Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wood carving artisans switching over to other jobs

Faced with severe shortage of raw materials traditional artisans are slowly switching over to other jobs. Especially artisans involved in wood carving are facing such adversity, as they depend on Rose, Teak and Honne trees for carving. In the past wood scrap or waste wood was sold at wood depots which has been discontinued now further adding to their woes.

Mysore Handicrafts Marketing and Service Extension Centre Assistant Director P Shashidhar who admitted that artistes are switching over to other job, said that scarcity of wood has resulted in prices of raw wood going up, in turn pushing artisans to shell out more money while purchasing raw materials and thereby forcing them to sell the finished work at a higher price. With businesses are reeling under recession, the price sensitive consumer thinks twice before investing on an expensive product.

Presently there are around 3,000 registered artisans in Mysore involved in wood carving, stone carving, embroidery, bamboo work, woolen and Basket weavers, toy makers, and traditional art paintings apart from several others. But, according to sources only small figure are in the same profession.

Thousands of families who are depend on wood carving are severely affected with the non availability of wood. Fathima Banu, who is helping her husband Aslam Mohammed in wood carving for last two decades says: “The prices of raw materials has been increasing steadily for the past several years and we are finding it extremely difficult to purchase raw materials.”

Cost of transportation and labour charges have also gone up resulting in the prices of handicrafts going up, while customers think twice before purchasing', says another Artisan Mabasha, hearing his plea.

Artisan Kaleem of Mandi Mohalla says: “I want this wood carving to end with me, which has been running in our family for the past four generations. We are facing lot of hardship due to non-availability of raw materials, and lack of marketing and labour problem.

According to sources in Forest Department after the introduction of the new forest policy aimed at protecting and conserving forests, cutting of trees has been banned. Some of them even suggested that the artisans should come together and grow the much needed trees on interested farmer's land and later purchase from them directly on the lines of how paper mill owners are practicing.

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