Dhokras - Turning heads towards tradition
It is a liberating sense of pride that we are the very definition of our roots. The roots that remind us to pause a moment and adore the many things our lineage, tradition, and culture has left behind. Specifically, the thread that connects the evolved human with his history is art. Indian culture has kept the traditional footprint alive for many years for its authenticity towards art.
But recent times have been challenging to keep that fading footprint alive due to many physiological and societal concerns.
Before we understand what we are losing, this post is a realisation to the art that is on the brink of ignorance. Apparently, ignorance is equivalent to extinction in Indian culture.
The art form that is about to be highlighted is the Dhokra art - One of the traditionally well-received techniques of hand-made artefacts.
THE HISTORY BEHIND DHOKRA
Dhokra art is an art form of traditional and contemporary practice that facilitates the manual manufacture of ornaments. This art form is evidently 4000 years old, with the first footprint recorded in the Indus Valley civilization.
Originated from the Dhokra Damar tribes - the metal-smiths of Eastern India, Dhokra signifies metal casting.
As of 2020, Dhokra artisans are predominantly found in places of Eastern India like West Bengal, Orissa, and Jharkhand. Recently, they have set their famed footprint in Telangana.
The Dhokra artists employ the lost wax casting technique to bring out non-ferrous products of sheer spectacle.
The process begins with the preparation of basic mould for the original product. The basic moulds are essentially made of clay and cow dung and left for drying. Beeswax is applied over the mould since certain products demand detailed designs and intricate carvings.
A secondary layer of clay is smeared over the product to obtain the desired shape of the carvings. The product is dabbed with a mix of cow dung and water and allowed to dry. The dried product, with blowholes (vents), is fired in a furnace that melts the wax.
The final task involves pouring the molten metal into the mould to achieve the desired product. Since Dhokra art specialises in non-ferrous casting, brass is the commonly used element for making these artefacts. A sprue (vertical cup) facilitates the flow of metal into the mould.
As tedious as it looks, a typical Dhokra art takes anywhere between 15 - 30 days to take form as a final product.
WHY HAPPY PIQUE VALUES TRADITION AND ITS UNNOTICED EFFORTS?
Happy Pique sets the bar high in focusing strongly on our traditional values aligning with the latest trends. We also immensely realize that nothing matches the human intellect and efforts, especially in hand-crafted jewellery. The intent of extending support to our fellow artisans in the rural towns is what has made Happy Pique stand tall and proud.
But the past few months have been extremely critical in terms of livelihood for these artisans who craft products of our adoration. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has collapsed the only hope these artisans heavily relied on. However, that has not deterred these artisans from continuing their work.
“The greatest satisfaction lies in what we sacrifice to share happiness.”
It's about time that we come forward and together to notice the toil they undergo for us and support them in our best way possible. I hope this post sparks some concern towards our fellow artisans to give them the smile they deserve.