Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Stone Craft

Bengal is always known for it's holy spring, it's natural beauty, it's rich flora and it’s heritage presented in different riddles. But few people of Bengal claim that the oldest rock inscription are located here. The fourth century stone inscription of King Chandravarman —- he was the king of one the kingdoms of Jodhpur, Rajasthan who conquered Bengal and built a castle at Aranyak. He died at the end of the fourth century in a war against Samudra Gupta. 

Bankura district in West Bengal is a renowned archaeological site with evidences of multiple stone articles which were made and used for thousands of years. 

The archaeological weapons like axe, cutter, hammer etc. prove their acute sense perfection of finishing, which is still present in the modern craft making like utensils, ash-tray, agarbati stand, sculptures of gods and goddesses, owl, horse and numerous patterns with this white sand stone. It is a very tedious task to hammer the stone in order to give them intricate and exact shape, this may takes hours.

Stone carvers of Bangal use range of soapstone (natural, grey, white), alabaster, white marble, sandstone, granite for their work. Design is made based on the experience and understanding of artisans depending on the desired final product. Most of this is carried out by using traditional techniques such as handmade drawing, concept, imitating the drawing structure from the actual ones on paper, sheet etc.

 The design is executed on the raw material selected based on the requirement, the stone is broken off into large portions of the rock to form the basic outline of the piece. The surface is drilled to various depths and unwanted material is removed. The fine chisel is then used to scrape off the unwanted material to give the stone a rough shape of the desired figure.

Finer detailing takes up majority of the time. After carving, sanding is done on the structure to smooth the edges and to remove all the file marks. This can be carried out manually using a sand paper or same can be imposed on a smoothening plate.

 In spite of having a rich tradition of stone carving in Bengal, the craft is probably approaching a gradual extinction. So, Miharu thought of uplifting this craft by redesigning the stone pendants and reviving the elegance of the stones giving it a different look. Each piece of the pendant is sewed with the loops of natural colour thread braided and twisted.

Write Up Contributed by Gaatha
Work by Stone crafts artisans of Bankura Dist.ST

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Baluchari From Sarees To Stoles and Shawls.

Intricate Baluchari saris are works of art woven in silk. The borders and pallu are embellished with exquisite motifs inspired by the epics, mythology and traditional texts, as also scenes from courtly life. Each panel of these delicately woven sarees tells a timeless story. A single sari can depict an entire episode from the Mahabharata or Ramayana, woven into its border and pallu. The magical weaves with their centuries-old tradition continue to enchant through generations. They take pride of place in the heirloom collection of Bengali women.

With more use of stoles/shawls in the modern world, the making of Stoles along with sarees can be a precious possession for many more women. A saree has a width of 45” and the two lengthwise borders, which when removed,  gives a loom with 36” fabric, which can be converted into stoles.

The various motifs are first drawn on graph paper, then converted into punch cards that are sewn together and attached to the loom for weaving. Every design on a saree or stole has different sets of punched cards. 

The designs can be repeated many times as the same set of punched cards are used over and over again in a saree. The price of a saree is also subjected to the intricacy of weave. Which implies a dupatta, with the mythological weave throughout, is royal and very expensive..

Warp is generally the Bangalore silk and the weft is silk yarn procured from Malda. Setting of Dark coloured yarns like Black and navy blue as weft, gives the traditional and bright Indian colours to the Baluchari sarees.

The staple yarn from local market of Bankura gave us the cotton silk fabric with Baluchari weave. Yet the warp and weft yarns, where weaving of designs was taking place, is the same as original Baluchari fabric to retain the royal and intricate work  in original size.

Saturday, 9 January 2016


Hey People!  I am loving to write a blog on Miharu’s latest creation: Baluchari Ties.

From the rural areas of Bishnupur, in West Bengal, Miharu gets hand-loomed pure silk-weaved clothes. The process of weaving Baluchari silk requires effort and time, and the weaves are only used in Indian Saris, which are worn by a small minority.

