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Grass and goat leather--innovations in handicrafts

Feb '07
The entry of trendy decorative items like Kaincha wall and ceiling hangings or lamp shades carved out of goat leather are enticing urban Indian home in place of traditional straw mats or brightly embroidered canvas paintings.

The golden grass or 'Kaincha' which looks like gold is harvested once a year and then dried and stored, says S. Mondal, a national award winner artisan from Orissa, currently displaying his creations at the famous Surajkund crafts fair at Delhi.

Mondal has displayed articles made of grass like small pen-holders, file folders, lampshades among others at his stall.

The attractive spiraling wall patterns of grass are most sought after and reasonably priced for Rs50, he said.

Jewellery boxes, trinket cases, place mats, beautiful floor and wall mats are some other hand-crafted products created from soft Kaincha.

Decorative items made from goat leather including lamps, bags, pen-holders, puppets and paintings that offer a pleasant breakaway from traditional camel leather, mirror and embroidery handiwork, are also in great demand.

V. Ramakrishna, 1982-national award winner of Andhra Pradesh specialises in goat leather craft and uses events from legendary tales to design his creations.

It took him a month to design a painting of Bhima, one of the Pandavas, which now sports a price tag of Rs 6,000.

Despite new mediums entering city-dweller's house, centuries-old 'Kalamkari' paintings still retain their charm.

Kalamkari art form involves painting a cotton fabric with a sharp pointed pierced bamboo that regulates flow of colour on fabric, explains T Mohan, a recipient of national award in 1970.

Kalamkari, as the name suggests means work (Kari) with pen (kalam).

Color for painting is derived from natural dyes made from different vegetables. Jaggery is used to prepares black colour, yellow from flowers, red from potash alum (Phitkari) and brilliant blue from indigo, Mohan said.

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