Friday, April 28, 2006

arts & crafts exhibition at wtc







last saturday i was to meet l at about 4.30 in the afternoon at leela. we had a houseguest from hyderabad who had taken a stall at the 'times art and design fair 2006' which was being held from april 20th. and sunday was the last day. i decided to spend a few hours at wtc after working hours.being a half day the whole plan fitted in very well.

there is a big advantage in going to these exhibitions.you see a plethora of products all in one location.the exhibitors try to showcase their best products and prices are much less than in their showrooms and always negotiable.honestly,i am quite fond of bargaining.in fact,if i have bought any object without bargaining,i find that i have missed out something.but,i had no plans to buy anything this time.s had warned me that if i buy any stuff for the house,something else had to go out.the law of reverse vaccum will have to operate. my only reason for attending this exhibition was to be courteous to our lady-guest and kill a few hours before taking off for leela to meet l.

some of these exhibitions turn into big jamborees.particularly the ones that are held at the bandra-kurla complex.batallions of families visit the stalls,they aimlessly wander,women with babes in their arm and generally overdressed move around as if there is a purpose in their visit. the food stalls attract more people than the exhibit stalls. the crowd is loud and the place gets suffocating. i tend to avoid such places .s likes to go once in a while just on the last day and pick up some artefacts at very good prices.

this time though the crowd was limited,the visitors were generally serious,and the airconditioning was working,which made my short stay very comfortable.there were furniture stalls displaying ancient carved windows,antiques etc,tanjore paintings, bridal wear,crystal ware,crockery and cutlery,bronze and copper figures of gods and goddesses,temples for pooja rooms,designer and ethnic jewellery,designer sarees,kolkata kantha sarees,chandeliers,sculptures,stained glass art, terra cotta,tousseau etc etc. i visited our guest's stall(mystique designs) and i was quite impressed with the products she was marketing. it was flora art. it is an art form where natural flora and fauna are used to create portraits,lampshades,tableware,picture frames etc.by a technology called 'potting'. the freshness and originality of the colour are preserved for ever with a resin.

there were framed real flowers,bowls and dinner plates made out of real plaintain leaves, aestheticlly shaped tumblers and a melonshaped iceflask. the technology was developed by a scientist from sri lanka and it continues to remain a secret. the old man is alive and will not part with the technology. the original flowers,leaves,barks of trees remain as they were when they were plucked or removed.there is a chemical process involved to maintain the original colour,an anti fungal treatment and a physical process of creating a vaccum in between two fiber glass plates where the flower or leaf or bark is placed thereby not allowing any oxygen to go in,application of resin under the influence of infrared light and then sealing it to keep the object in its original state for eternity. the resin is manufactured only in germany,fibre glass sheets in belgium and the corse fibre used in the frames in australia .that is called globalisation! i decided to buy a fruit bow,a large plaintainleaf plate,small plates and tumblers.

i then picked up two sets of foldable wooden chairs and stools from a furniture stall.they were cute.i sat on them and found them comfortable,lifted them to see whether they were very heavy and keeping 'dignity homes' in mind decided to buy two sets of chairs and stools.they are space savers and will come in handy in the living rooms.

it was time to leave and when i was approaching the exit my eyes fell on some waist-high flowerpot stands beautifully hand and colour painted with rajasthani rural images. i lifted one piece to see how heavy it was. earlier when i was living in goa,i had bought many of these heavy objects which were made of terracotta and painted black. i was amazed as this one was very light. it was made of fibreglass. i decided to buy a pair.

l and s say i am a compulsive buyer.actually i never planned to buy anything in this exhibition. how is it then that i did so much of shopping? i was minus by about 20k. you need tremendous will power to resist from buying in these exhibitions.the sheer ease of buying and the competitive prices almost compel you to buy.i must admit that carrying a plastic credit card also does the trick.even if you go without any plan to buy,the convenience of having a large sum of money available in your pocket tempts you to indulge. but then a confluence of artisans,fashion designers,interior decor designers,sculptors from kashmir to kanyakumari and kolkata to kutch all under one roof can take place only in exhiibitions like these. and you fall a sucker.

in hindsight, i didn't do a bad job. i got full marks for all the items i purchased.the chairs and stools and the colour-painted flowerpot stands have been despatched to neral. and the flora and fauna stay with us . for eternity.

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