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Crafts for you, folks

Looking for a vase for that drawing room corner or a gift for a friend?



The store has something to offer for both the specialist and the casual shopper.

HANDICRAFTS, HANDICRAFTS, and more handicrafts. This is the most appropriate way to describe Folk Arts and Crafts located in Basco Court on the busy D.V.G. Road. This four-year-old outlet houses handicrafts from all over the country, right from Jammu and Kashmir to Kerala. It is a one-stop shop for handicraft items from various states like Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Karnataka, to name a few.

"The main objective of starting an outlet like this was to have the handicrafts of all States under one roof," says Prasanna Venkatesh Murthy, the owner, who manages the place along with son Manu Vasishta. With a keen eye for art, Mr. Murthy sources his huge range of collection through contacts developed over the years in various States, exhibitions and visiting craftspersons. While most of the items are readymade, the store also has a few customised pieces designed by Mr. Murthy himself. "I sometimes suggest the design based not only on my ideas but also according to the customer feedback," says Mr. Murthy.

Right from terracotta to brass, wood to papier-mâché, the store is a virtual treat for art lovers as well as casual shoppers. Priced between Rs. 10 and Rs. 10,000, the handicrafts are snapped up by both tourists and local people. Starting with our very own Karnataka, the place houses wooden idols, side tables, wall hangings and the ubiquitous Channapatna toys. There are elegant jet-black Bidri vases with intricate silver wire designs that make for classy gifts.

Handicrafts from Kerala include a myriad range of items made from the coconut palm and straw. They include eco-friendly trays, boxes, vases, spoons, ladles and paperweights. The natural shades of paddy straw are used to make wall hangings and no artificial colour is used in them. An intriguing item is an indigenous bottle made of a large coconut shell, varnished and topped off with a jute covering and handle. It can be used to store just about anything, right from water to wine!

Also available are brightly coloured wall hangings, letter holders and lampshades from Orissa. They have lovely mirror and appliqué work on them. You can also check out the wide range of the Madhubani paintings. "The unique feature of this form of art is that the artists use vegetable paints. The main theme always symbolises the positive either in the form of growth, prosperity or whatever," explains Mr. Murthy.

Copper craft from Maharashtra is yet another specialty here while the Tanjore paintings are a perennial delight. The papier-mâché items are made in Pondicherry.

Marble handicrafts are sourced from Agra and include exquisite carved boxes, elephants and idols. A big winner here are the Mughal art on marble plates. Tiny metal Ganesha idols from Sikkim and bamboo art from Tripura make for good gifts. Leather bags and purses from Rajasthan and West Bengal are also worth a look. Australian white woodwork done in Varanasi and Udaipur are interesting.

And, if you always wanted those rustic pots and terracotta stuff for your home, this is the place to visit. Alternatively, you can choose from the specialty pots sourced from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh and our own Bangalore. The terracotta items include pots, lamps, bells, idols and vases. Keeping with the current trend, the store also houses Feng Shui items, scented candles and a limited range of apparel.

Antique freaks can check out the elegant telephones, gramophones and the quaint wooden carts embellished with brass that double as spice holders.

Folk Arts and Crafts is at Basco Court, Gandhi Bazaar Circle, Basavanagudi, Bangalore 560 004. You can contact it on 51204546 or 98451-99464.

RASHMI GOPAL RAO

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