Madhuban Papier Mache Art
Papier Mache Art is very cool. Madhubani can be described as a craft city where number of crafts were born and nurtured. Some of the main crafts of this place are Madhubani Painting, Madhubani Papier Mache, Sikki craft, and Sujani Embroidery.
Madhubani Papier Mache, a craft where waste paper is used to make utility and decorative items is very different from other craft of this region. The proud mother of this craft is “Subhadra Devi”, a living legend.
She was practicing this craft since the age of 15 and was honored for this craft with State award in 1980 and with national award in 1992.
Initially it was done in clay but because clay is very delicate and easily breakable so on the advice of DCH Subhadra Devi started doing with paper pulp.
Initially they use to make decorative items which were very colorful, eco-friendly and unbreakable and use to make traditional motifs like Kohbar, elephant.
Utility items are very useful for household purposes and because they are eco-friendly in nature they are very safe to use like they use to make containers to keep food grains.
Due to her struggle and initiatives papier mache of this region is getting national and international appraisal.
Difference between Kashmir and Madhubani Papier Mache art
KASHMIR PAPIER MACHE
This craft is found only in the Kashmir district and is practiced only by the Shia Muslim community. It was used for ornamenting smooth surfaces made of paper pulp or layers of polished paper.
Characteristics of Kashmir Papier Mache-
* Kashmir papier mache is actually the technique of surface decoration rather than the creation of the body of the object.
* The crafts persons of this craft use wooden or clay moulds of all the product prototypes but now they procure the moulds made of wood and brass.
* In this craft there are two separate groups of people, one who make the objects and other group who paint it. Sakta is that group of people who make papier mache objects out of pulp and sell their objects to the Naqqash, the papier mache painters.
* Motifs range from depictions of along with geometrical patterns-especially as borders, to the depiction of natural history of Kashmir, representation of snow-capped peaks and hunting scenes with Rajas mounted on horses are predominant.
* Box is the ubiquitous papier mache product but a new varied product range is also available.
Letter racks, candle stands, coasters, small bowls, trays and jars are commonly made and sold daily use products, in ornamental products small bells and chimes in an array of colors also sell well.
MADHUBANI PAPIER MACHE
Like Kashmir Papier Mache Madhubani papier mache is also found only in the Madhubani district of Bihar and this craft is mainly performed by the Kayasthacaste of village ‘Salempur’ where this craft was born and nurtured, now it’s done in other parts of Madhubani also.
Objects are made out of paper pulp and only painted from outside with the motifs inspired from Madhubani painting.
Papier Mache dolls
Characteristics of Madhubani Papier Mache
* In Madhubani Papier Mache creation of the object is more important than its surface ornamentation. They concentrate more on the form and paint it to make it look more attractive.
* All the objects made by the artisans are totally handmade.
They don’t use any types of moulds in the process of object making; this is the reason because of which we rarely find any type of similarity among the products made by them, there has to be some degree of diversity even among the same kind of product range.
* The entire product is made by an artisan. Starting from thinking of the concept to the final process of painting the product all is done if possible by the same artisan.
There are nose parate groups to perform different tasks.
* In Madhubani Papier Mache most of the motifs are from Madhubani painting like elephant, Kohbar Ghar for decoration purposes and when they do painting on the objects also they paint trees, human faces that we can see in those paintings.
* They usually make utilitarian as well as ornamental products right from the beginning now they have started making products like bangles, stands, mobile covers and products according to the market demands.
Raw Material used for Papier Mache Art
Raw materials used in this craft are easily available at home and at local market. Required materials for this craft are:
* Newspaper or any other waste paper-The basic raw material for this craft which is used to prepare paper pulp, newspaper or any other waste paper can be use.
* Multani Mittior Dard Maida-Initially Dard Maida Was used leaves of a plant, to provide strength to the product and to stick paper pulp but now Multani Mitti is used as it gives a better finish to the products.
*Methi Powder-It is used for fragrance and methi powder helps in keeping it safe from moths and other insects.
*Fevicol or any other adhesive-It is mixed in paper pulp for sticking it.
Tools Used in Papier Mache Art
Basically it is a handmade product so machinery and other equipments in its manufacturing are not required only some household tools are needed.
*Khal Musal or Stone Slab and Wooden Hammer-It is used for crushing paper and for preparing paper pulp.
*Brushes-For painting 00 brushes for Coloring, 000 for writing.
PROCESS OF PAPIER MACHE ART
- Firstly paper is soaked in the water for about 1 week for fragmentation.
- After it is properly fragmented then it is crushed in Khal-Musalor beaten up by hammer to make a paste of it. Finer the paper pulp betters the finishing.
