Learn about Mysuru’s rich crafts heritage

Dekho Apna Desh (DAD) is a sequence of webinars organised by the Ministry of Tourism. Started throughout the lockdown in April, Dekho Apna Desh brings locations of vacationer curiosity inside our houses. “The newest version of Dekho Apna Desh is ‘Mysuru: Craft Caravan of Karnataka’ by NIFT, Bengaluru,” says Susan Thomas, Director NIFT.

“At NIFT we have a strong handicraft and handloom focus in our design curriculum. Our students stay and interact with the artisans. It is a give-and-take, where students learn age-old techniques and in turn help artisans contemporise their products.”

The audio system on the webinar embody Susan, Yathindra Lakkanna and Shipra Roy — each NIFT Faculty. Susan says, the craft path has not obtained consideration it deserves regardless of the richness of this nation’s looms and craft. “Such exercises are an attempt to build an alternate narrative around craft tourism and help indigenous craft find a spot on the tourist map.”

Susan says Mysuru was picked for the variety of vacationers it attracts. “Everyone knows about the grand Mysuru Dasara and the palace. A tourist who travels by road from Bengaluru to Mysore misses Channapatana town. We want to tell tourists to stop and spend a day with the artisan, learn more about the craft and take back memorabilia. Its proximity to Bengaluru was another reason to choose Mysuru.”

Talking of the opposite crafts Mysuru is justly well-known for, Susan says, “How many people know about Mysuru’s rosewood inlay using different coloured wood?” Rosewood inlay is a GI-tagged craft that uses rose wood as the base and inserts different-coloured wood, ivory or mother of pearl to produce a picture. “While you have seen inlay work in Taj Mahal and other places, rosewood inlay is unique to Mysuru.”

Learn about Mysuru’s rich crafts heritage

The webinar may even stream movies of the creation of craft items. “We have extensively documented the crafts since many batches of NIFT college students have hung out each in Mysuru and Channapatna. There are brief movies, photos and merchandise that we are going to utilise to whet the urge for food of the viewer.”

The design points of Channapatna toys and the declining scene because of the diminishing of deft arms to do the well-known lacquer may even be mentioned. “We would drive home the point that these crafts need tourist patronage. We have designed fridge magnets in rosewood inlay. Rather than buy a plastic variant, we would prefer the tourist to take back one of these, or a rose wood inlaid mirror or Channapatna chess board. They say hand-made is the new luxury. The craft clusters of Mysuru offers a glimpse into age-old traditions and techniques. Join us for a virtual glimpse of Mysuru’s delicate world of crafts.”

Dekho Apna Desh is a free webinar and might be streamed utilizing Zoom on May 14 at 11 am. Register on https://bit.ly/MysuruDAD

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