Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why you should plan to shop now

As Christmas and new year are around the corner everybody is busy preparing for the holidays and as usual everybody is confused about the gifts that they would be giving. If you are planning to buy gifts from us then we suggest you must do it soon. Here is the reason why.

  1. The festive sale is on where you are getting upto 50% discount on all products at our store. It is on only till the year end.
  2. As this is the year end we'll not be adding fresh stocks till the next year. That means you have to grab what you want as soon as possible before someone else buys it.
  3. Our store back end would be closed for the year end from 21st December, 2009 to 1st January, 2010. That means any orders received during this time will be processed only after 1st January, 2010.

Here are a few Christmas gift suggestions from us which you can use.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Horn Craft of Orissa - Part II

pen holder in horn craft

The process of crafting horn

Horn crafts demands enormous patient, utmost concentration and long working hours. First the solid part of the horn is soaked in water to make it soft and then the desired design is carved out of it. If shaping is necessary, then the carved piece is heated to a specific temperature and shaped. Then, different files are used to smooth the surface of the sculpture. Necessary bores are then made to fix appendages. Eyes and other highlights used to be made of stag antlers, but now a days due to its unavailability plastic is used. After drilling bores, light incisions and grooves are made in the required places on the body of the horn work. Then it is polished, generally by the women of the village. They polish the articles first with sand paper and then with wet Kharsana leaves. The Kharsana leaves have a rough surface on one side. The polishing is continued till the horn work is smooth and shiny. Then it is thoroughly cleaned with water and dried in open air. After drying it is polished further with cow dung ash or charcoal ash. Then the various parts are assembled by applying either limestone paste or white varnish highlights the desired areas. Finally coconut oil is smeared all over which gives the horn work the beautiful luster it possesses.

The present

Like any other crafts in Orissa this craft is also fighting for its survival. This craft which seems to have reached its fag end too soon is going to die an untimely death unless some concrete and hard actions are taken. Dejection is written over the faces of the artisans who are now valiantly struggling to maintain their rich cultural heritage. They suffer a major setback from the non-availability of enough horns. They have to compete with buyers from outside the state which results in the spiraling of its price and the lowering of their profit. Horns also are used in the rich shipping industry, leading to further scarcity. And the worst part is that, the horn workers have to compete with various machine made products like plastic ware. And the worst enemy are the buyers like us who have been showing indifference to traditional craftsmanship. The horn craft artisans are hence going into other professions. Those who are still sticking to this profession are not at all interested in passing it on to their children. The way the situation is right now this beautiful craft will surely die a painful death in another ten years or so. It will have to a be a combined effort of the government and the buyer to get this craft form back where it belonged.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Diwali Gift Ideas

Its Deepavali time. Its that time of the year when families and friends get together and have a blast. Its also the time to gift your loved ones. Here are some gift suggestions from us, that will surely be different and flavorful.

Appliqué lampshades of Pipili make a great gift for Diwali. Diwali or Deepavali is festival of lights. People light up earthen lamps or Diyas to celebrate this festival. The appliqué lampshades multiply the charm of this festival by creating an ethnic ambiance and adding soft colorful light to the festivities. Combine it with an appliqué wall hanging or a papier mache mask of Ram, Ganesh, Hanuman, Sita, Laxman or Kali and it will be the perfect gift for Diwali.

Combine a metal crafted sculpture with a palm leaf engraved painting and it will be an unique and rare gift that you shall be giving someone this festive season.

One of the best gifts will be a Ganesh or Buddha stone sculpture from our store. You can choose from red stone or marble sculptures. These are very intricately and ornately carved and are available at better price than any other store on the internet. You can also combine this with an appliqué lampshade to make it the perfect gift.

Wood carved Jagannath or Trinity idols are great too as a festival gift. These hand carved and painted idols of Puri are made from wood blocks and are completely hand crafted. These will make an ideal gift for any festival and especilly for Deepavali.

No matter what the festival is Pattachitra painting or a palm leaf engraved painting is a good gift any day. Let it be Diwali, Durga puja, Holi, Christmas or new year. Because of its beautiful colours, design and intricacy it makes a great gift for any festival. Go ahead gift your loved ones with a Pattachitra or palm leaf painting this season.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Horn Craft of Orissa - Part I

Horn craft is practiced by the Oriya tribal people, mainly the Marijas, Santhals and Orans. The horns, taken from the corpses of mainly cows and buffalos are transformed into beautiful artworks that become home decors and a large variety of functional items. Pen stands, paper weights, lamp shades, table lamps, walking sticks and decorative figures of animals and birds are some of the most common products. But the razors, spectacle-frames, cigarette cases that were in vogue till early eighties have slowly disappeared from this craft and also public memory. And in the land of Jagannath how can be a craft be a complete without representing the lord with it!! In keeping with changing times, inspiration for decorative pieces is being drawn from modern art as well. Paralakhemundi and Cuttack are the Mecca of this beautiful craft and Paralakhemundi mainly is synonymous with horn craft around the world.

