Channapatna Toys of Karnataka
Channapatna toys are manufactured by artisans from Channapatna in Karnataka, India. Channapatna is a small town located 60 km south-west of Bangalore, on Bangalore-Mysore state highway. The city is famous for its wooden toys and lacquer ware. These toys are manufactured in traditional or advanced small scale industries. These handcrafted wooden toys are made using traditional lacquerware technique and are colored with natural dyes.
Channapatna more often known as the Gombegala Ooru “Toy Town” of Karnataka has a legacy of toys which goes back to more than 200 years. Centuries ago artisans from Persia were invited to train the locals of Channapatna. They started by carving toys out of ivory wood initially then switched to rubber, cedar and teak. This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka. Today, this art and the craftsmen have broadened the horizon into several varieties of wood – rubber wood, silver wood, fine wood, Nepal wood, sycamore wood, red cedar, pinewood and teakwood.
Tools, Machinery and Color
Channapatna still uses traditional machinery and tools in terms of production equipments.
These are as follows:-
1. The artisans have overhead belt drivers that are driven by a small motor and one end of the belt drive converts the vertical motion into horizontal circular motion.
2. The artisans use various measuring equipments such as a compass, angles, planes and a wide variety of other such instruments.
3. For chipping they use a number of files and chisels of different shapes and sizes.
4. Coloring is done using vegetable dyes while the wooden block is still rotating on the lathe.
5. Apart from the mechanized or hand machines they use a number of other tools to manipulate the surface of the toys, such as a drilling machine is used to drill holes in certain toys, a chisel is used to develop grooves and create curves on the surface, the vegetable dyes are used to impart eye catching and bright colors to the toys to make them attractive for the buyers and visitors who visit the village. Moreover there is a wide range of files of different shapes and sizes used to further manipulate the surface for creating other innovative designs on the toys.
The Channapatna craft is a champion of curved forms and the excellent finishing makes it even more attractive.
The making process of the wooden toys involves the following steps:
1. Starts with procuring the wood.
2. The artists season the wood and cut the wood into the desired shapes according to the design.
3. It is followed up with pruning and carving the toys on the lathe which is machine or hand operated (for turning slender & delicate items, hand lathe is suitable )
4. Applying the colors using lac colors which are vegetable dyes. Lac is pressed against woodwork to be lacquered. Heat generated by friction softens lacquer. Vegetable dyes are used in the coloring process to ensure that the toys and dolls are safe for use by children.
5. Then the finished work-piece is filed and finished using sandpaper. The work-piece is coated with wax for sheen and luster.
6. The detailing of the figure is done using a permanent marker.
At the end of the process the toys are ready to be packed and shipped!
The products created in Channapatna are absolutely eco friendly, non hazardous and are very safe for children. The toys are without any sharp edges and non toxic. These products are made using soft wood and vegetable dyes.
Products include traditional toys, home décor items, corporate gifting and utility items made in traditional and contemporary designs.