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Mirror Kalavat in Tribal Style
Mirror Kalavat in Tribal Style

Diwali Gifts: Craft tales

Indigenous art and craft forms in unconventional ways, made with a design sensibility that is a perfect blend of old and new

Seeking a new audience for craft and artisans is one way to revive the industry and breathe new life into it. Asking artisans to transfer their skills to products that they are not used to making is another. This list has works that use indigenous art and craft forms in unconventional ways, made with a design sensibility that is a perfect blend of old and new.

Mirror Kalavat in Tribal Style: During her travels, Kanika Pal, founder of the SoCHE Foundation, which works on environmental sustainability and traditional livelihoods, stumbled upon a relatively unknown embroidery craft, Kalavat, practised by women in the villages near Barmer, Rajasthan. The neckpieces have been designed by Pal.

Price: Rs2,000

Available at Facebook.com/ SoCHEfoundation.

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Bommalata Dasavataram Collar: Tholu Bommalata, the shadow theatre form from Andhra Pradesh, uses puppets made of leather—traditionally deer, but, in recent times, goat hide. The performers would travel and narrate stories from the epics, their dramatizations brought to life by the richly coloured puppets. Gina Joseph, who designed the piece, is among a clutch of designers who have reformulated this art form as jewellery.

Price: Rs4,000

Available at Zolaindia.com.

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Agra Bidri Tray: Bidri was developed in the 17th century by artisans inspired by the Persian technique of inlay. Manasa Prithvi, founder of Ìra Studio, has collaborated with artisans to create this handcrafted tray with silver strands inlaid in a zinc base.

Price: Rs14,300 for the pictured Agra Bidri Tray

Available at Irastudio.net.

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The Jimbo Jumbos Napkin Rings & A String Of Goobes Pendant Light: Channapatna, a town in Karnataka, is famous for its wooden toys and lacware made using the traditional technique of lac turnery that dates back to the time of Tipu Sultan. Although the craft enjoys the protection of geographical indication, machine-made toys threaten the livelihood of craftsmen. Varnam, a social enterprise, works with artisans to create a range of products.

Price: Rs1,250 for a set of four napkin rings and Rs1,850 for a single unit of String of Goobes

Available at Varnam.co.in.

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Tribal Lady—Champagne Glass: Dokra, a 4,000-year-old metal craft, has practitioners in Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Kerala. Traditionally, it has been used to make decorative figurines with a lost-wax casting technique, but Tejas Soni, who comes from a family of goldsmiths in Gujarat, was keen to experiment with it. Result? Cheery times.

Price: Rs4,187 for a set of two

Available at Zaarga.com.

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