December 31, 2020

New hope, new goals, and new beginnings!

The year 2020 has been difficult on almost all of us as we battled a global pandemic, climatic disasters, fall of economy, and more.
Many were left out of work and struggled for daily bread and butter while artisans faced a major set back as no idols were ordered or purchased during major festivals nor was artwork well commissioned.

It is, however, a matter of pride and celebration that in these unprecedented times, we did stand together as a community and helped our fellow humans and animals to the best of our capacity. It was heartwarming to watch people of a nation stand by each other and make it through tough times.

And, as we come to the end of this year, we are looking forward to entering 2021 with good cheer, hoping this year would be of good fortune and fruitful to all of us in more ways than one.

Let us welcome the new year with divine intervention by invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha asking him to remove any obstacles on our way and always protect us.

Lord Ganesha is worshipped as Vignaharta, meaning Remover of Obstacles. Legend has it that once Lord Shiva and Devi Paravati put Lord Ganesha and his brother Lord Kartikeya to a test where the one who would circle all three worlds and return first would be declared the head of Ganas.
While Lord Kartikeya immediately set off on his peacock, Lord Ganesha dutifully folded his hands and circled his parents three times saying that for him, his parents were the world.
Moved by his devotion and pleased with his wisdom, Lord Shiva declared him the head of Ganas and blessed him saying that any auspicious event shall being by a performing a prayer to him for he shall ensure that the devotee does not face any hurdle on his way.

This is also the reason why many Hindu household place idols of Lord Ganesha in their homes- to ward off evil.

This New Year order a beautiful idol of the Lord with us and have it carved to your specified needs and requirements.
We wish to see you by our side and seek your support in our coming endeavors.
November 29, 2020

Art and Architecture of India through time

India is one of the longest standing civilizations in the world. Ages of history, rise and fall of empires and wide cultural and regional diversity has given Indian some spectacular art forms making Indian art, craft and architecture one with a very rich heritage. Each time period and era introduced India to new styles of art and architecture all of which culminated to what we call today the “traditional Indian art”.

Let us study Indian art and architecture in a chronological order starting from caves to modern day contemporary art forms.

Pre-historic art

This period marks the beginning of mankind on earth and not much is known about this period owing to the lack of languages, scripts etc., at that time. Art was used as a form of communication to indicate directions, threats, pass on information and kind. 
This is the time of cave paintings where gestural drawings were made on the walls of caves using readily available pigments such as stones, minerals, flowers etc. 
In India, Bhimbetka caves exhibit such art from palaeolithic and mesolithic period. It is located in Madhya Pradesh and research suggests that they were used as shelters 100,000 years ago. 

Early Civilization

This is the period of Indus Valley Civilization. Around 2nd century B.C (called the Bronze age), artists developed a keen sense of observation and art was more a form of expression than means of communication. 
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are significant settlements of that time and excavations at these sites in 1922 by R.D. Banerji revealed some exquisite sculptures, seals, vessels, terracotta crafts, jewellery, pottery, and more. 
Statues were mostly made of stone and bronze and the art style had a sense of elusiveness to it.

Early Indian Art

Fast forward to 3rd century, Emperor Ashoka patronised art greatly in the subcontinent leading to Mauryan art. This period gave some of the most famous structures such as the Pataliputra capital, four lions which was originally called the Sarnath Lion Capital and is now the national emblem of India etc. He was greatly influenced by the teachings of Lord Buddha and spread Buddhism far and wide in India. Overtime, paintings are sculptures depicting Lord Buddha and his life began emerging in India. This was also the time when stupa structures were constructed in the country.
Sanchi, Sarnath, caves of Ajanta and Ellora, and Badami caves are examples of Buddhist art from 5th and 6th century A.D. 
The caves feature realistic, relief stone carvings of Lord Buddha and other deities of Hinduism.

After this came many other art forms specific to kingdoms and dynasties such as the Shunga art, Kushan art, and Gupta art.

