These names bring forth the images of colourful, traditional wooden toys. One of the fines traditional wooden toys industry, which is trying to reinvent and revise itself in the current times with new ideas and concepts, which fit in the times of this digital world.
Natural Dyes are colours extracted from naturally available sources. The source of these dyes can be plants or trees, animals or minerals like Turmeric powder, Indigo powder, and Kanchi Kum Kum powder. Purely made by culturally rich and traditionally talented artisans of Channapatna, 60km from Bangalore, capital of Karnataka.
Made from wood and natural colours, these toys are manufactured in the town of Channapatna, now also known as the "toy town". The popularity can be gauged from the fact that these toys were showcased in Republic Day Parade and were bought by Michelle Obama on her trip to India.
Originated in the Times of Tipu Sultan, brought the Persian artists to train the local artist about the wooden toy Making Process. These artisans reinvented & evolved this craftmanship to keep up with the changing times, at the same time keeping the originality of this age-old craft. These innovative, eco-friendly wooden toys are made of non-toxic vegetable colours.
The Father of Channapatna toys is Bavas Miyan, known for his commitment to life to helping the local artisans with the art of toy-making and bringing in new technologies to improvise the toys in the town.
The woodwork is coloured using vegetable dyes and the wood used is the Dhoodi Wood (Milkwood) which is precisely white in colour and easy to carve out the shapes. For the glazing of the toys, the polishing is done with high abrasive property grass. Hence the toys are completely environment-friendly. Many kinds of showpieces are also added on.
These wooden toys are not just consisting of some dolls and horses, but also toys to enjoy mathematical games and puzzles in the shops in the town like the vintage cars, beads like curtains, pen stands, snails, candle stands etc.
Right from procuring the wood to its pruning, seasoning, & colouring, all are handmade. Once the toy is lacquered, polishing and dying of the product are done. Thus, once upon a time known as the Persian toy-making art, has now become an Indian craft.
The first step is to procure the wood from the local wooden supplier. Depending on its size, wood is seasoned for a period of 2-3 months. Now then it is cut to inappropriate size and lacquered. Lacware is a process where these small wooden pieces are mounted on a lathe machine and with the help of different types of chisels the wood is shaped in spherical, circular, round, and oval shapes as per the required designs. The next step is to make it smooth by rubbing it with sandpaper.
The artisans press the lacquer stick against the wooden piece while still on the lathe machine and due to heat produced by friction lacquer gets applied to the wood. The gleam and shine of the product are achieved in the process and uniformly spread with palm leaf on the surface.
Once removed from the lathe machine, final assembling and other decorative work is done
Natural colours are used like Haldi, Kumkum, Indigo, Kanchi, Katha, and Ratanjyot. These colours are missed together to get different colours. Geometrical instruments like Vernier calliper and divider are used to maintain accuracy.