As International Market gives heed to not only eye appealing and beautiful but also to usable products, the artisans can’t market their goods to proper cliental and face heavy loses. They are deserting the craft, and striving for finding a living.

This problem has only two solutions:

1.       Letting the craft decline and turning artisans to different modes of livelihood.
2.       Educating artisans and helping them design sellable affordable and usable goods.

Miharu believes in the 2nd solution.
For the past three years, Miharu is helping artisans by designing, and marketing various Baluchari products and not just Saris. Miharu has set up its own looms in Bishnupur, and is trying to provide the local artisans with a livelihood.
Pure silk cloth with the mythological weave has been converted to  Lampshades, Clutches and Bags, Stoles and dupattas which appealed to a lot of ladies…


.... But what about men?

Reviving of any craft firstly requires breaking the stereotype that its gender specific. Therefore to create Baluchari Corporate Goods for men, Miharu tried to make Neck-Ties.

Cotton silk with geometric baluchari weave by Bishnupur Artisans at our looms, were converted into ties, by  master tailor two days back. Team Miharu sat and drafted the whole tie, and monitored the tailoring.  

Finished results were amazing!

I hope this effort help us spread stories about the craft, and not let it die!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Stuff India-Inspirit can’t miss!!!

I have to admit that I have a cushion addiction.  A quick change of cushions is the easiest way to completely change the vibe of a room without any expensive renovations. I am so happy to have stumbled across these  cushions  from Miharu.  Baluchari weave patterns and colors are so festive and yummy.  I wonder how beautifully they will  pop against neutral walls. These are the most beautiful cushions I have ever seen in Sari pattern.

Source :
Happy to trace this and big thanks to the blogger.

Intricate Work in Dokra Craft

Dokra Craft 
This ancient India art form (Dokra ) is an ideal specimen of craftsmanship of skilled artisans of Bankura District of West Bengal. This intricate, flawless and symmetric net-work, locally known as jaali work, has the same uniformity and quality as expected from machine made products.

(Handmade dokra Coaster 3.5”x 3.5” :below)

This particular set of products are result of various 1 mm wax threads placed carefully together by hand on paper sheets.
After the complete frame of the dried wax product is set, it is covered with mud carefully. It is put in the furnace, and the wax is allowed to evaporate for some hours.    

                                          (Wax model of candle stand: above)

Then the wax is replaced with melted brass and it is allowed to cool. Now the mud is painstakingly and carefully removed ,the product is ready to be polished.


(wax model of dokra plates to be used as trivets and stands : Above)

(Amazing wax work for brass plate/bowl  in process: below)
Because of the cumbersome processes, products often melt while in the furnace and are deformed due to various reasons. No chemicals are used, all these products are eco-friendly, and scrap brass can be recycled many times without wastage.              
(Jali paisley made in brass, the wax replaced by brass as if made from a uniform wire ;below)

These products are result of hard toil and artistic eyes of the artisan as well gradual knowledge passed down through generations. Huge dokra statues are made at various places in India but the intricate jali work which looks like machine made is the speciality of Bankura District. The uniformity of the hand made dokra craft  is worth applauding. Bankura District and South Bengal is full of skilled craftsmanship, all they need is a base to fly, which I believe through utility products like ours, proper  support can reach out all over the world, let alone the nation.

Written and images: Parul Bajoria

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Visit to Dhokra Cluster in Jharkhand

Here's a wax female figure and one also coated with mud. The process was very similar to the ones in Bankura Dist.

Rectangular tiles made in brass are used for wall frames.In the below image we can see wax detailing of a eye shaped tile which is used with warli art to make wall frames.

The outer frames of the tile are made initially , to be added with the human and animal figures performing village activities.                          

The wax figures are coated with different layers of mud and left to dry and put in furnace once done.

Melting of brass n replacing the wax take a few hour and has to be monitored carefully so that the maximum number of products are not broken.The ones that are not replaced completely or properly by wax have to be redone.

Green flames indicate completion of process......
The final part involves removing of clay , polishing and buffing before they reach the market.

Finished products that tells age old story of "DANCING GIRL of MOHENJADARO"