The Telegraph
Friday , August 17 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clothes bonus at crafts fair

Those looking to start their Puja shopping this month can head to a fair that’s on at Aikatan. Though called West Bengal Handicrafts Fair, there are ample saris, kurtis and other items on sale too.

Silk and cotton saris are aplenty. “I have created crack-less batik designs on tussar silk saris,” says an artisan, Kakali Das Kapas. “The look is smoother than the typical batik style and I think customers will like them.” Partha Pratim Das has brought colourful kurti pieces, the motifs of which he has created with molten lac.

Though most of the clothing items are for women, men can shop at a few stalls too. From Garia has come Anirban Sengupta selling batik and katha-stitched kurtas and shirts for men. “Shoppers of Salt Lake are particular about quality and believe in exclusivity. My products are selling well as they are hand-painted and since each design is unique,” says Sengupta. He also has greeting cards, with fabric painting as the cover.

The fair has lots of jute items —jute sandals, bags, dolls, jewellery and even clocks. There are stuffed toys, key chains, artificial flowers and masks. Craftsman Soumitra Hait has used Andaman sea shells to make sindur holders and coasters and Tarun Sinha has used buffalo horns to make household items. “We buy the horns for Rs 500 a piece and use them to make different objects depending on their shape,” he says. The greyish-black horns have been used to make combs and spoons and it’s hollow has been used as cutlery holders.

Bijayalakshmi Koley of Jorasanko makes oil paintings, ceramic paintings and fabric paintings but her money’s on the metal-embossed wall hangings of pharaohs and sphinx. “Egyptian themes are a must-have these days,” she says, displaying an 8 inch by 18 inch image of an Egyptian queen, priced at Rs 800.

From Krishnanagar has come Pradip Pal with mural-like wall hangings made of fibre. “Fibre items are light and so convenient for customers to carry home,” says Pal, sitting beside a massive metallic-finish Ganesh mural that is depicted as holding a laddu. And then there are tile-murals that Partha Pratim Karmakar of Barasat has created by gluing together tiles of different colours. He has created collages of sceneries, landscapes and even Tagore. A 4ft by 3ft image by him costs around Rs 20,000. “I have noticed that my expensive murals sell more in Salt Lake,” he says from past experience.

FE Block’s Brij Lata Gupta, a visitor to the fair, picked up a hair stick and poly-ceramics buttons for her husband. “I really like the knick knack that I bought and am looking around for more,” she smiled.

The fair, organised by the department of micro and small scale enterprises and textile, government of West Bengal, is on till August 26. Timings are 2pm to 8.30pm and entry is free.