some good sales. The bells are made of five different metals like loha and tamba, which give each piece a unique sound. A lot of people are coming and asking me about them,” he informs.

Many stall owners are old-timers and know what to expect. “I’ve been coming here for many years and as the days go by, the response gets better,” notes Yogendra Singh, who is selling Varanasi toys, bangles, photo frames and wooden boxes. He adds, “It’s not always the youngsters who pick up the stuff. Adults also like to revisit the child in them.”

There is a wide range of home products as well – Masland mats from West Bengal, natural fibre bags, tribal iron craft from Chattisgarh, artefacts made from Dokracasting, Cherial paintings and seashell products from Tamil Nadu to name a few.

For the visitors at the exhibition, it is fascinating to go through the various products, talk to the craftsmen and buy whatever catches one’s fancy. “It’s a good mixture of products. Personally, I liked the toys and the work done on palm leaves. Some of the things are expensive, but given the work that’s gone into making them, it’s worth buying them,” says Renee, a visitor. One thing is undeniable — such exhibitions are a much-needed platform to keep the dying art and craft traditions of India alive. Gopal Joshi, who is showcasing the Phad paintings of Rajasthan, agrees. “These paintings were a part of strong folk art.

Earlier, artists would make huge paintings and use them in performances. With time, they’ve become miniature in size and are used as wall paintings. Even though the original tradition is lost, these exhibitions create new markets and let people connect to the past,” he points out.  The exhibition is on till January 23 from 11 am to  7.30 pm.

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