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Handicrafts Industry

  • Where to find authentic handicraft items while travelling to Tamil Nadu

    Almost all tourists know that India is an ideal place when it comes to authentic handicraft products. Frankly speaking, the country is so rich that each and every single state in the country has plenty to offer. If you are travelling in South India you will be surprised how many handicrafts you can find just in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is famous for various marvellous arts: genuine silk and cotton fabrics, awesome jewellery, metal and stone statues, and Palmyra fibres.

    World-famous Kanjeevaram silk sarees

    Tamil Nadu can definitely boast of exquisite silk and traditional sarees made of it in the region called Kanjeevaram or Kancheepuram. At the moment more than 5000 families are involved in saree production in this place only. There are approximately 75 yarn and dyeing workshops in Kanjeevaram only! Pure mulberry silk is used to create these sarees with wide bright and contrast borders. If you want to buy a genuine Kanjeevaram garment, you should remember that the main feature of these sarees is that the border and the main body of the saree created separately. After that, they get gently but tightly interlocked together. One can buy this garment directly from the outlets in Kanjeevaram itself and in various shops of Chennai.

    Palmyra fibre products

    These authentic and eco-friendly handicrafts can be found in Tamil Nadu. Palmyra tree is an official symbol of the state. It is widely used in the life of common people but also there are plenty of authentic handicrafts created from its leaves and fibre. Brooms, brushes, baskets, pen stand, gift boxes, mats, wall hangings, and even pencils cases of different styles and colours are easily available in the state almost everywhere. The traditional and unique art of palm leaf basketry exists today, thanks to the rural craft culture of Tamil Nadu.

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    Kumbakonam metal statues and ware

    The place called Kumbakonam is famous for its brass and bronze statues of different deities. Made in a traditional way, these authentic handicrafts of high quality and elaborate designs are really worth buying. Gods, goddesses, bells, glasses, dishes, and home decorations can be bought in not only in Kumbakonam but almost everywhere in Tamil Nadu.

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    You can also buy handicraft items online from Poompuhar, The Tamilnadu Handicrafts Development Corporation, which has its Emporia in almost all district towns of Tamilnadu including others cities across the country like Bangalore, New Delhi and Calcutta.

  • Five Ways to Differentiate between Fake & Authentic Handicrafts and Artworks

    Each year, hundreds of artists and craftsmen go out of business. Marginalised by intense competition and a lack of sufficient administrative support, these unrecognised heroes who have played a significant part in the preservation of the cultural heritage that the Indian people are so proud of are losing out. Counterfeiting and the mass production of cheap imitations have also hurt the industry.  You can make a difference - support the artists and craftsmen preserving India’s culture by purchasing authentic art and craft.

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    1)    Chikankari

    This beautiful craft comes from Lucknow, a royal city located in Uttar Pradesh, and is used to signify femininity and royalty. The pastel colours and detailed embroidery. When shopping for authentic handmade Chikankari, look for shadow stitch, crisscross embroidery and French knots. If there is any unevenness in the fabric or lose threading, it hasn’t been handmade. This also applies to most hand weaved and embroidered fabrics.

    2)    Silk.

    At times, it is possible to differentiate real silk from artificial silk by rubbing it in your hands if it emits a clear sound, it’s most probably real. Real silk is also highly susceptible to wrinkling. Crumple it up and release it, if the fabric doesn’t spring back to its original state quickly and wrinkles, it’s likely that it is silk. Burn it. You could take a small piece of the fabric from the fringe or pull a knot if the item is a rug, burn it. Take care to note the smell of the smoke and colour of the residue. If the sample is authentic silk, the ash should form a crisp black ball of ash and the smell should be similar to that of burning hair.

    3)    Gold

    For any handcraft made from gold, make a small indentation on the surface and add a drop of liquid nitric acid. If the area turns green, then whatever you're about to buy is not real gold. If it turns milky, then the product is made from over sterling silver. Only pure gold will not react with nitric acid.  Though effective, these tests do have their weaknesses. Besides the tests, it is often advisable to seek the advice of a professional before acquiring gold handicrafts.

    4)    Silver

    When silver is tapped with a metallic object, it produces a clear ringing sound, cheaper metals will only produce a dull sound. As with Gold, it is always wise to seek the qualified opinion of a certified professional before making a purchase.

