FEATURES OF MAJOR  CRAFTS. 
1. Applique
2. Art Textiles
3. Brass & Bell metal
4. Cane & Bamboo craft
5. Dhokra casting
6.Golden Grass
7. Horn Works
8. Lacquer Work
9. Palm leaf Encarving
10. Papier Mache
11. Pattachitra
12. Silver filgree
13. Solapith Work
14. Stone Carving
15. Terracotta
16. Wood carving
17. Tribal Jewellery

1.   Applique. 

Appliqué the traditional patchwork art has a long history in Orissa. It basically implies carry over of impression from one textile matter to another. The art form is typically dependent on four basic colours i.e., red, white, black & yellow to produce a striking effect. In recent years, green colour and embroidery work has been applied vigorously enlivening the craft even more. Cutting of cloths to sizes, stitching of cloths with different colours as per design and sketch is the main process of this craft. The work involved is mostly of hand. The appliqué work of Pipili. Butapalli, Khallikote, Tushra and Chikiti is known for its bold character and vitality. The artisans deftly stitch traditional motifs such as elephants, peacocks and flowers on umbrellas, canopies and fans on cloth background to form harmonious and colourful patterns with embroidery work. In fact, the basic inspiration for this art form is mainly religious in nature. The umbrellas and canopies for lord Jagannath, lord Balabhadra, goddess Subhadra and other deities carry some of the finest examples of appliqué work of Orissa. But with progressive modernisation, tastes have also become secular in content. Appliqué work, today, reflects these modern trends and is a flourishing industry. Items like garden umbrella and lamp shade could be able to fetch good export market.

2.   Art Textile.      

  The Art Textiles of Orissa characterised by the bold and unusual patterns, beautiful blend of colours and a luxuriant texture have an individuality of their own. The magic hand of the weavers of this traditional art has made it possible to convert the cotton and silk threads into beautiful sarees and dress materials. The skill of the artisans has proved Orissa to be the land of fine arts and clothes. The weavers of Orissa produce sarees and other fabrics in beautiful designs and colours using the hand operated looms. The distinctive feature of Orissa textile industry is the “Ikat” design. This design which finds its ancient linkages with the maritime activities of South-East Asia is an intricate process of tie and dye. Selected yarns are knotted before dipping them in separate colours one at a time and finally weaving them to produce delightful designs in multiple colours and in motifs adopted from nature. Some of the typical varieties of Orissa sarees are Passapali (Chess Board) from Sambalpur and Bolangir districts, Bichitrapuri (double Ikats) woven into temple motifs such as fish, lion etc. also from Sambalpur district, Sonepuri woven in zari thread from Sonepur district. Other varieties include Khanduas, Saktapada, Tarabali, Bomkai etc. These exquisite fabrics in large range of designs and variety of materials are durable and economical too. Alongwith cotton, tassar silk is also used extensively. The  availability of fine quality of tassar yarn is very popular for its natural lustre. 

3.    Brass  & Bellmetal.             

Brass & Bellmetal are the two earliest known alloys. Bellmetal ware occupies a pride of place in Orissa history. The artisans of Brass & Bellmetal are traditionally called “Kansari”. They are propagating ancient and modern method of manufacturing utensils and decorative items which are of traditional shape. They are used in temples and houses for religious and other purposes. The flexible brass fish of Ganjam, the cute brass figurine of Khalisahi, the brass & bellmetal wares of Cuttack, Khurda, Dhenkanal, Jajpur and Sambalpur are typical examples of Orissa’s metal ware, presenting a syntax of beauty and utility. These products are manufactured in the traditional process of heating and beating. Every brass and bellmetal utensil with its shape and metal composition has got its own characteristic and is known for its cooking and medicinal properties. In couple of decades, this traditional craft activity has received a great set-back, because of shift of demand for steel, aluminium and plastic products. For sustainable development of this craft, product diversification with introduction of appropriate technology is inevitable

4. Cane & Bamboo Craft.                       

Basket making from Cane & Bamboo was an art of ancient days and this has been a traditional profession of a sub-caste belonging to scheduled caste. The locally available cane & bamboos are used for production purposes. Canes are also procured from Assam. The cane and bamboos are split and polished into thin reeds by knife and woven. Procurement and splitting are done by men while weaving is generally done by women folk. Gradually a number of items are made from cane and bamboo such as furniture, fruit basket, tray, light stand, candle stand, pen stand etc. having utility and decorative value. 

