Indore in Madhya Pradesh is land locked with Ujjain, Dhar, Khargone and Dewas districts. All these districts have their own regional specializations also referred to as geographical indications in official parlance. While Ujjain, Dhar and Khargone are known for fabric arts of Batik, Bagh and Maheshwari silk respectively, Dewas and Indore are famous for leather handicrafts.
In rural India, people practice various forms of craft over and above their agrarian preoccupations for livelihoods. Indore district has many craft specializations such as Khajur (date palm) crafts, Batik fabric prints and leather crafts emanating from rural and urban areas both. Among these and many other forms of handicrafts, a unique form of color painting on fiber wooden patterns is practiced in villages of Indore.
Deriving its conceptual origins from traditional wall paintings and practical application from Mehendi and its art of making paisleys, this form of art is locally called the cone crafts. The local nomenclature illustrates the relevance of acrylic color cones- a critical ingredient used to paint wooden or fabric textures with colorful outlines of rural imagination.
This craft form is a unique evolution of an artist’s creative acumen and ability to diversify native home-based paintings into a present-day décor statement. With an ability to creatively blend these traditional methods into contemporary demand and styles, men and women pursue this pursuit with genuine fervor as it is a direct source of creative enrichment and livelihoods.
Patterns in different shapes and sizes are diligently cut from wooden fiber boards. Once the desired structure is obtained it is usually painted with dark colors such as earthy reds, brown or navy blue as the shades used for outlining are usually bright. Floral motifs, birds, trees, paisleys and other henna-like patterns are outlined which stand out on rustic red and earthy brown backdrops. Popular choice for cone designs are stellar bright colors such as yellow, turquoise, green, orange and white in cones of ceramic, acrylic or textile colors.
Sometimes craftsmen add a dash of glitter or sand so as to obtain variants of the same shade. Peacocks, ganpati, wall hangings, wall clocks, pen stands, coasters and other small compact house décor are some popular products among locals and tourists. Huge wall hangings for Diwali, and other festivals with written messages and Rangolis so embossed with cone painting and plaster of paris make continued…