    5)    Paintings

    For paintings, the buyer must know the artist and their style of work. Watch for inconsistencies in the framing and signature. Observe the colours in the painting. Not all the colours available today were possible in the past. Art enthusiasts often use colour charts to identify a colour that didn’t exist at the time the painting was supposedly made. Turn the painting over, what kind of surface was it painted on. Does it look and feel aged enough? Considering these factors could help avoid paying a small fortune for an imitation.

  • Fashionable and Traditional Handicraft Items for Home Decor

    Have you ever gone looking for trendy handicraft home decor pieces?  If the answer is yes, then you must know that it can be an extremely tedious task for the unprepared.  This article offers a few tips on the current trends in traditional handicrafts for home décor to help you make the right choices during your next trip to the craft shop.

    Brass ornaments

    Brass handicrafts provide a sturdy and durable home decor solution. Brass has quietly been making a comeback in interior design and traditional handicrafts made from this material are now popular home decoration items.

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    In India, handmade brass items are typically produced in the region of Rajasthan. Artisans from this region make uniquely designed figurines, table tops, bowls, plates and wall art. Pure brass usually tarnish quickly once exposed to air. It is therefore important to ensure that the product that you are about to buy has a good coating of lacquer.

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    Wood

    As a home decor material, wood has great traditional value in India. It is also a popular choice for handcrafts because it is durable, versatile and has natural beauty.

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    Papercraft

    Paper handicrafts are a simple but elaborate art form where brightly coloured papers are combined to make ornaments such as lampshades, decorative flowers and masks. One of the most popular forms of this kind of art is the paper lantern. Colourful, light, and easy to install, this decor element is an eye-catching addition to any home.

    Jute

    Jute is one of the most beautiful and affordable traditional fibres in India. Consequently, home decor items such as tables, wall hangings and rugs made from this material are inexpensive and will add a natural look to your home's interior. Jute products are primarily produced in the regions of Asam and West Bengal.

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    Ceramics

    Pottery is one of the world's oldest forms of handicraft.  Ceramics are great for home decor because they are an ideal way to add a touch of colour and texture. The distinctive curves found in wheel threw pottery combine nicely with the straight edges and right angles common in most architectural designs. Accurate placement of a ceramic piece can be achieved in multiple ways both on a large and small scale depending on how much you can trust yourself with the brittle material.

    Vases are particularly ideal ceramics for home décor because they can stand on their own or combined with other ornaments such as flowers. They are also the best choice for covering of large amounts of open space.

  • Why We Love Handicrafts (And You Should, Too!)

    Handicrafts are ornaments, decorations or functional utensils created by hand, or through the use of simple tools as opposed to complex machinery and production processes. Though they may bear a similarity to art and craft, they are distinct in the sense that the articles produced have an artistic and functional purpose.

    We love handicrafts, and it’s not just because of their elaborate beauty. In this article, our reasons shall be explored in greater detail. We hope that by the time you’re done reading this, you will share our point of view.

    Handmade art requires less energy than a mass production assembly line, this makes it more environmentally friendly. This fact is particularly true for commercial products produced abroad that must be shipped over long distances to reach buyers. Handicrafts are also more sustainable in the sense that craftsmen often use waste materials such as discarded plastics, metal, glass, etc. to make their products. By turning potentially harmful waste into functional art, they help reduce the impact that human waste has on the environment.

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    Handicrafts are beneficial to the job market. Research shows that just a 10 percent shift in consumer spending to locally run business would create hundreds of job opportunities and millions in local salaries.

    Locally owned autonomous business enterprises, many of which sell handmade handicrafts return a greater proportion of their earnings to their communities than modern retail chains. What this means is that the people who make a profit from the sale of handicrafts are more likely to spend their money close to their places of work.  In many cases, with handicrafts, clients have the ability to customize their purchases. Since the client usually interacts directly with the artist while making a purchase, it may be possible to modify certain aspects of the final product.

    Among the most significant but least calculable reasons for why handicrafts should be appreciated is the fact that they aren’t mass produced. The way handicrafts are made means that they are far fewer in comparison to factory made items. You can be certain that anything bought from a craftsman or woman will be as unique as you are.

