The beautiful town of
Channapatna is located in Karnataka, around 60km from its capital Bengaluru. On the way from
Bengaluru to Channapatna, from the highway, you could also see rocky hills
where scenes of the movie 'sholey' were
shot. The craft of turned
wood lac-ware toys is around 200 years old and was introduced in this region
during the reign of Tipu Sultan.
Wood - Traditionally, the most commonly used wood in this process is locally available 'Aale Mara' (Wrightia tinctoria or Ivory Wood). Lac - Lac is a natural and non-toxic resin, derived from the secretion from a tiny insect called 'Laccifer Lacca'. It is approved as a food-grade finish
Machines and Tools
I. Lath Machine.
II. Files and chisels to create
different curves, shapes and sizes during turning process.
III. Angle and size measurement tools -
Scale, compass, vernier calipers, etc.
After wood is
purchased, its cured in natural environment for around a month. The bigger
chunks of wood used for containers are hollowed out from inside to speed up the
2. Creating a Rainbow
Natural dyes consisting of kumkum, turmeric and indigo are mixed in specific
proportions to get tints of VIBGYOR. The number of colour that can be created
are limited to the properties of these three natural dyes. For brown colour,
Katha (Catechu) is used.
3. Going round and round
A log of wood is turned on lath machine and
carved into desired shape and size with the use of tools. This traditional
technique of creating circular forms out of a wooden log requires control over tools and hands along with visual perception and intuition.
4. And a little bit of friction
A stick of coloured lacquer is rubbed against the revolving wooden form.
Lacquer transfers to the wood due to friction and heat produced by it. The
coating is then finished with dried palm leaves. Oil secreting from the palm
leaf mixes with the lacquer, giving it a smooth, shiny finish.
The most important tools are an artisan`s hands
and eyes. Even watching an artisan at work is like meditation. It provides
immense peace and satisfaction, an experience that is difficult to describe.