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Traditional weaves, ethnic crafts

Authentic traditional products are on display and for sale at this exhibition.



WARP AND WEFT: An interesting collection of weaves from Bengal

SUMMER SHOPPERS are in for a rare treat of ethnic Indian handlooms and handicrafts at the ongoing exhibition at The Exquisite Boutique, Woods Manor hotel on M.G Road.

Says Vandana Rao, coordinator and proprietor, " the local people haven't had the benefit of being exposed to traditional craftsmanship of other Indian states. And the people of the other states are reluctant to head down here because of the distance factor . What you have here are traditional weavers and craftsmen and their authentic creations."

From Pochampalli you have the delicate ikat designs on display and sale. Buffering this stock are the Patola saris along with the Ghadwals and Seiko cotton saris. And the Mangalgiri salwar suits make up the fine cool collage of summer prints. The mercerized cotton gives it an unbelievably smooth and fine finish that helps it retain the needed fall and texture. They also have single and double bed sheets and divan covers. Prices for the collection range from Rs. 200-4,200.

Kolkata contribution

Kolkata gets a generous representation here with at least four people who have made it. Says Jhothish Revnath from Kolkata who has been showcasing his work to as far as Italy and Rome, "it's our first time here and the response's been o.k." He's come down with cotton saris from Shantiniketan having the famed Kantha embroidery. Also in his variety fare is the Dhaka cotton saris with Jamdhani weave. He's also got door curtains that have the Jamdhani weave on them. Prices range from Rs. 300- 2000.

Suhas Dev has the prized Dhaka muslin, so woven into our memories from the pages of school history texts. But he would tell you, "It's the same muslin that can be fitted into a matchbox, but of a thicker variety. You don' t get fine muslin anymore because no one wears it and the process takes months of painstaking labour." Composing his other treasures are the bright and striking Aari embroidery sewn onto pure silks in sprayed colourful variants. To supplement the collection are saris in Tussar silk, Dhaka cottons and Moga silks. Prices range from Rs. 350 - 4000.

Terracotta jewellry

Again from Kolkata, you get to ogle at a unique collection of terracotta and wood jewellery taking you back to the days of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The designs, patterns, carvings and frail etchings are reminiscent of the traces of our ancient culture. The jewellery made from pinewood is especially noteworthy. A first time experience surely for city folks. Vibrant and classy at the same time. You get hairclips; earrings and necklaces made of terracotta and wooded beads. Also elegant and exquisitely carved seashell hairclips are other eye-catchers. Prices range from Rs. 30 -150.

Paper mache

Paper mache handicrafts that include stationery, book marks, diaries of all sizes, photo frames and lampshades have come in from Pondicherry. The beauty of these paper products is in the pasted dried flowers that lend it a soft ethereal delicateness. These products are very handy and are structured in such a way so as to be able to be folded and stacked away when not in use. Priced from Rs. 10 -280.

Batik on jute

Krishnendu Datta, a NIFT grad has a great collection of jute bags. Styled in contemporary mould with pliable jute, the fabric is hand-woven, colour fast and washable. He also has on display a wide range of covers, tablemats, mobile covers and bottle bags for the woman on the move. "We are quite satisfied with the response and there have been a fair amount of repeat buyers," he says. A quick word on the mobile covers, which are worth a pick. They are vegetable dyed and are extremely utilitarian crafted. Some of the bags have sisal grass for the handle giving it a chic grace. "I am the only one in India who does hand batik on jute," he declares quite confidently. Prices range from Rs. 10- 280.

From Jaipur and Lucknow you have the usual kurtas in vegetable block print and batik print along with lucknowi chikan work done on chiffons, which give it an amazing grace and elegance.

The sole woman participant is Baniya Sardar from Kolkata. You would see her bend over her clay artwork painting over tirelessly and zealously. The wall hangings and terracotta jewellery that she has on sale are refreshingly different from contemporary work. Mostly ancient tribal faces and figurines are moulded in clay. To get a blacker effect more smoke is let into the kiln during the baking.

Tanjore paintings

There is on display, gold foil based Tanjore paintings by Vandana herself. She says, "Pure 24 carat gold is used here. Hence it never loses its sheen and splendour. The gold is melted into a thin strip, which is then floated on paper. After being dried, the paper can be cut and stuck on to the stones and motifs in the paintings which are done on plywood." She also gives classes on this art form and takes orders when placed.

An economically priced exhibition and a rare display of Indian art and culture that brings in a whiff of fresh air to the staid shopping experience that you have so far had, a bit like the unseasonal showers that have splashed the city.

RAKHEE MOHAN

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