Flourished during medieval period, the glory of Indian handicrafts go back to one of the oldest civilization in world, i.e. the Indus valley civilization. Although, different places in India are known for different type of handicraft products, but my personal exposure to handicrafts leads to my fondness toward pottery and glass crafts, hand-woven carpets , sarees, bamboo products such as basket, and wall hanging. Things that attract me for handicrafts products are always its design , material, and techniques.
The Indian artisans who are making these products are fighting hard for survival of its art, culture and family and their hard-work can be clearly shown in beautiful products. According to me, handicrafts are mirror of cultural identity of ethnic people who make it. The entire wealth of timeless Indian handicrafts has survived through the ages. The crafts carry the magnetic appeal of the Indian culture that promises exclusivity, beauty, dignity and style. Handicraft products are beneficial in many ways-
1. Reusability of waste materials
2. Improves creativity, and skill, makes money with self employment
3. Minimum investment and environment friendly.
4. Sustains the culture of the country
Few products that I personally loved the most are Banarasi sarees, crafted with royalty, each saree is made of finely-woven silk and are decorated with intricate design, and because of these weaving techniques that sarees are relatively very heavy. Other features are gold work, figures with small details, metallic effects, jal and mina work. A saree can take from 15 days from months to sometimes up to 6 months to complete. Banarsi sarees are mostly won by Indian women on important occasion.
When you look into patterns of Banarsi sarees , you see immense thread work moving through it. However, an ideal Banarsi saree contain 5600 thread wire. My personal choice for Banarsi saree is because it gives elegance and opulence look. The saree is enough to make women go gaga over fabric and designs, no matter what the occasion or Season. Pashmina banarsi , kind of banarasi saree has won every women heart because of its range of colours. Other handicraft items I admire are pottery work. Pottery is the process and product of forming vessel and other objects with clay and other ceramic material, which are fired at high temperature to give them hard, durable form. It is one of the oldest human invention from Mesopotamian civilization around 1000-1500 BC. Much pottery is purely utilitarian but much can also be regarded as ceramic art. A clay body can be decorated before and after firing.
Pottery act as tool for cooking , serving, and storing food, and it was also an avenue of artistic experience. Personally, terracotta pottery attracts me the most its a term usually used for defining sculptures which are made in earthenware, and also those forms created for various utilitarian purposes like vessels, flower pots, bricks, and surface embellishments in buildings. Terracotta in Italian language means “baked earth”. It is type of earthenware, which is either clay-based unglazed or glazed form of ceramic. Terracotta has been in existence for a very long time. In fact, it is believed to be the only clay product which was used until 14th century. The pottery created with terracotta is used as garden pots or for decorative purposes in many environments, as well as oil lamps, or ovens.
In Andhra Pradesh, Palamaner Mandal in Chittoor District is renowned all over for its most attractive and varied Terracotta Pottery. There are more than 20 small open-air outlets existing here alongside the highway, where dozens of artisans display their work. The locally available mud/clay is considered suitable for pottery work. They create an array of craft products like lamps, pots, musical instruments, flower vases, horses, idols, plates, elephants, and other highly attractive artefacts.
Handcrafted products and sculpture are expensive because of time, skill , material , involved ,it takes up to year’s to figure out what will work and what does not. Machines are used for mass production and can possibly make 100 of pieces in time while a craftsmen finishes one product . A craftsmen has to do everything on their own and whole process takes lot of time and hard-work and we are busy spending money on products from malls rather than buying these handicrafts products and encouraging artisans for their work , who are trying hard to save our dying art.
About the author
Malika Kapoor is pursuing graduation in zoology and loves to learn and write about nature, genetics, and history of countries.