(An old post from my previous blog: posted on May 11th, 2006)
I recently visited Shilparamam where there was a crafts mela going on. I was delighted to see various art forms from all over the country. It was not the first time I have seen such artistic things but somehow I was moved by the expertise and workmanship hidden in each item that is kept for sale.
As I was shopping, I spoke to few people in the stalls. There was a man who makes khadi and cotton clothes in U.P. He described the entire process of making a khadi kurtha right from collecting the material to make the cloth to the last phase of stitching the kurtha. I saw Madhubani paintings and found them very expensive. I later learned that it is because of the amount of hardwork involved in extracting the colors. The material on which the painting is made and the colors they use are all natural. The colors are extracted from vegetables and plants. I read here that:
Cotton wrapped around a bamboo stick forms the brush. The colours applied are prepared by the artists. Black colour is obtained by mixing soot with cow dung; yellow from turmeric or pollen or lime and the milk of banyan leaves; blue from indigo; red from the kusam flower juice or red sandalwood; green from the leaves of the wood apple tree; white from rice powder; orange from palasha flowers.
I did some googling and you can find some sample paintings here. It is amazing that they could extract such beautiful colors from nature without any artificial chemicals.
There was stall with beautiful Kondapalli dolls. I saw a Gadwal saree which is done on a hand-driven machine and some extra work is done by sewing on that which takes 2 days for one person.
All these people who are experts in their own art forms earn very meagre amounts of money. I really felt sympathetic towards them. I decided that from now on I will do everything I can to encourage such people and thereby their art. I will speard the word among my friends and create awareness among them about these.
Next time you have to buy a gift, instead of going to shopping malls, try to find avenues to accommodate articles made by these craftsmen. Encourage these craftsmen and save the artforms.
May 25th, 2006 at 12:36 pm
Satya, Yes. Excellent idea to encourage our skilled craftsmen. I almost fell in love with the kind of objects they make in Shilparamam (Hyderabad). The very shape and nature of those objects can instill so much of enthusiasm in people who look at it (Indian Feng-Shui ??). I mean, for example, in the Madhubani they make some objects with papier-mache too. Then color it in the Madhubani style. Massive appeal .. I couldnt stop but buy them. Did you by the way see the wooden toys from Channapatnam? The links you have provided on the paintings are cool too. Good thoughts man. Keep it up. — Renjini