Medieval Art

Circa 10th century A.D, Hinduism started influencing art and architecture in India. This was the period of Cholas which introduced Dravidian art to India.
Grand temples were constructed that featured exquisite and most detailed carvings of Hindu deities and tales from the epics on their walls, pillars, and more. 
This period was also known for lost wax bronze sculptures and fresco paintings.

The trend was carried on by many other dynasties such as the Chodaganga, Tuluva etc.

Temples of Khajuraho, Konark sun temple, Puri Jagannath temple are examples of temple art and architecture of that time.

Mughal Art

Around 15th century, India was invaded by the Mughals who set up the Delhi sultanate and began ruling over the country creating an era of art that was starkly different to what was seen until then.

Architecture was greatly patronized by the Mughal rulers and the construction was in Indo-Islamic style. The structures were heavily detailed, decorated with expensive jewels and made of materials like stone, rocks, marbles etc.

The art style was symmetric and took influence from Persian and Turkish styles.

Taj Mahal, Tomb of Humayun, Fathepur Sikri, Buland Darwaza, Sheesh Mahal are just some of the many exquisite structures that were constructed under the Mughal rule in India.

Colonial Art

The Mughals ruled for approximately 4 centuries after which Britishers made way into the subcontinent through East India Company.

Traditional style of art began to be less recognized and patronaged and European styles introduced. 
Many modern schools of art began emerging such as the Bombay Art Society, Madras school of art, and Calcutta school of art.

Art was now made on canvas or paper and mediums such as oils, water colours etc. were used. 
This was also the time when regional sentiments rose among Indians and artists like Raja Ravi Verma, Abarindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, M.F. Hussain etc. started being recognized.  

Rich is indeed the art and architecture of India for it is not influenced by one but many cultures, dynasties, beliefs, religions, and time periods.
October 31, 2020

Light of faith amidst a pandemic – Diwali 2020

It is the festive season in India and the markets are sprawling vibrantly preparing to welcome the most awaited and beloved festival- Diwali. It is a 5-day long celebration and is commencing on 12th November this year with the main day falling on 14th.

It is said that on this day, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana and it symbolises the victory of good over evil.
On Diwali, people also perform Lakshmi Puja and offer their devotion to the Goddess of Wealth.

As is evident, Diwali is one of the most significant festivals of Hindu religion and is celebrated grandly across the country.
Owing to the current pandemic situation, this year might however see a different Deepawali as compared to the previous ones.

Here is how you can enjoy the cheer while staying safe and protected.

  • Home Décor

Diwali is a festival of lights and as mentioned, it is associated with Goddess Lakshmi. Folklore has it that the deity only stays where there is cleanliness. Hence, every Diwali preparation starts with cleaning the house and discarding old and worn out items followed by decorating the place. Lamps are lit, series lights are hung and beautiful Rangolis are made to please the Goddess.

Which brings us to-

  • Rangoli making

Remember those good old days when you and your siblings/cousins spent good time together designing and making Rangolis using the choicest of vibrant colours and making memories as you did so?
This is a wonderful opportunity to bring out the child in you and show-off your artistic skills!

  • Sending gifts

What is a festival without exchanging gifts and goodies? Make a list of people who are near and dear to you and pick gifts and sweets for them. Tell them that in these difficult times, they are always in your thoughts and prayers.

  • Online games

So what if the pandemic is preventing people from physically coming together on a festive night? A lot of free applications are available on the internet so you can move the traditional “Diwali cards night” online!

  • Green Diwali

Apart from the global outbreak of Coronavirus, this year also saw many natural disasters and casualties. It is about time we become sensitive to the damage we are doing to the planet which is resulting in alarming levels of rise in pollution and climate change. Let us not cause further harm and celebrate a crackers-free Diwali.

  • Support artisans and needy

These are tough times for everyone and more so for people falling in low income groups who are struggling each day to win their bread and butter. While we are celebrating in full cheer, let us not leave them to suffer.
Purchase your décor items and diyas from street hawkers and local artisans. Donate to NGOs that work for their cause.

We at Artisanscrest provide a platform for traditional artists to showcase their works online.

