Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 12: The Kerala Arts and Crafts Village, located at Vellar near Kovalam, a world tourism hotspot on the capital city, is all set to receive visitors. The arts and crafts village will be a world-class brand of Kerala Tourism. This handicraft village, situated within 10 km of the city on the NH 66 bypass to Kovalam, Vizhinjam and Kanyakumari will be an attraction to the visitors to the capital.

The Crafts Village features eight and a half acres of beautifully landscaped emporium, art gallery, studios, design strategy lab, special handloom village and auditorium. Pools, fair courts, game zones, bookshops, libraries, cafeterias, restaurants and walkways are also part of the project. Basic infrastructure like toilet blocks, office, kitchen, roads, etc has also been set up.

The project owned by the Department of Tourism provides livelihood to about 750 artists and artisans. The Craft Village was rebuilt and run by the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS), which got global recognition to the Sargaalaya Arts and Crafts Village under the Department of Tourism at Iringal in Kozhikode.

The craft village showcases about 50 crafts in 28 studios. Each studio gives the customer an option to see the making of the handicraft first hand and buy them. It has paintings, pottery, cane products, jewellery, home decor, home and office equipment, clothing, statues, curios, souvenirs, exhibits and tools made of wood, palm and palm fronds, bamboo, reeds, coir and cloth.

Handicrafts like Pattachitra (cloth-based scroll paintings) from Bengal and Odisha, murals of Kerala, colourful paper quilting originating in ancient Egypt, centuries-old Nettoor boxes, glass-stone ornaments, etc can be seen in the studios. The studios also showcase the finest handicrafts inside and outside the country, including curios, dry flowers, handicrafts made from paper to metals, ivory creations, Pooram crafts and hammocks. The woodwork category includes teak, rosewood and whitewood with products ranging from home appliances to toys. Aranmula Kannadi, Peruvamp musical instruments, Balaramapuram handloom, Muttathara wood carvings and Thazhava textile products are on the exhibit.

There is a weaving village that showcases all the traditional and modern styles of Kerala, including world-class handloom styles such as Balaramapuram, Chendamangalam, Kuthampully and Kannur. Visitors can see live all the stages of weaving including natural dyeing. A well-equipped design lab works closely with them. Training programs and exhibitions in collaboration with the Handicrafts Department to nurture the potential of weaving will also be conducted.

Visitors can interact with the artists at craft studios and also participate in building things. There is also the opportunity to make a souvenir of your own design and designer item. The possibility of accepting orders online and making and delivering the product of a customer-provided design is also being considered. The designs of the products are constantly changing to attract visitors.

Extensive programmes are being prepared to improve the quality of art and handicrafts to develop the market and to ensure better income. To make all this possible, there is Padmashree Gopi Master and Shilpaguru award winner, K S R Mohanan apart from several other artisans who are national and state award winners.

The paintings of the selected artists will be exhibited at the Craft Village Art Gallery. The Emporium Village will be home to an innovative market for world-class crafts and paintings from other states too. The spice garden, herb garden, vegetable garden and evolution garden will be an added attraction.

A library with a collection of great works on world, Indian and Malayalam literature will also be set up. There will be facilities for purchase, digital and non-digital reading. A game zone is also under discussion that could be developed into a training club in the future.

There are also plans to organize a world-class art and craft biennale and workshops every year based on a specific theme, including painting, terracotta, handlooms, sculptures and bamboo and reed products.

The crafts village would host food festivals and art fairs which would be distinct from the regular fairs. Overall, this handicraft village is gearing up to become the capital’s cultural hub.

The first phase of the Kerala Arts and Crafts Village will be formally inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan on January 16 at 6 pm. He will also release the syllabus of the proposed Kalaripayattu Academy there. Vincent MLA will be the chief guest.