Youngsters breathe life into dying art - Pipli hope for aspiring artisans

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  • Published 4.06.11

Bhubaneswar, June 3: The gorgeous appliqué and patchwork wall hangings of Pipli have attracted tourists for years. The traditional crafts are now attracting many youngsters who are willing to learn the skill of creating a wide range of appliqué products to build a career in this field. In fact, a number of handicraft stores and institutes are providing training and employing young artisans in the city.

Learning to sew patches of colourful cloth carefully on a strong canvas and then decorating the intricate patchwork with sequins, golden or silver laces is exciting and offers a good return in future, believe the young artisans.

“It is a creative field and sewing the cut outs of animal shapes and traditional motifs needs expertise. But with the appliqué being an iconic handicraft of the state, it attracts many tourists as buyers and hence offers a good career prospect,” says Arabinda Mohapatra, a young craftsman.

For Mamata, a homemaker in her late 20s, acquiring the skill of creating these crafts was helpful to contribute some additional income to her family. “I wanted to become self-reliant so I decided to learn the traditional appliqué crafts since it is an interesting and creative occupation,” she says.

Apart from the conventional wall-hangings, umbrellas, bags and purses, the new generation artisans work on creating bed covers, cushion covers, lamp shades, magazine and letter holders, hand fans and others.

The State Institute for Development of Arts and Crafts (SIDAC) and a number of handicraft stores offer the training in the appliqué crafts in Bhubaneswar.

“A trainee takes at least three to four months to pick up the hand stitching technique. At present, we have over 150 trainees, of which most are youngsters,” says Suresh Jena of Sakuntala handicrafts in the city.

“The traditional appliqué works have evolved into modern appliqué or patchwork through design interventions. While the waning interest among local residents for appliqué work has revived, the products find a great market in European and Pan American countries,” says Deepak Kumar Sahoo, a project co-ordinator at SIDAC.

While SIDAC offers courses on appliqué and modern appliqué as well as modern styles of patchwork, the handicraft institutes and stores train interested candidates on an internship basis.