            Banpur in Khurda, Talabasta in Cuttack, Tumudibandha in Kandhamal and Narla in Kalahandi districts are famous for cane furniture. Bamboo baskets and agarbati stick making are pursued in a number of places having easy access to get the bamboos from the forest area. By acquiring skill, decorative items are manufactured at Rangiamunda of Sundergarh, Kalahandi, Sudarkumpa of Kandhamal, Basudevpur of Bhadrak, Deogaon of Dhenkanal district. The items made out of bamboo roots by the artisans of Rangiamunda have very good demand in the market                                            

5.    Dhokra Casting.  

Dhokra casting of the “Situlias” is another example of Orissa’s metal ware. Dhokra is an alloy of brass, nickel and zinc which emanates antique look. (The wide product range on Dhokra with their antique look goes well with interior décor). 

            The process of Dhokra casting can be divided into two catagories : (i) the hollow method (lost wax, cire-purdue) and (ii) the dense method. In the hollow method, which is a tradition not only of the nomads like "Situlias", but also of Khodura, Kansari, etc. A clay replica is prepared slightly smaller than the object to be cast. This is the clay core. Once this is bone dry, hand-rolled threads of bee's wax (now of course substituted by petroleum wax) are applied on the clay-core, till clay is totally covered by wax, and upper surface is uniform the wax layer is generally very thin to reduce consumption of metal (upto 1.5 mm). Wax is occasionally smoothed out with fingers or warm metal-strip. Further modelling is done in the wax-sheath is covered with clay paste (made out of clay, dung, paddy husk and jute-pieces and vegetable paste). The pouring channel has to be left in this second sheath. The design of pouring channel varies from place to place, but everywhere, it is to be achieved that molten metal flows smoothly and uniformly. The clay is allowed to dry, and a few coatings are repeated. Then metal, melted in a pot made from clay/paste is poured in to the passage, which flows quickly, cuts into the wax (which is drained of through another passage), pre-empting the empty space left in between clay layers. The whole thing is allowed to cool. Then the outer clay layer is removed with a knife and metal image is taken out. The inside core of earthen ware may or may not be removed.   

The 'solid' form of casting is to be seen in metal crafts of Khoduras. 

            Here, the object to be cast is made from wax and extreme fineness is achieved at this stage itself. Then it is sheathed with clay-paste and allowed to dry. A passage is of course left in the sheath. After a sufficient thick clay sheath is completed, the whole thing is shown over slow fire, when wax melts out and is collected. After wax is drained out, molten metal is poured in and the structure is allowed to cool itself. Finally, the sheath is cut out and the object at the core is produced. Finishing and polishing was previously done with (i) alternate treatment with lime juice (containing organic acids) and vegetable alkalis, (ii) brushing vigorously with vegetable fibres. At present vary dilute sulphuric acid and sodium carbonate solution are invariably used and occasionally wire brush is used.

This craft is practised mainly at Adakata in Nayagarh, Sadeibareni in Dhenkanal, Kuliana in Mayrbhanj, Jhigidi in Angul and Narsinghpur in Cuttack district    

6.   Golden Grass.    

    Kaincha” a rich yellowish variety of grass is generally grown in swampy areas during rainy season. The products of this variety of grass owe their origin to the rich golden lustre of grass which is appropriately called golden grass. The durability and flexibility of these grass products are some of their special features. This grass is split and woven mostly by women folk to make a wide range of product like baskets, sets of curio boxes (one contained in another), table mats, coasters and hats etc. Jajang of Kendrapara districts, Gadamadhupur of Jajpur district, Japanga of Sudergarh district are famous for golden grass craft.                                                                        
                

7.  Horn works.
 

Mystical and awe-inspiring, richly textured and finely fashioned from the horns of animals, these hand crafted objects are a class apart. The horns that are mostly from buffaloes and cows require a high degree of skill and imagination in application. The artisans who excel in this art have used the specific texture of this material to mould all sorts of objects with a marvellous degree of fluidity of movement. The craftsmen of Cuttack and Paralakhemundi skillfully fashion horns into birds arrested in flight, animals of prey caught prowling, fighting bulls, fish-guzzling cranes, deer nuzzling young, elephant rolling logs, combs, pen stand, pipes, prawns, lamp-stands etc..