You can find exquisite masterpieces on our website that can be customised to your needs. Be it a lamp, an idol, a painting, or a textile, we have it all.

Visit us at https://www.artisanscrest.in/

September 28, 2020

Dushera in times of Corona

It is that time of the year when pandals are set up, idols of goddess durga are decorated, puja preparations are in full swing and we are all practicing dandiya and garba day and night. Normally this would have been the scenario but this year India shall see a rather dull dushera owing to Covid-19.

It is however for the greater good that we abide by the rules of social distancing and have a safe festival. That does not necessarily mean that we entirely miss out on the fun. Here are some ideas we have for you to celebrate Navaratri amid a global pandemic.

Set up your own pandal

Chances of society pandals being set up seem highly unlikely and even if they were to be erected, it is safer to not visit them.
How about bringing in an idol of the devi and designing a pandal for her at home? Some drapes, flowers, embellishments, and lots of creativity is all you will need.
Find exquisite idols and paintings of the goddess made by Indian artisans in our collection- The Invincible Shakti.

Donate to poor

There is no greater good and nothing fetches more satisfaction than tending to those in need. In times like these, it is necessary to help the poor families by doing our part- small or big.
Donate money to organisations that work for the cause, do not cut down the salaries of your housemaids. Instead, gift them fruits, sweets and clothes to make their festival joyous.

Garba at home

We cannot simply imagine Navaratri without Garba and Dandiya. We can’t attend one of those fancy events this year but we surely can dress up and groove to Falguni Pathak’s songs at home. Maybe even organize an event within your complex. However, ensure that no one is tested positive or shows symptoms of Corona. Also, ensure that you maintain proper social distancing.
Do not forget to upload your pictures on social media though.

Which brings us to

Checking up on your friends and family

We know this is not one of the brightest times to live in and the isolation can be challenging for many. Make sure you check up on your dear friends and family and share these ideas with them. You can also play a game or two of online ludo or cards to spend some time with them.

Support local artisans

Festivals like Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturti are the times when artisans work day and night to earn their bread and butter. Usually they would be busy making idols for us. This year is particularly challenging for them and other small sector workers. Show them your support by promoting their work, making a small or big purchase from them and paying them justly and by donating to organizations that look after them.

We at Artisanscrest take pride in promoting the work of local artisans of India who strive to keep the traditional art alive.

Visit us at https://www.artisanscrest.in/
August 24, 2020

Unheard Legends of Ramayana

Following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Rama Janmabhoomi; Ayodhya saw grand celebrations on the occasion of bhumi pujan on 5th of August this year. Our honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji laid the foundation stone, officially inaugurating the construction of the mandir.

On this cheerful opportunity, let us reminisce about the life Lord Rama who is to this date considered one of the most ideal kings to have walked on this planet.

Lord Rama was born in Treta Yuga to King Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya in the holy land of Ayodhya. He belonged to a clan called Suryavanshis- descendants of the sun god. Being the eldest of the siblings, he was destined to rule the throne of Ayodhya, and he set ideal principles for not just a king but also for mankind.
His life and journey are narrated by Sage Valmiki in Hinduism’s most revered epic- Ramayana.

We bring to you some unheard legends from the scripture.

The ten heads of Ravana

Despite his inhuman abduction of Devi Sita, King Ravana was not all bad. He was in fact a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva, a great scholar, and an able ruler. He underwent extreme penance to please the Lord- to an extent that he cut his head off with an axe. Every time he did that, the head would regrow. This continued for ten times until Lord Shiva, pleased with his dedication, granted him ten heads- a representation of the six shastras and four vedas that he mastered.

The incarnation of Lord Rama’s brothers

It is known that Lord Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. However, did you know that his Sudharshan Chakra, Conch shell, and Shesh Naag also took birth along with him to accompany him in his purposeful journey?
They incarnated in the form of his brothers- Bharath (Sudharshan Chakra), Shatrughan (Conch-shell) and Lakshman (Shesh Naag).
Being the incarnation of the serpent is what gives Lakshmana his characteristic anger. He also took birth as Lord Krishna’s elder brother Balaram in Dwapara Yuga.

