Cluster Detail
Maharashtra     Gondia     Salekasa



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.


About Salekasa  Cluster:-


Salekasa Cluster falls under Maharashtra State in Gondia district.


The Salekasa cluster is able to form 220 plus Artisans & 20 SHGs supporting the strong work force. The mobilization gains momentum day by day. Salekasa Cluster is famous for Metal Ware and Wood Carving.





Metal Ware:-


Copper ware is a traditional craft of Maharashtra which is practised in Ambernath, Thana, Kalyan, and Nasik. The wide range of copper articles produced at the units here include perforated chandeliers and lamp stands, ashtrays, glass holders, paper cutters, pin cushions and trays. Articles such as decorative door handles, key chains, cuff links and moulded figures of Trimurti (the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma) are prized possessions amongst tourists and for export markets.

The art of silver inlay on a metal alloy, called bidri, came to Maharashtra from Andhra Pradesh along with artisans who migrated from Bidar to Aurangabad many years ago. The major products crafted are decorative wall plaques. However, in pilgrimage centres like Nasik, initially only ritual objects such as idols of gods and kumkum boxes were crafted in silver but with growing demand, other articles such as paandans, gulabdans, attardans, bowls and trays have been added to the list.


The metal craft of Maharastra has socio-cultural links and according to the traditions of the state, the bride is presented with a set of brass and bell metal articles for starting off her new home. However, in all major temples almost invariably the moving image or the `Chalanti Pratima` of the presiding deities is made of brass. Among the major icons, the large brass image of Radha in the`Sakhigopal temple` in Puri district , images in temples in Ganjam district, Krishna, Radha, Ganesha, Gurundi Gopal and Laxmi idols are created with the brass metal. The artisans generally create items based on the motifs of human heads, kings, `Manas` or miniature replica of measures; other items include containers with lids, with or without locking devices, candle stands, ashtrays, pen stands, bowls, plates, spoons, glass, tumbler, bells, thali (plates), handi, baltis (buckets), gina (tumblers), pots and pans, ladles or `Chatu`, perforated flat cooking spoons etc. Even items like the brass fish and snakes are made by the craftsmen of Belguntha in Ganjam district.



Raw Materials:-


In India, Brass and Copper are used for making various usable objects since ancient time. It has a rich tradition of making metal objects which are used for both religious and secular purposes. A wide variety of objects include standing lamps, aarathi (votive lamps), deepalakshmis, hand lamps and chain lamps. Shallow dishes circular, hexagonal, octagonal and oval shapes are widely used and are made out of bronze or sheet brass. The popular Thanjavur plates are characterized by designs of deities, birds, flowers, and geometric patterns beaten out from the back of copper and silver sheets and subsequently encrusted on a brass tray, kudam or panchpaathra. Metal toys are also popular and are sold at various gift outlets in various towns and cities of the state.





The craftsmen cast their own pieces, making moulding clay from sand, resin and oil in proportion (20:2:1) and add borax to the clay surface to prevent the metal sticking.The alloy, the darkened zinc used as base is described as nine to sixteen part of zinc to one of copper, is melted and poured into the moulds and solidified.


The surface of the rough cast of the articles is filed and smoothened with sand paper and then rubbed with a solution of copper sulphate to impart a dark surface to provide a suitable base for the next stage of tracing the design and engraving.


To engrave the design, wax from honeycomb and Raal a bonding agent is used. This solution is spread on a flat stone and the article to be engraved is fixed on it. The design is traced by hand, with the help of chisels and pure silver wire of 95% purity is inlaid in the grooves to form designs. There are five different types of tools used for engraving.


In the ultimate interesting stage, the articles are heated gently and treated with a solution of sal-ammoniac and earth taken from old fort buildings, which has the effect of making the entire surface turn jet black providing a distinct contrast to the shining silver inlay.


It is this contrast that lends Bidri a uniqueness that no other metal ware could possibly claim. Finally, oil is rubbed on the piece to deepen the black matt coating. The entire process is done by hand hence, is time consuming.





The techniques of metalworking follow the same principles, whether the scale of design is industrial or sculptural, or even at the tiny scale of a ring or a pair of earrings. Furthermore, many of the basic techniques also relate to work in other media.


Applique:- The technique of creating a design by soldering or granulating cut-out shapes of sheet metal to another metal surface.


Casting:- The process of shaping a molten metal by means of a mold.


Chasing:- A technique for surface embellishing of metal accomplished by driving pointed tools into the metal.


Enameling:- The fusing of a glassy substance onto metal. Enamels are combinations of flux and metal oxides (for color). Cloisonne is one of the better known enamel techniques.


Repousee:- A technique of pushing metal out from its reverse side using hammers and punches in order to create a low relief design on the front.





