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The master class of tradition

Over the next two weeks Mumbaikars will get a unique opportunity to learn crafts including Phad, Bandhani and embroideries such as Soof and Kantha from master craftsmen. Over a fortnight, the workshops will spread awareness about these craft forms and offer a hands-on experience.

“It is challenging to organise such workshops where most people have no clue about our traditional arts and crafts and we have to keep samples of crafts at the museum to show people. The aim is to make people feel pride and respect, for our rich and diverse heritage of arts and crafts,” said Reshma Sett, managing committee member of Paramparik Karigar.

She added that the highlight of the museum workshop will be their Pattashilp workshop where Khadu Chitrakar will sing and narrate the stories he has painted, as he scrolls down his Pattashilp at the workshop. “Batik will also be introduced for the first time and Soof embroidery, a lesser known art form will also be taught,” she added.

The GUIDE picked three of the best workshops to attend.

While the art is associated with Kashmir, Bihar is also known for it. “In Madhubani, Bihar, papier-mache articles have been made for generations and handed down from mother to daughter (often as dowry),” says Kamini Kaushal. The range of products includes light and durable bowls, vases, pots, jars, frames, masks, beads, earrings, bangles, containers and boxes.

Method: The artifacts are made by mixing paper pulp with Multani Mitti, Dardmeda powder obtained from the Dardmeda plant, juice of neem leaves and methi. Pulp is added to give the right shape. When completely dry, the object is coloured using minerals, roots and flowers or poster colours.

Beru Lal Chipa’s family has been involved in this craft for six generations. “Nowadays, apart from apparel, we make bedsheets and sarees. Earlier, it would be available in limited colours such as indigo, but now, we apply a variety of colours. Colours are sourced from natural materials like turmeric (red) and blue (indigo),” he says.

Method: Daboo or hand-block printing uses metal or wooden blocks to print designs. The cloth is stretched; colour is added to a pad on which the wooden block is pressed. This is then stamped on the cloth and an impression of the design is made. Many blocks are employed to produce multi-coloured prints. The method is laborious since a large number of impressions have to be made to print the entire design on the cloth.

Pattachitra involves painting on a cloth or patta. The themes depict the Jagannath temple with its deities — Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. Rabindranath Sahu learned the folk art in his childhood. “We would paint and sing along. The colours were obtained from soil, leaves, rice powder, turmeric, etc,” he says.

Method: The chitrakars prepare a thick paper using layers of old dhoti cloth and sticking them with a mixture of chalk and tamarind seed gum. The theme is sketched with a pencil and outlined with a brush. After completion, the painting is held over hot charcoals, and lac is mixed with resin powder and sprinkled over the surface. When this melts, it is rubbed over the surface to give a coating of lac.

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