Abduction of Devi Sita

While Valmiki’s Ramayana narrates that Devi Sita was abducted by Ravana who carefully planned and executed it with the help of Mirich, it is however not very widely known that it was not the devi herself who was abducted but her shadow instead. Lord Rama had asked Agni Dev to look after her so he could ensue a battle with Ravana and kill him along with all his demons. This was also the reason why Lord Rama ordered for an Agni pariksha of the Devi. This was her way to come out of the fire and reunite with her shadow.

 

There are as many versions and legends to this great epic as one can dig.
Let us remind ourselves of the Lord and follow his footsteps to lead an exemplary life and fulfill our duties as mankind.
August 02, 2020

Art in the time of Corona

With Corona positive cases skyrocketing, small-scale and large-scale businesses facing losses, jobs being affecting, and people losing their minds due to the isolation, we are undoubtedly living in difficult times. But on the brighter side, we are creating history for it is not every day that a pandemic halts the entire globe from functioning normally.

This iconic period sure deserved to be captured in many art forms. Ranging from drawing rainbows on windows to thank NHS workers to graffiti on walls and illustrations/graphics on social media, artists are doing their best to capture this event in art.

Hence, we could not help but wonder if the role of arts and crafts in this time goes beyond solidarity and gratitude.
Research proved that art is not only a form of expression but is also a very effective therapy/remedy for releasing stress and easing anxiety. The lockdown, isolation, boredom, financial pressure, news updates, etc., could be a lot to deal with.

What better way to spend your time with your loved ones and/or by yourself than to get those paints, papers, scissors, glue, and everything you can find and get down to making art.

We have listed a few ideas for you. Read on!

  • Watercolors are arguably one of the most easily available mediums that people with zero to professional expertise can use. Grab a nice thick sheet (preferably 300gsm watercolor sheets), brushes, water, and some colors and get started.

You can try your hand at traditional painting styles such as Warli, Madhubani, Tanjore paintings, Pattachitra, etc., for inspiration.

They have a sense of richness to them owing to their age’s long heritage.

While you are at it, teach your kid a thing or two about the history of the painting style. This will keep their interested, engaged while also helps keep the traditional art alive.

  • Grab some jute ropes that come with packages, a pair of scissors, glue, and some paints of your choice (watercolors tend to get absorbed. We recommend acrylics or poster colors).

Pick one end of the rope and start rolling this to create a circular pattern. As you roll, make sure you apply generous quantities of glue so that it stays in place and the craft becomes rigid. Cut the other end of the rope and stick in it place for a smoother finish.

You can either color the craft or leave it as it is and use it as a coaster, wall hanging, etc. Get creative with your ideas.

  • If you want to take up a bigger, more time-demanding project, consider giving your house/room a makeover or maybe paint a wall in your chosen style. You may have to purchase wall paints if you are considering repainting the walls.

Decide a theme, chalk a plan, and start having fun!

You can make some paintings, frame them, and hang them in your room. Spice up the space with some fairy lights.

Grab some old plastic bottles and paint them using acrylic colors. You can use them to place stationery, creeper plants, or just as showpieces, and they will instantly make the room look artsy.

 

Some amazing art channels like Iteeha, Kesh, and social media handles like Etsy India, and of course, Pinterest will help you boost your ever-expanding creative streak.

 

Like what you read? Stay tuned for more blogs and follow us on social media.
July 02, 2020

A Technique As Old As Time Finds Relevance Today

The Lost Wax Casting method dates back to almost 4000 years ago and the oldest artefacts were perhaps our first form of expression and art for early settlers, right after cave painting. There is reason to believe that the first civilization in Indus Valley used this technique extensively.

Now improvised and developed, it is used as a method to create many fine sculptures and is considered a heritage of the Dhokra Damar tribes of Eastern India (West Bengal and Odisha) and hence the name, Dhokra metal casting. Over time these tribes traveled far and wide to the north, west, and south making this style of craft popular across the globe. 