The history of horn work

The history of how this craft was born is not known precisely. But by most the present form of horn craft is attributed to Rao Sahib K.V.Appa Rao of Paralakhemundi. He was patronized by the kind of Paralakhemundi for his fireworks. Legend has it that during a firework display Appa Rao accidently recognized the plastic properties of horn which was used as a container for his fireworks. Till then horn was used to make functional items like combs by the tribal people. Appa Rao studied the potential that horn had as a medium for art form and then under the patronage of the king set up his workshop with the very best carpenters. And this is how the horn craft of Orissa was born.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The festive sale is on

This is the time of the year when celebrations encapsulate the world. It starts with Durga Puja or Dusshera. Next is Diwali or Deepavali and then comes Christmas followed by new year. And craftOrissa gives you just another reason to celebrate. Our grand festive sales are on from this weekend.

You get upto 50% off on all products. Yes you read it right. The sale is on for all products. Everything in our store is up for sale. And the discount is upto 50%.

By the way the launch offer is also still on. So if you purchase before 31st December you get additional 15% discount on the final purchase amount and also 25% off on shipping.

But there is a catch. Offer is valid till stocks last. So hurry up and order today. There are great gifting ideas that you can get on our site now. So vitsit us today and we assure you it will be worth.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Anatomy of a Pattachitra

Kalia Dalan Pattachitra

Pattachitra has always been used as a story telling medium. Though one may find various themes in a Pattachitra painting now-a-days, traditionally stories from Indian mythology have been told through this medium. As Krishna and Jagannath culture is predominant in Orissa stories from Krishna’s life occupy a dominant position in Pattachitra paintings. What you see in this post is a basic Pattachitra painting depicting a very important incident from Krishna’s life.

The incidence the painting depicts is called ‘Kalia Dalan’. A multi-headed serpent called Kalia along with his hundred wives had taken refuse in Yamuna river near Vrindavan, the village where Krishna grew up as a child. Its venom had caused havoc killing all the cattle that used to go to the river to drink water, all the birds that flew over it and all trees that were there on the bank of the river. Kalia had a bloated ego because of the powers that he possessed.

Nobody in Vrindavan village dared to go near Yamuna, which was the lifeline of the village. One day Krishna while playing with his friends veered towards the river and playfully jumped into it. His friends ran back and informed the villagers and his parents.

In the meanwhile inside river Yamuna Krishna has a small encounter with Kalia whereby Kalia tries to display his powers against Krishna. But Krishna in a very playful way climbs on top of the hood of the great serpent as the serpent rises above water. The villagers of Vrindavan watch in awe as the great serpent emerges out of water with its hood raised and Krishna dancing on top of it. Kalia bleeds heavily and his venom also starts to come out as he keeps becoming weaker.

The wives of Kalia surface and ask Krishna for forgiveness. Finally Kalia’s ego too is broken and he asks for forgiveness. Then Krishna directs him to go to a certain place and live harmoniously there.

This whole incident is a metaphor for the Hinduism’s philosophy of giving up one ego and surrendering to supreme lord. Complete surrender is a way of attaining Moksha.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New products added to store

As the festive season is coming up we have added some new products to our store. In applique craft there are some new lampshades and wall hangings. In papier mache masks you can check out the black Ganesha mask that we have added. Some of the other highlights in the new products include Krishna leela on palm leaf, Trinity of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in Pattachitra painting, kurtis in handmade textiles and a Ganesha in red stone carving. And yes how can we miss out one of the most unique mew items. It is a bull horn carved deerBull horn carved deer. Do check out the new products.

And by the way did we just say festive season. That sounds like discounts. Keep checking this space or our offers page for details.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The rare golden grass craft

Coasters made with Golden grass Golden grass craft is a nature lover's delight. A lot of household and decorative items are made using dried grass which becomes yellow and golden in colour. The grass is made of 'Khus Khus' stem. It is sturdy and can be bent to any shape to be turned into items of household use like baskets, boxes, mats, coasters, pen holders, wall hangings etc.

Depending on the size and intricacy, each of the handicraft items takes anywhere between a day to a month to complete. Sometimes a little colour is added to the grass to create interest in the design. But generally the natural golden sheen of the dried grass itself makes it look very bright and attractive. A cute little box made with Golden grass This craft was widely practiced in Orissa till about 40-50 years back as a lot of utility stuff was made using this craft. But as is the story everywhere, due to industrialization this craft also became almost extinct within no time. It was then left to the effort of some individuals and NGO's who tried to revive this craft by giving it a wider market. This craft has been saved, but only just. Only a few pockets like Jajanga village near Kendrapada and Jajapur, in Orissa now practice this craft. Though it is still living, but its future is uncertain.

Boxes made with Golden grassThis craft has got great aesthetic appeal and conforms to 100% natural living. Its because of this reason there is optimism that this craft will also survive the test of time, but as of now it is a rare craft. Its available only locally in different parts of Orissa. It is still trying to establish its market in India itself.

