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The laminated wood craft with metal inlay originated in and around Ernakulam (Cochin)District in Kerala around the seventies. Rosewood, Plywood, Whitewood and Brass metal pieces are the main raw materials used in the craft. The rosewood and whitewood are cut into required sizes and pasted on the plywood pieces according to the various designs by using araldite as adhesive. After drying, the entire piece is fixed into the lathe machine for turning. Generally sheenlac is used for final polishing. The brass metal pieces are fixed in different designs to make the final product ready. The rare products include Anjali Face, Dancing Lady, Peacock, Candle Stand, Star Wheel, Kathakali Heads, Wheel of Furniture, Key Stand ,Butterfly etc.
Master craftsmen of Cochin who have years of expertise, engage in metal inlay work carefully and patiently. Experience plays a very important role here. They all start as helpers to a master craftsman and slowly develop their passion as a profession. It takes years for these craft people to master the art of woodcraft and specialize in metal inlay. Generation after generation these craft making techniques are passed without losing its quality. It is interesting to observer that machines are used seldom and hands do most of the work. The shape of the final product is entirely dependent on the craftsmans prior planning and expertise and the amount of time he is investing into these.
Apart from rosewood, other types of mediums are also used in carving and metal inlay. A wide variety of items are created from the metal inlay work, ranging from animals serving as mantle piece curios to utility items like pen stand etc). These products made in Cochin and other parts of Kerala are admired all over the world for their beauty and craftsmanship.
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