  • 10 Popular Indian Handicrafts That Make the Best Souvenirs

    India is a captivating confluence of geography, culture, and tradition that captures every tourist's imagination. But, as all tourists know, every journey comes to an end eventually. Here is a list of ten popular Indian handicrafts you could acquire as souvenirs from your visit to this unique and beautiful country –

    1) Polished Metal Mirror

    Hundreds of years ago, native craftsmen invented the polished metal mirror. Known locally as the tarantula candid, this ornament is made by the bronze-smiths of India and can be found easily in this region of the world.

    2) Coir ornaments

    Simple yet elegant, the well-knitted coir ornaments made in Kerala will add a touch of style and sophistication to any living room or office. The decorative pieces are crafted by the women of the coir village. Other products made from this material include hammocks, wall hangings and blinds.

    3) Puppets

    Puppetry is an Indian tradition that has been kept alive for countless generations. The art of puppetry in this country has been maintained in the Nat community of Rajasthan. Their unique puppets are made of softwood which is carved and decorated with fabrics made within the state.

    4) Woodcarvings

    These items are a little expensive buthave theincomparable quality of design and shapewhich is hard to find anywhere else. Sandalwood sculptures can be found in states such as Kerala, and usually, depict common figures from Hinduism such as the God and Goddess.

    5) Paintings

    The tradition of painting in India is rooted in ancient practices such as Kalamezhuthu and the murals and frescoes of colonial-era churches. Poompuhar store also displays various famous forms of painting such as Thanjavur Paintings, Jute Painting etc.

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    6) Chanderi Saree

    The Chanderi saree is one of the best examples of handloom weaving in India. The lustre and transparency of the materials used to create this attire make it exceptionally better than other handmade fabrics in India.

    7) Ornamental Bangles

    These are rigid bracelets, made from gold, silver, glass or plastic. Bangles are of great significance for the married women in India as it is considered inappropriate for a married woman to be bare armed in public. They make great souvenirs as they are small, durable and affordable.

    8) Traditional Papier Mache

    The art of paper Mache is widely practised in India. The artisans of Kashmir are particularly known for the exceptional quality of the vases and models made using this method. Papier Mache pieces usually have bright coloured finishing and highly elaborate design.

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    9) Handmade fibre products

    Indian artisans are highly skilled craftsmen known for the quality and durability of their handmade fibre products. Artisans obtain fibre from locally available plant residues such as pineapple leaves and banana stems. It is then treated and used to create purses, laptop bags and wall hangings.

    10) Silver craft

    Silverware is a speciality of the artisans of Kachchh. They use light embossing enhanced by scrapping and etching to produce elegant functional pieces of art such as cigarette boxes and ittar-danis (perfume bottles).

    So next time, while travelling to India, do not forget to collect your souvenir to remember the trip!! Poompuhar also offers all valid documents to ensure that the overseas customers go through a hassle-free customs process at the airport.

  • Poompuhar is set to transform the handicraft market using virtual reality

    Poompuhar is all set to develop the virtual reality tool with an initial investment of approximately Rs. 2.2 Cr. Poompuhar is the retail arm of Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation and this initiative will be funded from the State Innovation Fund.

    The campaign will place mobile units of approx. 1000 square ft. at places like airport or malls. Potential customers will be provided with head gears to virtually observe the art and crafts while browsing through the showroom or craft centre or a workshop. Customers will be able to purchase the desired item from Poompuhar online store. According to Santhosh Babu who is the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Poompuhar this technology will also be implemented in other government departments.

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    This new Poompuhar project is 3-Design Research and Development Centre, Chennai. This centre will also be funded by State Innovation Fund and will be managed under a business model by an external organization. This centre will be responsible for designing products for the virtual reality display area. It will also help in souvenir and utility market segments which is part of Poompuhar future expansion.

    Utility market will include the handicrafts from China. Santhosh Babu added to his earlier statement that souvenir market consists of high-end products and such items are in high demand also. Hence, Poompuhar is planning to expand into this growing market with the help of this design centre. It will help in keeping up with the demand for these fast-moving items.

    Poompuhar is also looking to include more avenues while focusing on non-traditional selling prospects. Supporting these plans, there is a plan in place to launch a craft cafe at Urban Haats in the Nilgiris and Mahabalipuram like the café already running in Kanchipuram.

    "Since VR is one of the burgeoning areas, why not a government department shows the way forward in utilising new technology and be the trendsetter in making a virtual showroom," said Dr Santhosh Babu.

    Also, a 360 degree walk-through webpage will be designed for potential customers, who are not able to visit physical stores, to offer the same experience. He anticipated the total revenue to be Rs. 50 crore in this fiscal and Rs. 33 Cr to be the total sales from the showroom.

