If you’re thinking of starting your Puja shopping head to Aikatan at EZCC. There’s a West Bengal Handicrafts Fair on there till July 11, organised by the state department of industry, commerce and enterprises. The fair has got saris, kurtis, jewellery and lots of home decor items, and all at pre-GST prices.
“Handicraft items are exempt from GST so there has been no price hike after July 1,” said Ashim Das, a leather artisan at the fair. Many others said they had never heard of GST even on Monday. The fair is on from 2pm to 8.30pm and here are some items that caught our eye.
Leather shoes for toddlers
“Leather is the best footwear for those learning to walk. The shoes are flat, the material is chemical-free and designs include lace-ups, strap-ons, sandals and ballerinas,” says Ashim Das, an artisan from Ajaynagar. The shoes are for 5 to 24-month-olds. “Nothing looks as smart as leather and the material expands with use so the child won’t outgrow them easily.”
These vases, pen stands and kulos are made of sawdust pasted on paper. “And then we’ve used jute ropes and fabric paint on them for embellishment. We’ve maintained earth tone colour schemes for them,” said artisan Partha Ghosh from Burdwan. “The products are doing well. I’m selling nearly 10 a day.”
Price: Rs 200-2,500 for vases measuring 6 to 24 inches.
Patachitra on utility items
The first counter at the fair has kettles, containers and hand fans with attractive patachitra paintings on them. “People are preferring to buy utility items with this art than simply wall-hangings,” said Ruma Chitrakar of West Midnapore. They also have bottles, incense stick holders and ladles.
Price: Rs 50 for the fans, Rs 150 for the bottles
Pine wood key holders
The base of these key holders is pine wood and the bright motifs on them are made of sawdust, fabric painted and laminated atop. “The wood is precious and I don’t want to waste even the small leftover pieces so with them I’ve made two-inch kharams,” says artisan Tarak Nath Sarkar of Khardah. “People are buying them in memory of their spiritual gurus.”
Price: Rs 120 for the key holders
Marble dust wall hangings
The motifs of these colourful wall hangings have been made of paper and marble dust and the base is jute. “The Ganesha and modern art motifs are selling the best,” said Tarak Majumdar of Hooghly.
Price: Rs 200 for 11.5x9inch wall hangings
Shyamali Mondal of South 24- Parganas has worked hard to come up with a new model of jute dolls this year. “People are tired of the typical dolls holding a pot or greeting with clasped hands. Customers are liking this new 10 inch doll in a ghaghra. In fact, more than kids, adults are buying them,” she said. The dolls can stand and be hung up too.
Price: Rs 170
These artificial trees are made of ferns, star flowers etc. “The leaves and flowers are dried, treated and coloured. They are then stuck together and pruned for a bonsai-like appearance,” said Sraboni Chatterjee of Dhakuria. “We’ve sold about 10 of these already,” she said on Monday.
Price: Rs 100 for the 15 inch trees, Rs 5,000 for 5-ft ones.
These wooden wall clocks have antlers like deer (in picture), legs like spiders or fins like fish. “The parts of these clocks are all detachable,” said Suman Saha of Andul. “The spider is the newbie this year but the deer is the best-seller.”
Price: Rs 1,500 for the deer clock
“The hot new jewellery design this season is long layered necklaces,” says Pallabi Datta Karar of Entally. She shows one with a layer each in kalamkari, gamcha and script designs. “Each layer must be of a different colour and motif and the height is adjustable too.” The maximum she has made is a 12-layered neckpiece.
Price: Rs 300
This stall has statues, murals and portraits, some with a glazed finish and some matte finish but all in terracotta. “The Ganeshas are doing well and with Janmashtami around the corner, I expect the Gopal idols to sell too,” said Sanjit Paul of Krishnanagar.
Price: Rs 20 for the tiniest Ganeshas, Rs 12,000 for the costliest mural-like portraits.
Pictures by Shubham Paul