The Telegraph
Monday , March 25 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Green craft as fruit of innovation

- Forest products up for grabs for four days at Banaj Shilpa Mela

Want to know how silk yarn is spun out of cocoon or how a pyatkar painting comes alive with the help of natural colours? Just step into Kalamandir in Bistupur.

National Afforestation and Eco-development Board (NAEB), in association with the forest department, is organising Banaj Shilpa Mela at the venue from March 23 to March 26.

The fair, where forest products of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are on sale, aims to enhance rural income and in turn, usher in development in the hinterland.

It especially has a lot in store for the city populace, who otherwise have limited exposure to items made from natural products.

To add to the saleability quotient, almost all items have an innovative twist to them.

For example, the gulal made of extracts of palash and talcum powder may not be available in the market, but is an ideal choice for Holi. Also there are cane products of utility like centre tables, sofas, swings and other decorative items.

A solar-powered machine that spins silk threads directly from cocoon is another draw.

“You have to do it very carefully, otherwise it will not be uniform and the quality will deteriorate. It is a work of immense concentration. You have to constantly keep the dead cocoons wet so that the thread comes off easily. The threads are used to make the finest qualities of organic silk products in Jharkhand,” explained Sukhram Mahto from Ichagarh while spinning the yarn.

Pyatkar artist Anil Chitrakar using natural colours to come up with beautiful tribal paintings on the canvas is another visual treat.

“We always prefer to paint at fairs like this one as people can see how we do it. At times, the visitors take interest in buying some of the paintings,” said Anil Chitrakar, a veteran pyatkar artist.

While the pyatkar paintings are minimally priced at Rs 200, the 100gm gulal packets come for Rs 25.

The Chhau masks from Ichagarh cost Rs 150 to Rs 500.