A cluster is defined as a geographic concentration (a city/town/few adjacent village and their adjoining areas) of units producing near similar products and facing common opportunities and threats. An artisan cluster is defined as geographically concentrated (mostly in villages/townships) household units producing handicraft/handloom products. In a typical cluster, such producers often belong to a traditional community, producing the long-established products for generations. Indeed, many artisan clusters are centuries old Artisan.
Chhannapatna Cluster falls under Karnataka State in Ramnagar district.
The Chhannapatna cluster is able to form 1364 plus Artisans & 67 SHGs supporting the strong work force. The mobilization gains momentum day by day.
Plants and trees are the primary friends of we human beings. We have been loking at the trees for each and every need of ours. This very concept helped in the inception of wood craft. Wood has been crafted to form various utilitarian and decorative handicrafts items. In those times, goods of regular uses – arms, utensils, axes, etc and also toys and dolls for children were crafted with wood. Excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harappa have yielded evidence of primitive Indian woodcrafts. From simple forms, basic shapes and crude utilitarian wares, Indian woodcrafts developed and spread its wings to become one of the most beautiful and arty handicrafts of the subcontinent.
The artistic value of inlay articles is rated very high. They owe their ostensibly stiff price more to the maker’s skill and artistry than to the cost of production. The raw materials that go into the making of these fine pieces consist primarily of rosewood, woods of different colours, in place ivory, plastic, carpenter’s glue (Vajra), polish, beeswax, ivory black, turpentine, sandpaper and also hardware such as screws, pins, nails, hinges and rings.
The tools employed by carpenters such as Chisel, Saw, Plane, hammer, Sawing Board, Brace And bits, File, Spoke Shave, Pincers, bradawl, Screw Driver, Sandpaper block, Wing compass, Twist Drill, Whetstone are equally essential for these craftsmen also. These tools being common to both carpenters and inlay workers, it is not proposed to deal with at length. A description is therefore given of the following tools which are needed exclusively in the making of inlay articles.
The production technique of inlaying woods of different colours on rosewood can be set down as coming under the following eight stages:-
The first stage of work viz., making of planks is attended to by carpenters.
Cutting of templates, and engraving and punching which are the second and seventh stages of work respectively, cannot be executed any person engaged in the craft and skilled artists do both the jobs. Figure cutters are also skilled workers of the craft and they attend to the third stage of work viz., cutting of ivory and woods of different colours for inlay. The fourth stage of work is inlaying which is executed by the inlay workers. The fifth, sixth and eighth stages of work viz., application of lappa, smoothing the inlay surface and finishing respectively are carried out by the artisans for finishing work.
1.Making Of Planks:-
Cut pieces of rosewood logs are sawn into planks of ¾” thickness. The sawing is done by the handsaw and also by the band saw. The size of the log decides the length and width of the plank. The uneven sides of the plank are straightened with the help of circular saw. The plank is then cut to the desired shape with a handsaw, the shape most commonly in vogue being either a rectangle or a square. When the plank has to be shaped oval the superfluous wood of the plank is chiseled off using a firmer chisel and mallet. For shaping it round also the process is identical. Nowadays the daises are turned on lathe. The surface of the plank on either is smoothened by planning.
The billets of woods of different colours are also similarly sawn into thin sheets of thickness 1/8”. Taking out of such thin lamina naturally implies deft manipulation of the tools if the sawing is to be done with the help of a handsaw. In order to lessen damages, usually attendant upon handsawing, advantage is freely taken of the power operated tools which have come to the installed in some of the establishments. The making of planks of required shape and smoothing their surface marks the first stage and the material is thus rendered ready to start the work. The work up to this stage is done by the carpenters.
.Cutting Of Templates:-
The designs for inlay are given by the designers who are not in regular employ of these establishments, but are free lancers. The designs are the creations of the designers. Each design is sketched on a drawing paper and colored by water colour.
The artist who cuts the template makes a study of the design. A tracing of the design is taken in pencil on a transparent paper placed over the original design. The paper on which tracing is taken, it pasted to a thin cardboard and by using a sharp edged chisel the templates are cut out. The number of pieces of the templates depends on the number of colour contours that go too marked up the design. A sketch may have to be cut into between 30 & 100 separate pieces.
