Article by Vidya Sastry
The article entitled “The resurgence of Stone Craft” deals with the importance of stone craft, its existence in the ancient India, how the people use it today and how to infuse modern techniques and technology to make “Stone Craft” survive.
The history of stone is the history of civilization. No other material has withstood the ravages of time to tell the story of what came before. Stones were used in the simple, small village houses, sophisticated urban houses, carved temples and palaces.
But today the use of stones in the architecture is fading. We could see them in sculptures for temples, folk products in village homes, masonry in urban houses. Stone is now related to souvenirs and fancy things.
This craft needs an urgent infusion of fresh thought and energy. Hand-crafted stone products fall into three categories.
Other than these they can be divided into
Products for domestic
Products for foreign market
The heritage of stone products is known only a little and their usage was dropped to a minimum. What has survived is the ‘chapatti’ rolling stones used in North India, ‘wet grinders’ in South India. The architectural elements are largely found in temple- buildings.
The council named Crafts Council of India (CCI) is taking measures to improve stone craft in India. It conceived a series of workshops to be conducted in various parts of India including Chennai, Bangalore, Agra, Pondicherry etc.
The workshop named as “Shila Shilp” was inaugurated in Feb 2004, and also released two volumes of publication “Stone Craft of India
” with illustrations of stone crafts in India. In connection to workshops, craftsmen were introduced to the institutions, tool manufacturers etc so that they can learn to work in groups technically and coordinate production. Consistence market guidance from the CCI was also provided.
The seminar and workshops proves that material and skilled people are available in India even today. By focusing on the correct point, stone craft could attain a new shape.