The traditional process of wax casting involves creating a wax structure of the final image. Beeswax is usually used for this purpose. The wax structure is then covered in a thick mixture of sand and plaster which are then heated until the wax inside melts away. This creates a negative of the image- meaning the mold. Hot liquified metal is then poured into this mold and left to cool down and set. The artisans then proceed to break the sand and plaster mold revealing the metal sculpture. The sculpture is cleaned and smoothened giving the final output. 

This method is famous for its tribal and primitive look owing to its stark motifs and forceful forms. 

Displayed here is a Dhokra brass work by our artisans depicting figures of a tribal couple. Tribes hold a significant place in India for their heritage and culture and yet live a backward and shielded life, finding themselves meager jobs to sustain their families. This statue stands testimony to their simplicity- we see a tribal couple frozen in time as they do about their daily chores. The nature of the art is visible in the intricate casting of their clothing and jewellery as well as the precision in the objects they carry.

This piece of art can be customised and resized according to your taste and requirements. Click here to know more: https://www.artisanscrest.in/collections/dhokra-brasswork/products/tribal-art-dhokra-brasswork-tribal-couple-09
June 15, 2020

In solidarity with the artisans of the east

It has barely been a year since the catastrophic cyclone Fani hit the streets of Odisha and the state received yet another major blow by cyclone Amphan. These calamities coupled with the COVID-19 lockdown have done no good to the local artisans of Odisha who are struggling to make their ends meet.

This eastern state is a heritage hub for the country as it houses the famous Puri Jagannath temple and the Konark Sun temple that have many tales, folklore, and legends revolving around them. They are also of immense religious significance.

Odisha is also home to the centuries-old Pattachitra painting style which translates to painting on cloth. Traditional Pattachitra artists, known as Chitrakaras, have been involved in keeping the art alive for many generations now.

However, due to lack of adequate patronage, such artisans, and other craftsmen all around the country often find themselves in poor financial conditions which forces them to look for other jobs.

What was already a pitiful condition only got worsened because of the many calamities and disasters hitting the country and world at large this year.

These are artisans that earn their day-to-day income by working in a traditional fashion of carrying their produce to the market and selling them. Because of the extensive lockdown to curb the Coronavirus from spreading, markets have been shut down and as a result, their sales!

While the government and the NGOs are doing everything in their capacity to offer relief and comfort to such small-scale vendors, it is about time that we view things in a larger scenario. An old saying goes, “If you want to feed someone for life, teach them how to fish.”

The Post-pandemic world is visualized to be digital. It would take a considerable time for the public to recover from the blow of the virus and many would not return to the streets and markets quickly.

It is therefore important that artisans adopt a proactive approach and take their art online. It would be a viable solution to help educate the artisans and acquaint them to the digital world so that they continue making art.

Artisans looking for jobs outside the arts and crafts industry poses the risk of the traditional art forms being lost in time. It is therefore our responsibility to stand in solidarity with the artisans and promote them, ensuring that they live a financially stable, dignified life.

We, at Artisanscrest are proud to be helping local, traditional artisans by giving their arts and crafts exposure on our website.

When you support our artisans, they can keep the rich culture and traditions of India alive. Shop #localart and be #vocalforlocal

May 20, 2020

How You Can Support Artisan Small Businesses During This Time

In the wake of the ongoing lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic, many industries such as hospitality, transportation, apparel, food and beverages, manufacturing and construction, etc. have been hit severely.

One industry that is also suffering a severe setback is the art and craft industry.

A vast section of the rural population is employed in this industry and many artisans follow these traditions for hundreds of years. They are almost completely dependent on their craft to feed themselves and their families.

Despite their significance, artisans in India are often not remunerated fairly and they have been facing a financial crisis for a long time. The lockdown only worsened the situation for them.


It is, therefore, necessary that in this time of crisis, we join hands together and lift them up.

  1. Financial aids and donations

While the government does its job of providing financial aid and packages to the affected sectors, we can do our part by donating to NGOs that work for the welfare of local artisans.

