Puri, May 27 : Artisans of Puri in Orissa have mastered the art of turning waste into wealth as is evident from the papers that they transform into enchanting and eye catching artefacts.
Deviating from the usual stone sculpting and woodcarving, these artisans are making use of waste paper and moulding it into beautiful novelties and utility items.
What had started out as a lone venture by Fakir Samantkarma, has now been turned into a small-scale industry employing about 73 persons.
The artisans make craft toys, handicrafts, pen stands, photo frames and trays. The paper is first converted into pulp by soaking it in water. Tamarind gum is then added to it. A paste is formed by adding chalk to it.
This paste is then poured into moulds to form various artefacts, Which are then painted and decorated for a fantastic finish.
According to the artisans, these light handicrafts are very strong and don't break easily.
"All that we make is very strong and does not break even on falling. There are lots of handicrafts available in the market and which are made from Plaster of Paris and other materials. They break easily, but these handicrafts are strong and do not break," claimed Samantkarma.
Having tasted success with a high demand for these handicrafts in domestic markets, these artisans are now anticipating ample financial assistance from the Government to export their fine handicrafts a broad.
"The future prospects of this handicraft are quite good and this is not being made in any other part of the country. We are investing our money in this venture and are waiting for the Government to come forward and help us. We want to export our goods abroad," said Pankajini Panda, an artisan.
These beautiful novelties are in great demand in States like Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and Kerala.