There are very few among us who doesn’t like music. Soothing to the ears, refreshing your
senses, classical music continues to enchant us from times immemorial. Several musical
instruments like Veena, Tabla, Tambura, Violin etc., have a long, cherished association with our
culture. While playing music is a great skill, creating musical instruments is no less complex.
It is not an activity which can be taken up by anyone. It is a form of penance and exquisite skill, owned by only a fortunate few. One such town known for its patronage of musical instruments, especially Bobbili Veena is Bobbili region in Andhra Pradesh. Bobbili Veena, in particular enjoys the status of a royal instrument. It was patronized by the kings of Bobbili, who were considered connoisseurs of music. They encouraged the creation of the famous Bobbili Veena. Made from pure jackfruit wood, a full-sized Bobbili Veena, also known as ‘Saraswati Veena’ is different from the ones which are made by craftsmen in Thanjavur, Mysore and other places in India. The frets of the Veena’s are made of bell metal featuring a lion’s head carved at one end. Bobbili Veenas are also called as ‘ekanda veena’ since these are made from a single piece of wood.
According to Sarvasidhi Achutanarayana, the descendent of Achanna who created the Bobbili Veena, these instruments are gifted as mementos and memorabilia, to encourage people in buying them and promote the legacy of these masterpieces More than twenty-five families of the Sarvasidhi family in Gollapalli village near Bobbili in Andhra Pradesh, are considered as the sole manufacturers of this instrument apart from a dozen other families of the same clan who have set up units in other places of India. The wood crafting tradition of Bobbili attained GI status in the year 2012. Attractive and elegant Tamburas, violins, Tablas are made by these artisans, featuring unique designs and innovative carvings. These are not only bought for their utility value in the world of music, but they adorn music galleries and living rooms as great ornamental pieces of display!
Toys have always captured our imagination from a long time. Highly decorated wooden toys are
quite popular as most of them are hand-made by craftsmen, who excel in the art of creating such
special toys, which appeal to buyers and collectors from all over the world.
Right from colours used to the unique crafting done, Jaipur toys are always special. The process of crafting begins with the type of wood selected. Artisans choose a special wood, which is of high quality and relatively free from pests. The wood is then cut into small pieces, which makes it convenient for preparing toys.
The toys created represent different animal and human figurines and the set of musician toys represent excellence in art, marked by different colours and shapes, making these toys very attractive. Creating hand crafted toys is a skill, which is quite challenging to master and hence only a select community of artisans in Jaipur, Rajasthan take up this art. They are experts in making identical set of toys, adorned with multi colours. The toys are given a traditional Rajput look, with a moustache, and other attributes, making the musician figure look lively and attractive. The colours used to make these toys are derived from natural sources and these are applied after the wood is crafted to make the desired toy. Jaipur toys are quite popular as they add a unique charm, which is simply unbeatable in the world of wooden handicrafts.
Metals have always been a favourite material for creating stunning pieces of jewelry, handicrafts and other attractive items. The process of oxidation refers to a form of conversion coating which is done for ferrous materials as well as stainless steel, copper and few other copper based alloys. Even zinc, powdered metals, and silver solder are used in this process. It is done for creating fine pieces of jewelry which has mild corrosion resistance and for the sake of fine appearance. The process of oxidation also involves impregnating with oil or wax.
The process of Oxidation in terms of jewelry is related to the application of a black finish, to one or more extent, wherein the jewelry is immersed in an oxidizing solution like potassium sulphide or other chemical solutions that enhances its appearance. Oxidation process actually creates contrast in the jewelry and is hence used a background for highlighting a raised element in a particular design. The oxidised form of sterling silver shows a lovely matte blackish surface and it ushers wonderful gun metal lustre. The process of oxidising silver turns the surface of metals into black. Even sulphur is used for the purpose of oxidising black metals.
Artisans of Telangana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and few other regions in India are skilled in this process, which is used for creating attractive earrings, bangles, pendants and other forms of jewelry as well as art items. This form of treatment is also called as patina wherein it is only a surface treatment and it doesn’t alter the internal characteristics of these metals. Usually customers who purchase an oxidised piece polish it regularly so as to prolong its life. There are oxidized black metal bangles with simple design that are available in a range of sizes. The appeal of the oxidized metal is enhanced sometimes with a beautiful choker and a pendant with mirror, and these are also matched with pretty danglers. Indian artisans are skilled in the process of oxidation and the end products are highly appealing in the domestic handicrafts, jewelry and art market.
A shiny finish which is imparted for oxidized black metal is very appealing as it ushers an aura of classy touch for those wear them. Therefore, young women tend to find the oxidized black metal jewelry attractive. Therefore, these are popular even as the artisans involved come up with new designs and delicate carvings which only enhance its attractiveness. It is available at reasonable prices and is within the reach of many in the domestic market.
Kalamkari represents a unique art of painting cotton fabrics with a kalam i.e. pen, which is generally done using a sharp, pointed pierced bamboo which regulates the flow of colour on the canvass/fabric. The name Kalamkari originates from two Persian words, namely qalam (pen) and kari (craftsmanship), and literally this expression means drawing with a pen.
Kalamkari is an art that boasts of a glorious history. It is a highly popular form of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile art and painting, practiced in Andhra Pradesh. The major forms of Kalamkari art are Srikalahasti Kalamkari of Chittoor district, and Machilipatnam Kalamkari made in Krishna district. The brilliant effulgence of colours and the characters used in this art, that emerges on cotton fabric, helps in creating a wonderful, resplendent spread.
Kalamkari art is considered unique as it uses rich, classic colors as a vibrant medium for portraying mythological characters from epics, in the form of paintings. The popularity of the exquisite Kalamkari paintings crossed the shores of India, during the 17th and 18th centuries. Srikalahasti and Machilipatnam are the hubs of Kalamkari activity. Kalamkari colors are usually extracted from vegetable dyes. There are themes like Kalamkari leitmotifs comprising different forms of lotus flowers, parrots, the cartwheel, along with interlacing patterns of leaves and flowers and many more which are used to depict the paintings and textile prints, apart from the characteristic designs inspired by Hindu epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata