CUTTACK: Thirty three-year-old Pushpanjali Mahananda of Khariar Road in Nuapada district has carved a niche for herself by pursuing her passion for wooden calligraphy. The prolific calligrapher is grabbing a lot of eyeballs with her work as is evident from the crowd that gathers everyday at stall no 152 in row 1 of Pallishree Mela, the dedicated pavilion of Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) at Baliyatra fairground here. Pushpanjali’s exquisite calligraphy on wooden panels has become a hit among visitors at the fair.
Passionate about drawing since childhood, she mastered the art of wooden calligraphy from Ajay Mandabi, a Limca Book of Records holder from Chhattisgarh, with the help of an NGO. After learning the rare art, Pushpanjali returned to Odisha and started her own venture by forming Maa Baibhab self help group with the help of ORMAS in 2012.
The year 2015 bought fame for the artist when she crafted an exquisite wooden calligraphy of Odisha’s map which was handed over to the Panchayati Raj department during Sisir Saras Mela in Bhubaneswar. Pushpanjali has been displaying her works at the annual maritime trade fair for the last four years. This year, she has come up with customised gifts and decorative items apart from signboards, nameplates, key rings, door hangers and more such items.
“We have already sold 80 per cent of our stock and done business worth `60,000 in the last five days. We have prepared an indent for availing raw materials at the fair to meet the demand of customers,” Pushpanjali said. Explaining the intricacies involved in the work, she said teak and cedar wood are used to make the calligraphy products.
“After cutting and designing letters from cedar wood, we paste them on teak wood panel. Then it is coated with Asian Paint touchwood for glazing,” said the artist. Pushpanjali said it takes just 10 minutes to prepare a name-bearing wooden calligraphy key ring which can cost between `70 and `150. The price of other wooden calligraphy products starts from `300 and can go up to `3,000 depending on size and intricacies of the design.