Kasaragod (Kochi), May 23: At a time when the handicraft sector is affected by inflation and dollar-rupee variation, an old artisan, unaware of the situation, feels happy that his art work on waste coconut shells has fetched him a few dollars. Mathew, 86, a resident of a small hamlet in Kerala's Kasaragod district recently sold some of his coconut artwork to clients in the US, Germany and Switzerland.
Fascinated by a piece of work that he saw in a bazaar Mathew went back home and tried to replicate it. After few trial runs, he finally made it, and has never looked back since.
"I make models like petromax lamp, mugs, kettle, and flowers, which I prepare according to my wish and design. Recently I got a chance to send it abroad, fetching me good money," Mathew says.
He got around Rs 2000 per piece, which is a good return compared to the local market price. Here, in his hometown, no one pays the value of his labour, but these orders from abroad gives him encouragement.
This gifted artisan carves out magnificent handicrafts with locally made tools. He never plans or draws before creating any piece. Nor does he design on paper. The multi utility nut is used to carve out gorgeous collectibles like containers, boxes in different shapes sizes, and show pieces, etc.
India's share in international handicrafts is just about two per cent; the world market for handicrafts is estimated to be of the order of 235 billion dollars. Indian Handicrafts is expected to triple its export turnover to Rs 39,000 crore (excluding carpets) by 2009-10, which will in turn create around 20 lakh new employment opportunities.