    This will the ground-breaking initiative by Poompuhar by mixing tradition and technology to promote the love for handicrafts in India.

    http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/virtual-reality-to-give-a-boost-to-sale-of-art-works/article22547277.ece

  • Indian Handicrafts in Global Markets

    Indian has earned a great respect worldwide whether it is in the field of science, technology, art or culture. Indian handicraft industry is one of the booming industries and is making its mark all over the world. Handicrafts are considered to be second-largest employment creating segment after agriculture in India. Many artisans all over India work with their craftsmanship to earn a livelihood. The industry offers work to more than 6 million artists mainly containing women and people from the weaker segments of the community.

    In current times, handicrafts have evolved as a perfect blend of traditional patterns and designs with modern technology. This has helped to meet the large demand for Indian handicrafts as gifts, souvenirs or decorative items worldwide.

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    This formerly known cottage industry has now transformed it into a full-grown, large-scale ever-growing organized business with to US$ 1.9 billion in the last ten years. Only in 2005-2006, the exports of Indian handicrafts had shown an increase of US$ 298.87 million giving a fixed yearly growth of 15 per cent or above. Indian contribution to USD 100 billion international handicrafts market is more than 2%.

    Interesting facts about Indian handicrafts –

    • Across India, you can find various art forms in handicrafts. There are many famous places which are known for their speciality in handicrafts such as Saharanpur for wooden articles, North-West Rajasthan for Jaipuri quilts, Gujarat & Lucknow for embroidery, Nasarpur for Lace material, Punjab for Phulkari, and Jodhpur for wrought iron products and so on.
    • Various designs and arts display various cultures of India
    • Wide ranges of designs are available in Indian handicrafts products, which displays creative and artistic skills of craftsmen, and these marvellous crafts are in great demand worldwide.
    • This industry has vast experience in the export and has earned a lot in foreign exchange
    • Indian handicraft industry has proven its worth with constant growth rate of almost 20%

    In recent times, the customers have less interest in machine-made items and are more attracted to handicrafts as they offer a unique style and style statement. Today, the skills and artisans have a dynamic role to play in creating a modern way of life in India as a part of traditional as well as financial future.

  • The Handicrafts in Andhra Pradesh

    Andhra Pradesh is known for its custom in handicrafts. Artisans in remote villages make astonishing handicrafts with dexterity. Local artists make excellent souvenirs from a wide range of materials. These items are crafted by professional artisans in their entice ambience in the rural area and artisans working at art and craft complexes which are governed by the government.

    Andhra Pradesh has a wide array of handicrafts which has turned to be the lifestyle of the local people. These products are sold through various handicraft emporia and at stalls at the major tourist spots. The art and craft of Andhra Pradesh is the product of the aesthetic blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures.

     Some of the art and crafts in Andhra Pradesh consist of:

    • Banjara Needle

    The Banjara Needle craft is believed to have been originated among wanderers and nomads. Flamboyant and rich embroidery is used in crafting of Banjara Needle craft.

    • Bidri craft

    The Bidri Craft is a craft from Andhra Pradesh which originated from Andhra Pradesh’s main city that is Hyderabad. In this art, silver work is done on metals with intricate carving. By use of a sharp chisel, Bidri art entails engraving on a metal base which can be made of zinc, copper or even tin alloy.

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    • Durgi Stone Craft

    Another craft from Andhra Pradesh is the metal Durgi Stone craft which originated from Durgi which is located a short distance from Macherala.

    • Metal crafts

    Another craft is the metal crafts which originated from Pembarthi which is a small village in Andhra Pradesh

    • Kondapalli Toys

    This art uses tamarind seed powder, sawdust, watercolors and enamel gums. Craftsmen craft real looking toys which usually reflect deities or figures like women cooking or a boy milking a camel or cow and many other arts.

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    The state gained a lot of popularity for its amazing art and craft products. From generation to generation, this art, craftsmen ship and skills have been passed on and is still flouring.

  • A Tour of Assam and its handicrafts

    Assam is a state in the northern part of India. It is renowned for its tea plantations and its diverse cultures of ethnic communities. With the diverse cultures comes diverse crafts and arts. The one scene that is guaranteed to capture your eye is the never-ending tea plantations and paddle fields. This makes Assam one of the most beautiful states in India.

