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Masterpieces on display


Thirty artisans from different parts of the country have converged at the Super Bazar to display their ware at the Craft Mela 2004-05. Though they hail from different States, they are all members of the Hyderabad-based, Vishwakarma, a voluntary organisation for artisans welfare. An exquisitely designed teak wood chair costs Rs.2,200. The foldable chair took seven days for the artisan to complete. It would be sold for Rs.3,000 or even higher at furniture showrooms. "It is for this reason that Vishwakarma was formed. The direct interaction between the artisan and the customer can benefit both and eliminate middlemen, who are cornering the profits," says the association secretary, K. Jonathan.

"We specialise in wooden items like jewellery boxes in different shapes and sizes, utility items, book stands, toys and body massage items," says Md. Ibrahim. The prices at his stall range from a mere Rs.10 for wooden spoon to Rs.2,200 for the chair. Izaz Ahmed from Mandi Mohalla in Mysore displayed rosewood frames, toys, incense sticks, tops and rosewood centre tables. The frames range between Rs.2000 and Rs.9000 and the centre tables range from Rs.2500 to Rs.3800. Shankarlal Saukarya from Jaipur displays camel leather shoes and chappals. An eight-member family earns about Rs.300 per month on an average. "Though the initial response is poor, I expect the sales to improve in the next couple of days," he says.

Gautam from Assam finds it more lucrative to export cane furniture. "We can earn two times that of what we earn here. Though the exhibition sales are encouraging, the cost of transportation and other incidental charges are bringing down our profits," he laments. The clay toys from Kolkata are a delight for the eyes. "The toys are made of clay mixed with stone powder and chemicals," says Bapi Mukherjee. Idols of Lord Ganesh in different patterns are available in various shapes and sizes. The prices range from Rs.10 to Rs.450.

The soft leather goods from Warangal are another attraction at the exhibition. "Our leather unit, which employs 12 workers, has been functioning for the last 25 years," says Abdul. A wide range of hand bags, cell phone covers and jackets are on display. Prices range from a mere Rs.10 to Rs.2,500.

The exhibition is worth a visit. It will be on till May 7.

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