3.Cutting Of Wood of Different Colours for Inlay:-
A selection is first made of cut sheets of woods of different colours as found in the design, and of ivory required forming face legs and hands of figures, the template cuts are placed on the respective sheet of required colour and its outline are traced on the wood or ivory with pencil.
The sheet of wood is fixed tightly in a vice and the design is cut by means of a coping saw. The blade in the frame of the coping saw is inserted in such a manner that its teeth will be at right angels to the sheet that it cuts. While sawing curves the blade is daftly manipulated. The artisan sits on a stool and the vice in which the saw board is used instead of a vice, the artisan holds the sheet in one hand and plays the saw with the other. After the pieces are cut the rough edges are smoothened using a smooth file.
The several components cut out from the wood and ivory sheets are assembled to form the required pattern and stuck together by the application of glue at the periphery of each piece. The contours of the pieces favor adhesion. The assemblage of the components of the design is places on the plank in which it has to be inlaid. Full and clear impression of the design is caused to be made on the plank by tapping the marking tool with a mallet. The design is then removed and the mark scribed on the plank is depended by malleting kachu Chirna o n the marking.
The marked portion is then scooped by using the Matta Chirna and mallet.
The matta Chirna also manipulated in the same manner as the firmer chills. The wood is chased to a depth of 1/8” and this depth would be sufficient to accommodate the inlay design as the wood and ivory sheets employed for making the inlay design are treated to a thickness of 1/8”. Much care is necessary to work exactly to be scribed lies as the inlay design has to set in the ground firmly. With the aid of Vatga Chirna and mallet the artisans trims the rough surface of the ground before embedding the inlay design inyo the ground.
Carpenter’s glue is smeared to the chased area of the plank and the inlay design is driven into the ground by the artisan by carefully hammering it. Simple inlay designs are driven into the ground in a few settings and the intricate inlay designs are driven in many settings.
All the pieces of the inlay design being set in the ground, the engravers mark the background contours of the design as found in the original design prepared by the designer, and return the piece to the inlay artisan. The artisan makes narrow cavities by chasing the wood with Dassi Chirna to accommodate Dassi (thin splinters of wood specially sawn) or narrow inlay. The plastic smithereens, to depict the flowers and leaves of trees or nay such designs, are driven into the recesses left after setting the inlay design to the ground.
5.Application of Lappa:-
Lappa, the paste got by scrapping rosewood scaling smeared with carpenter’s glue is overlaid on the inlaid surface, by hand, to fill the recess left unfilled. The lappa is allowed to settle into the cavities for some hours and all superfluous matter is scraped off.
6.Smoothing the Inlay Surface:-
The inlaid piece will have a rough surface which has to be given a smooth finish. The rough surface is well rasped by the artisan to produce an even surface. The surface is further smoothened by scrapping. The sharpened scrapper cuts a fine shaving and produces a smooth finish. This process is followed by rubbing well with fine grade sandpaper.
7.Engraving And Punching:-
Before finishing the inlay piece, eyes, nose, mouth, and ear are to be marked on the figures of the design. This work is done by the engraver who is a skilled artisan. Engraving and shading tools are manipulated in the same manner as a pencil. The engraver finishes the design by effecting shades for a good get up. By malting the punch bearing designs such as leaf, flower, rounds, squares, dots, etc, designs for the border and the body of the wears of the figures are made. On the groves of the engraved, shaded and punched marks, ivory black is applied in small quantities when the engraver wants to have an idea of the markings made by him. The ivory black gets into the grooves and makes the marking more pronounced.
The final stage of inlay work is the process of finishing. After completing the work of engraving, black polish, a mixture prepared by mixing the ingredients beeswax and ivory black in the proportion 4:1 by weight and adding to it a little turpentine, is applied and allowed to dry. When this polish dries up it is scrapped off by using a scraper. For a fine finish, the pieces are rubbed with 0 grade sandpaper. The final medium with which the inlaid piece is treated for a protective coat is lac polish. Several coats of the polish are applied with linen and each coat is well rubbed with rag.
How to Reach:-
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Bangalore has a large bus terminus and is well connected to other cities in the state by a network of highways.
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