  1. Choose local products over imported goods

India is quite equipped and capable of manufacturing good quality products and merchandise. Indian art is also rich and vibrant. Unfortunately, there exists a fad for imported goods and artefacts.

It is time that we honor our Prime Minister’s appeal of #vocalforlocal. Let us choose to empower and lift our artisans instead of opting for relying on imports.

  1. Promote them and their work

An old saying goes, “if you want to feed a man for a day, give him food. If you want to feed him for life, teach him to fish.”

In this digital era, everything is available at a click. Internet and eCommerce is a very vital source of income even for artisans. Local artisans hailing from rural backgrounds, however, do not have access and knowledge to sell online.


We as fellow citizens with access to the internet and social media can help them by promoting their works. Giving them a shoutout, shooting a documentary, writing a blog, etc. are ways one can contribute.

There are also websites that actively engage in hosting artefacts and handicrafts designed and crafted by local, traditional artisans.

We at Artisanscrest take pride in being one of them where we bring together exquisite pieces of handmade paintings, sculptures, woodworks, textiles, jewellery, and more.

You can also support the artisans’ work by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  1. Engage them in teaching

It is a sad reality that due to unfair and inadequate remuneration, more and more heirs of traditional artisanal families are opting for jobs outside the arts and crafts industry. If this curve continues, there will soon be a time when Indian art becomes history.

Schools and other institutes can organise paid programs where artisans engage in teaching students the traditional process of making different forms of art.

This will ensure more income for artisans while also keeps the art alive in young generations.

It is our duty and responsibility that we uplift our economy in an effective and all-inclusive manner. Let us become #atmanirbhar and support/empower Indian manufacturers, companies, entrepreneurs, and artisans.

March 13, 2020

The Wrath Of Mahishasura Mardini

Devi Durga, also identified by the name Adi Parashakti is the warrior goddess of heaven whose stories revolve around wars fought over evil to restore peace and justice.

The famous of all and the reason for her incarnation is the story of Mahishasura. He was a mighty demon who could take the form of any animal but most often appeared as a buffalo. Indian mythology narrates that Mahishasura performed penance for Lord Brahma to appear and grant him the boon of being invincible. He demanded that no man or animal can harm him. he believed that a woman cannot fight him.

As is customary, Lord Brahma granted him the boon. With the confidence of his new-found "immortality",  he soon began to conquer the universe and caused chaos in the Trilok (the hell, the heaven, and the earth). Unable to defeat him, the gods decided to approach Lord Vishnu for a solution and thus, to defeat him was created the incarnation of Mahadevi. 

She was bestowed with Lord Shiva’s trident, Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra, Lord Brahma’s Kamandalam, Lord Indra’s Vajrayudham,  Varuna’s Conch, Agni’s Missiles, Vayu’s bow and arrows and Lord Vishwakarma’s axe while the Himalayas gave her a lion to ride on.

Armed with divine weapons, Goddess Durga defeated Mahishasura in a fierce battle that lasted for over ten days and hence the title Mahishasura Mardini meaning "the slayer of Mahishasura".  It is in this form of her defeating the demon, armed with weapons and seated on a lion that she is often portrayed and sculptured.

The story of Lord Durga defeating the buffalo demon is an often narrated tale in Shaktism- a cult in Hinduism where Shakti (the feminine power) is worshipped. It is also mentioned in their sacred scripture called the Devi Mahatmya. 

A historic city in the southern state of Karnataka called Mysore gets its name from the goddess. People of the place recall the killing of Mahisharura by Devi Durga during Navratri and Mysore Dasara where grand festivities are organized in great pomp to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. 

Our traditional artists with their fine craftsmanship manage to capture this divine moment on a piece of cloth. This style of art originates in Odisha and is called Pattachitra- literally meaning "art on cloth". Stark features of this art form include the usage of bright pigments that are often made using natural elements and an intricately designed border on each painting. 

This painting can be customized according to your needs. Find the link for this painting here: https://www.artisanscrest.in/products/painting-pattachitra-durga-09

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