 Wood Carving:-


Sea Mova' tree grows along the seashore. The wood of the root of this tree also known as drift root is used for wood carving. The better pieces of the roots is carved and shaped into beautiful shapes and also figures. Sometimes the figures thus crafted are of the deities while at other times it may depict animals, birds or humans. The process involves cuttings, grazing and smoothening. Polishing involves finishing with sand paper and coating the items with wood varnish. Sculptures are also made by carving. The same wood is also used for making stands. The most interesting feature of these sculpture / figurines is that it is made of a single piece of wood without joints. Sometimes supports may be added to add stability and strength.


Even today the front door of each household, which is considered a sacred threshold, has intricate wood carvings of Hindu deities and auspicious motifs like the hamsa/ mythical swan, padma/ lotus, poornakumbha /cornucopia, kaamadhenu and patterned floral motifs.


Other carved wooden items include small shrines and deities, low carved stools for marriages, carved fans for the deity, fertility couples and various small ceremonial containers. The carved panels of deities fixed to either end of a metre-long pole were the other ceremonial items. These panels are called kavadi and afre carried on the shoulders of a person to fulfill the vow to Lord Murugan or Karthikeya. Household kitchen instruments in wood such as grinders, vegetable cutters and serving ladle holders are items given in dowry.


Lathe-turned and lacquered toys in bright colors and at affordable prices are popular all over the state. Carved wooden toys, dolls and elephants exhibiting the skills of the artisan are also made.



Wood Carving’s Raw Materials:-


Basic Material : Bhurkul or gular wood, mango wood, green bamboo, shisham wood
Colouring Material : Alta, turmeric.

Basic Material : Doodhia wood, lac, lac stick, oil, old cloth, coloured paper.

Basic Material : Remnants of cloth, bamboo, rags, paper
Colouring Material : Dye colours

Basic Material : Punki wood, tamarind seeds, lime glue, brush, water colour, oil colour, red sanders wood

Basic Material : Cloths, colours, waste material for stuffing, coloured papers, clay



Wood Carving’s Process:-


The wood as per the size of the form to be made is cut from the block. The piece is cleaned and smoothened. The design of the toy to be made is traced on this piece. Extra wood is chipped off according to the design. Fine strokes with the hammer are made on the chisel, which is placed on the area to be shaped. It is smoothened with a file and painted. The painting starts with coloring various body parts. Next the dresses with specific designs are marked out by fine strokes of the brush. The facial features are added in the end.Sugga (parrot) are the wooden toys fixed on the marriage mandap. The mosara, (central part), charkhi and sugga (parrots) are made by the same process These are joined by bamboo killi (screw). The marriage post is coloured with yellow (turmeric), red (alta) and green colours.


The lacquering is done by pressing the lac stick against the revolving article. Oil is also applied at the same time for giving the better polish. Leaves of a kind of flowering cactus are used for polishing. The articles are either in single colour or in bands of different colours. The complicated designs and colour schemes are effected by manipulating the lac turnery and using the multifarious techniques.In Jaipur, the toys are made out of old cloth dyed afresh and stuffed with waste material. When they are gaily decorated with coloured paper and tinsel they look very alive especially with their expressive faces.


Rag dolls are made out of remnants of cloth usually thrown away. These are painstakingly collected and dyed into different shades to work out a variety of colour schemes. The eyes and mouth are indicated by black line . In case of a Rani doll, the clothes & body are fully decorated.



Wood Carving’s Techniques:-


Each wooden piece that is cut to make an item is subjected to a process of slow heating to draw out all moisture. Every single limb is separately carved and joined to the body with adhesive paste of tamarind seeds, and later passed through a coating of lime glue. The painting with colours is done by very fine precision with brushes made of goats hair. Water and oil colours are both used. Lacquering is done on a lathe, hand or is machine operated. For turning slender and delicate items, hand lathe is considered suitable. In the lac turney method, lac is applied in a dry state that is the lac stick is pressed against the woodenware to be lacquered. While the latter keeps revolving, the heat generated by friction softens the lac, making the colour stick. Lacquer ware toys are produced in this way. It is with remarkable skill that the craftsmen manipulate the stick where several colours are used. Some of the lacquered pieces are painted with a brush.






How to Reach:-


Gondia is about 170 Kms by road from Nagpur of Vidarbha region. The district has road links to adjoining districts Chandrapur, Bhandara, Nagpur. It takes around 5 hour’s journey from Nagpur by State Transport Bus to reach Gondia. The length of the railway track from Gondia to Nagpur is 130 kms.

About Implementing Agency

Maharashtra     Gondia     Adiwasi Swayam Kala Sanstha