- Along with this Multani Mitti,which is required for giving better finish and strength, to the products is also soaked in water for 24 hrs at least.
- Then a mixture is prepared of all these ingredients Paper, Multani Mitti, Methi Powder, and Fevicol.
- When the mixture is ready then different shapes and forms are given on the basis of imaginations by hands only without the help of any moulds.
- After the products are prepared they are left for drying in the sun.
- Once dried completely then colors are applied on the products.
About Natural Colors of Papier Mache Art
Initially only natural colors were used for painting. Natural colors were made with the help of different leaves and petals.
Mainly following colours are used and they are collectedfrom the following natural source:
- Pink-Rose Petals
- Brick Red –Gaur
- Green-Sem leaves (French Beans)
- Yellow-Litchi leaves or turmeric
- Black-Carbon (soot)
But now because consumers taste are changing so the artisans have started using fabric and poster colors in place of natural colors because they are more bright and stable.
Range of products in Papier Mache Art
Initially traditional motifs were used to make products so decorative items and products for household utility dominated the production like-
- Kothi-Container to store food grains
- Small containers-To store dry products and food grains also. Traditional Motifs
- Kohbar-It’s a hut shaped form. Presence of this motif is very important at the time of marriages in Bihar.
- Bar-Kanai (Bride and Bridegroom)
- Hathi Jannak Dala (Elephant)But with the change in consumer taste and demand they started making decorative as well as utility products for daily use.
It includes Wall Hangings, Masks, flower vase, Photo Frames apart from the traditional motifs.
Pencil tops Sharpener cover, Pendants, Earrings, Mobile holders, Mirror stands, Pen stands, Bangles and Bangle boxes, necklaces as well as household utility products.
One very important fact relevant to this craft is that it is mainly performed by village women. Initially there was least support from other male members of family so the existence of this craft was also in trouble.
but later it was supported by DCH and hence the craft received worldwide exposure which resulted in an increase in the income of the artisans.
Now the women are self-dependent and the male members are also assisting them in the marketing of this craft.
Papier Mache products are completely recyclable and storage of this craft is also very convenient Artisans store it inside the house at any safe and dry place. For transportation the artisans use local rickshaw bus and tempo.
Marketing and Packaging of Papier Mache Art
The market of this craft has both national and international demand, because of this design stores, export stores as well as exporters and wholesalers has become an important chain of customers for this craft.
But an important fact is that local market has no demand for this craft and the simple reason is that they themselves can easily make it so they don’t prefer to buy it from the market.
As this craft is totally practiced at household level and the artisans do not possess much excellence in marketing so they are assisted by government agencies like DASTKAR regarding market information and they also invite.
them to exhibitions and craft fairs, CCIC helps them by placing new orders and establishment of new contacts.
Regarding packaging, initially the artisans use paper to wrap the products, and then they started using poly bags but as poly bags are not eco-friendly and western countries are really aware on these matters so now they have started using paper and cloth bags.
Changes in Craft over the years for Papier Mache Art
Initially artisans were using painting brushes made out of bamboo but now they are using readymade brushes available in the market as it is much more convenient.
Regarding colors, initially they use only Natural Colors but now they have started using Poster and Fabric colors also as they are more bright and vibrant.
In raw materials, Dard Maida is replaced by Multani Mittias the latter provides better finish and it is easily accessible also and in the same way Babool Gum is replaced by Fevicol.
Design changes are also frequently happening in this field, now the artisans are concentrating more on designs that serve some utility purpose and are able to meet consumer tastes and demand.
Now Madhubani papier mache is an international name.
The condition of this craft is improving and products of Madhubani papier machie are also appreciated in the international market along with Kashmir papier machie.
There are many institutions that are giving training and arranging workshops in papier machie and are inviting Master Craftsman‘Subhadraji’ for this.
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE ARTISANS
There are some major problems faced by the artisans of this craft-Firstly.
the NGO’s which were formed with the objective to upgrade the craft are only serving their own ulterior motives and are least interested in the development and up gradation of the craft and the craft persons.
So this is a craft sector where government agencies like DASTKAR, CCIC are performing very well and the artisans are also satisfied with their initiatives.
Secondly, there is lack of skilled artisans in this sector. People start learning this craft and after time without having proper holds of it they start their own work and hence couldn’t satisfy the expectations of the consumers and art lovers.
Further, this craft is practiced mainly by the women at household level and because of lack of proper support from the male members of the family they couldn’t get a hold of the market and sometimes they cannot participate in craft fairs also due to this reason.