 8.  Lacquer   work

Lac comes from the resinous secretion of a tiny insect called Laccifier Lacca which is cultivated mainly in India. Lacquer ware has its origin in the Nawarangpur district. The work is executed in delightful folk designs like bangles, necklaces, toys, boxes and wall plaques by applying molten coloured lac and terracotta cores. Lacquer ware artisan families are also sprinkled in Berhampur and Dharakote in Ganjam district. Lacquer ware products also have great demand in the domestic as well as export markets.

9.   Palm leaf engraving

The ancient craft of palm leaf illustrations though limited to a few craftsmen, presents delicate and thoughtful mythological figures often joined together to depict stories from the scripture. Romantic figures drawn on small leaves now serve as bookmarks and greetings cards. This craft is mainly practised in the village Raghurajpur of Puri district, Kakarudrapur in Khurda district, Kendupali (Kalapathar) in Cuttack district and Old town area of Bhubaneswar.

10.  Papier Machie. 

Masks and toys of papier mache are made in Raghurajpur, Puri, Jeypore and some other places. These are used by folk opera groups who dramatise plays based on epics and puranas. 

            The materials used in the craft are paper, fevicol, gum and plaster of paris. These products are prepared very indigenously putting water soaked waste paper layer after layer up to a desired thickness over moulds of clay and allowing to dry. After it is dried, it is separated from mould. Over it a layer of cloth is put with a pasty material made of chalk and glue. After it is completely dried, the artisans paint with indigenous colour to bring out the desired effects. 

            The folk painters make beautiful toys with detachable limbs like nodding tigers, other animals and different types of masks in papier mache. Manufacturing of utility items like packing boxes, flower vases, etc., out of paper pulp has added a new dimension to this craft.

11.   Pattachitra

The folk painting known as Pattachitra (Canvas-picture) is a living art practised by skilled traditional “Chitrakaras”. The “Chitrakaras” or folk painters of Puri & Raghurajpur belonging to an indigenous school of painting which dates back to a remote past. The age-old tradition is still presumed by the Chitrakaras and their women folks. The speciality of pattachitra is its native character. The chitrakaras prepare a canvas by coating the cloth with a mixture of chalk and tamarind seeds. The artists paint on this leathery finish with earth and stone colours giving meaningful expressions to their artistic skills and imagination. The pattas usually have mythological themes from Mahabharat, Ramayan and legends concerning Radhakrishna and Lord Jagannath. The pattas resemble old murals. Now-a-days artisans are painting on tassar fabrics with natural colours.                           

12.  Silver filigree.   

Filigree is a unique craft. It has its own intricate design and superb craftsmanship. Cuttack district has a long tradition of meticulous and sophisticated craftsmanship in silver filigree works. Locally known as “Tarakasi” the silver filigree of Cuttack is noted for its delicateness and intricate workmanship. The art is ancient which has its origin in Persian countries since 15th century. This craft had sufficient patronage during the Moghul period but subsequently suffered for lack of encouragement and marketing facilities. Most of the artisans engaged in the trade had to seek other avenues for their livelihood under difficult conditions. In 1952, the State Govt. took a bold step to ameliorate the conditions of these artisans by bringing them in co-operative fold. 

            There are three categories of filigree crafts, such as Rose work, Siko work and Jali work to make filigree articles. The artisans first prepare a frame work for the article by means of a piece of silver wire drawn into thread as fine as a spider’s web. Then weave inner textures and set it inside the frame. The whole thing is then fixed on a mica sheet with an indigenous paste and soldered. To give it a finish it is burnt in fire and cleaned in soap nut water. Filigree work is distinguished from other ornaments and jewellery by excellent finish, fine foils, textures and snowy glaze. That is why they are presented as Souvenirs and given by important functionaries including the State Govt. to persons of national and international eminence visiting the State Decorative pieces of Lord Krishna’s chariot, Konark chakra and variety of other eye catching & spectacular silver ornaments are a craze for the modern fashion loving folk. The invention of machine finish is a threat to the sector which can be counter balanced by innovative creations of artisans.

