Padmakumar Selvan working on a statuette of Sree Narayana Guru
KOCHI:There is a workshop off the road at Arasumoodu in Karamana from where you will hear the continual thudding sound of a hammer. This is the metal workshop of Padmakumar Selvan, a metal craftsman who is busy with casting a coating of gold on the myriad brass mementoes and awards he designs.
For more than 20 years now, Padmakumar has been making trophies, statuettes, mementoes and plaques in brass and alloys that are given as awards at the official functions of the government and private agencies who place bulk orders. He says, “I started making them at a young age. This is a craft I learned from my father, Chellapan Achary who was also a craftsman. Having been brought up in a Viswakarma family, I follow the traditional method my father used.”
Currently, Padmakumar is busy making the brass trophies for the upcoming Kerala State Film Awards and the Kerala State Television Awards. The plaques - a magnificent brass figurine of a shadow puppet - presented to the dignitaries and guests of the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala were also made by him. “When I do the brass plaques, I usually design it taking into consideration the views of the customers,” said Padmakumar.
Making each piece takes a couple of hours and sometimes a couple of days. First, a mould is made then it is dipped in wax. Finally, sand casting is done; a craft requiring skill and experience to master. “The 40 trophies for the state film and television awards will take around 30 days to make,” said the craftsman. Apart from these, he has made the mementos for the Swati Puraskaram, Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, Pallavoor Appu Marar Puraskaram, J C Daniel award, and the alloy, brass and copper mementoes for mega functions such as the Asianet Ujala awards.
Besides making trophies and plaques, many major temples in Thiruvananthapuram, such as Attukal, Udayannur, Pazhavangadi and so on have various offerings to the deity, including the ‘anki’ (ornaments), made at this workshop that employs four people. Recently, he made a statue of the deities in Neyyattinkara with a mix of copper, tin, silver, gold and iron.