Today was a slower day, which is a nice change of pace from how hectic things were yesterday, running from place to place in a brand new city.
We started off by going back to the painters from yesterday and sitting with them while they worked on the figures we gave them. They had already carved some detail into Vasuki, outlining each of the snakes on his head. They started painting the base layers on each one while we watched and talked to them. Well, Manjari talked. I waited and got translations. They shifted between the 4 figure they were painting quickly, painting a layer, then putting it back on the rack to dry while they picked up the next dry one and painted another layer on it.
After a while, we decided to stop looking over their shoulders so they could start getting really creative. Besides, we had some more artisans to meet. This time it was a pair of carvers, and they blew us away.
The attention to detail, how the skin looks and hangs just like it should, the different textures. We went on a tour through their workshop and small storage area, while they showed us what kind of work they typically do. They have a wide range of capabilities, and it was immediately clear that they had a lot of experience.
It turned out that their family has been carving for 5 generations, and these two brothers were the most recent generation. However, the market and pay for carving has been going downhill rapidly in recent years. The brothers opened up to us about how times have gotten so hard that they stopped their third brother from going into the family trade, and have been encouraging their children to go into different fields. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, especially when you see the quality of work they do.
Their style is very different from what we were thinking, but after seeing their work, we decided to show them one of our characters (Garuda), and let them go crazy creating one from scratch. There is no way this would be able to be mass produced, but it the quality is anywhere near their other work, we may be able to find another purpose for it, such as a limited edition toy. Plus I really want to see what they do with our characters.