13.    Solapith work.    

Solapith work is one of the handicrafts of the State which are closely linked with our religions, festivals and marriages. Sola, a herb like water plant growing in marshy areas, becomes light when dried. These are then cut into fine pieces (Pith) as per the requirement of the product to be made. It is mainly used in the dolamukuta for the bride & groom in marriage ceremonies. Although dolamukutas are now being prepared from coloured strings, beads and other glittering materials still the solapith product has its own taste and beauty. The snow white colour of the sola increases its beauty. Apart from dolamukuta & chatris (umbrellas) used for Gods & Goddessses, various toys are also made out of solapith. The solapith works are mainly found in Jajpur, Puri & Cuttack districts.

14.  Stone carving.

Stone Carvings of Orissa reflect a glorious cultural past and rich heritage. It was evolved over centuries by craftsmen who are descendants of the great builders of the famous temples of Lingaraj, Jagannath, Konark, Rajarani & Khiching where mute stones have been transformed into living expressions of multi facets of human life. The stone carvers from Puri, Bhubaneswar, Lalitagiri & Khiching are engaged in making beautiful stone statues and different objects of modern living like ash-trays, bowls, vases, containers with a traditional touch from sandstone, kochila stone, kendumundi stone, nilagiri stone, soft stone, serpentine stone, soap stone with the help of sharp edged chisel. The construction of temples by utilizing stones is mainly done by the stone carvers of Polasara of Ganjam district.

15.    Terracotta. 

Terracotta is an art form so universal in its scope, yet emblazoned with the distinct imprint of the native soil. The art of kiln burnt pottery ware provides the perfect counterfoil to the amazing legacy of stone sculpture. Terracotta artefacts demand a very high degree of application and motivation. The polish on the final figure conceals an enormous volume of tireless toil and watchful attention. The terracotta products of the State have attained eternal beauty and attracted admiration of art-lovers all over the country. The artisans prepare the head portion and then the body portion and finaly join the parts with clean finishing. These are then allowed to dry and the objects are put to fire in the bhattis. These products are then polished with specific touch. The products are brown or black in colour. Now-a-days, some artisans also paint the articles with the chosen colour of the customers. Barapalli in Baragarh district, Nuagaon in Khurda district, Batahaladharpur in Keonjhar district are famous for terracotta craft.

16.   Tribal   Jewellery.             

There are as many as 62 tribes in Orissa having different styles of living. It is seen that the women folk of most of the tribes, wear typical ornaments made out of brass/bellmetal/silver/white metals by a particular section of tribal artisans mainly found in Rayagada, Phulbani, Gajapati, Koraput, Nawarangpur districts. The significance of this community is that they make varieties of items as per the necessity, design and motif of each ethnic group. Hence their items are culture and community specific. However, some of those jewelleries are being used in the modern society. There is scope to develop this craft with product designing and diversification, specifically because of a ultra modern appreciation of such type of ornaments.

17.     Wood Carving.

A special charm of Orissan wood carvings is the blending of folk and classical forms. Wood carving in Orissa has both utilitarian and aesthetic aspects. The wood carvers make a variety of decorative and utilitarian objects such as toys depicting birds and animals, real and mythical, panel of alphabets, boxes, bowls, images of Gods & Goddesses, secular figures and innumerable other pieces made of light wood and finished with arresting colours, smooth polish, gloss and shine. Gambhari is widely used for its fine, smooth texture & light cream colour. Piasal and Teak are also used. Each of these wooden articles carries the imprint of concerned area. For instance, the traditional wooden toy makers of Puri & Baragarh possess a distinctly unique style. Similarly, the craftsmen from Khandapara & Puri make flower vases, jugs, bowls, and vermilion boxes. The wood carvers of Puri have been building for centuries, the famous chariots used in Lord Jagannath’s annual car festival. Folk and classical style makes these objects unique in the field of handicrafts, where the KUNDRAS of Dhenkanal play no less a role in boosting the activities of wood carving.