Channapatna Nativity Ornament
Unique ornament of the Holy Family hand carved out of hale wood using a traditional craft skill that is protected as a geographical indication under the World Trade Organization. The artisans of Channapatna Handicrafts dye each wooden figurine with vegetable dye to produce colorful figurines. Measures 3-by-1.5-by-3 inches. Features a gold loop for hanging.
About this Artisan
Channapatna Handicrafts is located in a quaint southern India town. The artisans use a special skill called lac-turnery, a 200-year-old craft traced to the reign of a royal ruler who invited artisans from Persia to train the local artisans in making wooden toys. The process of shaping and coloring the wood is carried out on a lathe, which is a machine that turns the piece of wood while using a sharp tool to shape it. Artisans then apply lacquer of bright and vibrant colors made by mixing natural and nontoxic vegetable dyes.
These lac-turnery products are carved out of hale wood, also called ivory wood, a local species of tree that grows widely throughout South India. Usually the entire tree is not felled and the tree grows back. Thus materials used in the craft are natural and eco-friendly.
In the last decade, with no proper support in marketing, the number of Channapatna artisans has declined considerably, and the craft was dying. With help from WorldCrafts, the artisans of Channapatna have been able to reach the global market, thereby helping the sales of handmade products and improving the livelihoods of the artisans and their families. WorldCrafts has empowered the artisans by reviving the craft, providing better working conditions and sustainable incomes, and creating employment opportunities in the community.