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    The people of Assam are renowned for their graceful skill in weaving and exquisite silk products. However, due to the different cultures there other different forms of arts and handicrafts. The handicrafts and the amicable people of Assam make it one of the popular tourist destinations.

    Assam produces some of the best quality of silk called ‘pat’ and ‘buga’. Weaving and embroidery is the major handicraft, however, Assam has a wide array of handicrafts:

    • Cane and Bamboo handicrafts
    • Brass and Bell-metal handicrafts
    • Woodcrafts
    • Masks
    • Terracotta
    • Jewelry
    • Traditional paintings

    Cane and Bamboo Handicrafts

    Assam is very rich in bamboo and cane. Majority of household products are made from bamboo and cane. Cane and bamboo are used to make baskets, mats, stools and hats.

    Brass and Bell-metal Handicrafts

    Bell-metal and brass are commonly used by artisans in Assam to make metal products. The artisans are famed for their traditional brass and bell-metal articles. They use these metals to make utensils, water pots, bowls and dishes.

    Woodcrafts

    Assam is has a vast forest cover. It is no surprise that woodcrafts form part of the Assamese culture and economy.

    It is said that an Assamese can identify the timber by touching it even in darkness. The artisans in Assam are able to produce very beautiful products from timber.

    Masks

    Masks are important as they form part of the traditional tribal art and Assamese culture. They form an integral part in the cultural activities of the people in Assam.

    Masks are widely used in folk theatres and bhaonas. Masks also adorn the colorful traditional dances.

    Terracotta and Jewelry

    Terracotta is also an important handicraft of Assam. This craft has been passed from generation to generation. It is common to get terracotta vases, toys, figures of gods and goddesses.

    Jewelry making is an ancient craft in Assam. The jewelry in Assam is breathtaking and is made of gold and silver. The items range from necklaces to earrings, lockets to bracelets.

    Assam is a very colorful state, and if you are visiting Assam you should get some of their handicrafts as a souvenir.

  • Art of wood: Wood handicraft In India

    India is a land of great diversity and along with that it also presents plenty of opportunities to an enthusiast to soak in different forms of arts, culture, and tradition in every single part of its vast territory. One such opportunity lies in the form of wood arts. Wood carving has given rise to a unique style of arts which is unmatched when compared to the ones found anywhere else in the world. This one art form has been there since time immemorial and over hundreds of centuries have evolved to several different designing traits which can be easily observed and are spread across various parts of the country.

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    As it is known, civilization started sprawling in the Indian subcontinent first than in many other parts of the world.  Wood art also came into existence almost around that early dawn of civilization too and the pleasure of this art is found cherished since prehistoric times. The way Indian states vary in their culture, language, and behavior; similarly wood art seems to get hold of this variety and hence it exhibits a great range of variation in the design and style. According to each state's background and cultural taste, craftsmen developed their own unique style. The expertise and creativity of these exemplary craftsmen has allowed each state to have their very own distinct artistic identity which is hard to ignore in recent times.

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    To take a good look at the wood arts industry prevailing in India with respect to the different states, we must begin with the state of Tamil Nadu from where it is assumed to be originated in the form of beautifully decorated chariots with their figurines. Next is the state of Karnataka, which produced those trademark sandalwood artefacts in the form of elephants, tray, boxes, figurines, pens, key-holders and so many different things. Rajasthan is not only a rich tourist destination but is also famous for its woodworks indoors, panels, brackets, pillars etc. Not only that, it is most widely known for its puppets, animal figurines, and lovely jewellery boxes. The state of Orissa is famous for Lord Jagannatha and the idol of Lord Jagannatha itself was crafted out of wood, which definitely inspired the Oriya artisans to develop their unique style of wood arts that includes colourful wooden dolls, toys etc.

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    This travelogue of Indian wood arts will never be completed without a mention of the state of West Bengal where the expert craftsmen hail from such enriched cultural background that their style varies and distinctly identifiable even while moving from one region of the state to the other. Terracotta is the famous stone sculpture from this state, which has influenced the wood craftsmen to create their own variants which are more portable, less bulky and comes with a longer durability than then stone counterparts.

    Despite such rich legacy of wood artists in India, not everything is good. The government must come forward to train and make modern facilities available for the budding craftsmen so that they are assured of some basic earnings as well as recognition and honour for their hard work.

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