Danuska Da Gama and Venita Gomes | NT BUZZ
Kalamkari on leather
One of the oldest forms of art in India, Patachitra (picture on cloth/canvas) can be seen aplenty here. In one such stall, Arunamma from Andhra Pradesh is patiently painting motifs of mythology, flowers, birds and animals on leather, an art that’s more commonly known as Kalamkari.
“We use the leather of goat skin to make these traditional works of art. It takes about three days to dry the skin before we start painting,” she says, while painting lampshades at break neck speed. Arunamma tells us that that this art form has been in the family and that she has been doing it for close to 50 years.
Available here are lampshades, scrolls, paintings, wall hanging etc. Most of the items have colourful paintings on the off white background of the leather. Here a small lampshade costs about `400, while a large hand-made painting costs `10,000.
Blue art pottery
Very attractive in blue’s and yellow’s, the blue art pottery work stands out for its pretty designs. Recognised as a traditional craft of Jaipur, this form is Turko- Persian in origin and provides livelihood to several people who hand paint the items made.
Kamal Prajapat from Kotjawer, Rajasthan tells us that the three most important materials used are quartz stone powder, powdered glass, multani mitti (Fuller’s Earth), borax, gum, and water.
“The designs are traditional Rajasthani generally, but now because people like it and due to demand we have modern designs too. These are hand painted using a brush made of the tail of squirrels when it is still wet,” explains Prajapat. He also says that the process from start to finish excluding the moulding, includes handwork, where even the powdering of glass is done manually.
The sheen comes from baking the items in a glass kiln at a temperature of about 1000 degrees celsius. In various designs and hues, you can find artsy looking crockery, soap dish and dispensers, candle stands, artefacts, door knobs, wine bottle stoppers, hangers etc. Here you can buy a range of items from `100 to ` 4000.
Pattachitra art on palm leaves and silk
Artist Banamali Barik from Bhubaneswar paints pattachitra art on palm leaves and silk cloth. This form is unique to Orissa and is different from the usual artworks that you can find. It is not an easy task to paint on palm leaves and silk as it requires a lot of patience and practice. “On palm leaves, pattachitra which mainly includes mythological characters and designs is firstly engraved on to the palm leaves. After this it is filled with vegetable dye.”
The vegetable dye then fills up in the gaps and this makes the artworks turn black. “After this the dye is washed with water. The artwork then tends to stand out. This is an ancient technique which was used in earlier times to write,” he adds.
While this technique is now used to create artworks and is practiced by several people, it takes nearly three days to make the smallest art form. “The duration taken depends on the size of the art, even the price of it depends on the same. We have artworks that start from `300 to `90, 000,” says Barik.
His painting on Tussar silk is also rare. This Tussar silk is an exquisite thread that is obtained from a wide winged moth that is yellowish-brown in colour. Water, acrylic, and vegetable dye are used to fill colour in the same.
“The works don’t fade off until and unless they are exposed to sun for long time. Also, washing the paintings is not advisable,” adds Barik.