(Above) Karthik Vaidyanathan with a customer. (Left) Incense stick holders, (right above) lamps, (right below) towel holders
BANGALORE: Channapatna craft is associated with dolls — little surprise that the place, located 60km South-West of Bangalore is famously called Gombegala-ooru or toy-town. Media regularly reports on how the families no longer encourage the next generations to take up the craft owing to narrow profit margins and even narrower market. However, Karthik Vaidyanathan is attempting to change all that by giving an image makeover to Channapatna products — make it contemporary and utilitarian.
Recently, Karthik in association with an organisation called Varnam showcased products like lamps, paper towel holders, door handles and other utilitarian items that are hand crafted. Earlier, the making of Channapatna toys was a hobby for Karthik, who held a day job in a leading corporate company in Bangalore. He travelled to Channapatna every alternate weekend, visited the artistes homes cum workshops, and started designing some handicrafts. He decided to take these products to a wider segment and realised that the response was fantastic.
They started out with small products but now have an entire line in the home furnishing category. The USP of the Channapatna product is that it is eco-friendly, says Karthik. “It is made out of soft wood. You have to realise that these products do not require the craftspersons to cut trees and can be made from wood pieces. The wood waste generated is then used in the incense stick industry in Channapatna and surrounding areas. All colours are natural too,” he says.
He adds that the craft has no occupational health hazards as seen in certain other cottage industries in the country.