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Artefacts galore

The range of crafts is arresting at the Gram Shree Mela on till November 2 at the Valluvar Kottam.

THE GRAM Shree Mela, an exhibition-cum-sale of handcrafted products made by rural-based self-help groups, is a celebration of creativity and the human spirit. Funded by the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART)and the District Rural Development Association (DRDA), Government of India , the self help groups from all over India represent the economically disadvantaged sections of society. The mela, held under the aegis of CAPART and organised by the Voluntary Health and Rural Development Society, brings the rural producer and the urban buyer together. This also helps the craftsperson from rural areas understand the evolving markets and their demands. And, of course, products are much cheaper - where else can one walk away with a pair of handcrafted leather shoes from Haryana for just Rs. 200?

Held for the first time in Chennai, the Gram Shree Mela reminds one of a rural mela. There is a choice from nearly 100 producer groups of embroidered jutties and Kolhapuri chappals, Kalamkari panels, Pattamadai mats and fans, Sozani embroidered semi-Pashmina kurtas, bamboo items from Tripura, Orissa's pipli work artefacts and palm leaf scrolls.

Then there are the painted neem wood panels from Andhra, Madhya Pradesh's tussar temple `Karwati' saris, innovative jute bags and artefacts, many in the designer mode, embroidered made-ups from Gujarat Women's Producer Groups, hand knotted carpets from Jammu and Kashmir, coconut shell tea and coffee mugs and cane, petticoats, papads and pickles...

The touch of the mastercraftsmen is evident in the high quality of products, be it an embroidered item or soft stone sculpture or palm leaf engraving.

The mela is on till November 2 at the Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam.

PUSHPA CHARI

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