Perhaps the Government can push this village to become an arts-n-crafts village like Raghurajpur and include it in a tourist circuit. In fact this craft should be marketed better because of its rarity and appeal. The craft and the products are great, it only needs to be marketed well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Appliqué Craft of Pipili

Applique wall hanging Puri is one of the four holiest places (4 dhams) for Hindus and Jagannath is the reigning deity of Puri. Lord Jagannath's rituals are more of the nature of the daily routine of human being. So fans, umbrellas etc are used to save the lord from scorching heat of Sun or the rough weather. And of course these can not be your regular fans or umbrellas. These are very colourful and are specially made using the applique craft of Pipili. In fact in Chandan yatra, which is one of the yearly events of the Jagannath temple the entire procession is taken out displaying and covering the deities with chattris of appliqué work. Appliqué in Orissa is an inseparable part of temple art and craft, which has been refined to perfection. Shamianas, canopies, umbrellas, lamp shaded, fans made in appliqué process are used extensively in festivities.

Applique lamp shades Appliqué craft is the process of cutting colored clothes into shapes of animals, birds, flowers, leaves and other decorative motifs and stitching them on a piece of cloth, that can ultimately be used as a lamp shade, a hand bag or even a garden umbrella. Decorative wall hangings and letter holders are also made using this craft. The color, cutting and stitching style along with the themes make this appliqué work very unique. The village of Pipili close to Bhubaneswar, is the site of beautiful appliqué work, created by artists, quite a few of whom have won national award for their craft. This craft form has now also mixed with modern day lives by including subjects like Mickey mouse and other Disneyland characters. However it has not been able to match up to the charm of traditional designs.

Applique hand bags
Besides being used in the religious function, with the touch of a little modernity, garments of varied designs are also made using this craft. Garments and accessories like purse, handbags etc. are in great demand among tourists. Curtains and bed sheets with appliqué touch are also being made depicting the different characters of religious myth for decoration of houses. But the best selling products are the lamp shades, garden umbrellas and wall hangings. In particular the lamp shades are a big hit as they create a lovely ambience, with or without a bulb in it. And it has a lot of designs and prices to choose from.

Don’t forget to check out our collection of unique appliqué lamp shades , wall hangings, bags and cushion covers.

One 54 Mtr. Long Appliqué work based on theme of "Struggle for Independence in India " recognized by LIMKA BOOK RECORDS 2004 as 'Longest Thematic Appliqué.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pattachitra demo clip

This is a snippet of one of our promotional video on youtube. During a casual visit to Raghurajpur we managed to capture it with our digital still camera. It was totally unplanned and hence the video looks a bit raw. But still it is a beautiful demonstration of drawing a figure in pattachitra style. You'll love the way the artist's brush flows on the paper to create the image. You can watch the complete video at .

Happy viewing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Store launch around the corner

craft Orissa store sneak peak
Here is a sneak peek of our site.

We are all set to launch our store on 15th August 2009. 15th August was chosen as the date because it is also the independence day of India.

As promised earlier there are offers that we are giving away on our launch. When you sign up with us you get a discount coupon, which you can use for all your subsequent purchases. To get the discount coupon you just need to register with us with no strings attached. This coupon can be used for every product on the site, even on those which already have a discount on them.

You also get 25% discount on shipping charges. And if you are shipping within India shipping is free. Free shipping within India is valid for standard shipping method only and it is not applicable to express shipping method.

Hope to see you on 15th.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

craftOrissa? What, who, how, when and all that..

A collage of Orissa handicrafts

For beginners Orissa is a state in the eastern costs of India that is also (seldom) referred to as 'Kalinga' and 'Utkal'. And the name craftOrissa by now would have made sense to everyone. Yes, it is a store for the arts and crafts of Orissa.

The craft traditions in Orissa are more than thousand years old. In the old times when Keshari and Ganga kings ruled, they patronized these crafts and arts and took them to new heights. They even created arts and crafts villages where every person in the village practiced crafts and arts and they thus they made sure that the legacy is passed down generations. Raghurajpur and Pipili near Puri are two such artist’s villages. In fact today Raghurajpur is a major tourist attraction of India. Handmade arts and crafts also form an integral part of everyday life in Orissa. Probably these are the main reasons why arts and crafts which are more than 1000 years old are surviving today too. Learn more about Orissa here.

Orissa is home to many handicrafts and folk art. The fine art of Pattachitra, murals, palm leave engraving, appliqué work of Pipili, stone and wood crafts, bamboo and cane crafts, golden grass crafts, Ikat traditions in weaving, silver filigree work of Cuttack are only some of the traditional arts and crafts that can be named. Know more about the arts and crafts of Orissa here.

Our efforts are aimed towards taking these beautiful and magnificent works of art to the world. Our products are completely hand crafted, natural and procured directly from the artisans. Hence you are assured to get authentic and unique collection of art works and handicrafts at unbelievable prices. To add to all these there is also an online art gallery from where you can purchase artwork and prints signed by the artists. At craftOrissa we ship to almost all destinations around the world.

The store is scheduled to be launched on 15th August 2009, which also marks the independence of India. There will be some freebees and offers for the first few customers who register at craftOrissa after its launch. Make sure that you do grab one of the offers when the store is opened.

Signing off now.. Thanks for listening.