Sand Art & Pipli Appliqué – The Historically Rooted Art Form of Odisha!

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Odisha, the mystical and fascinating land has a perfect blend of ancient heritage and modernism today!  Gorgeous locations, friendly people and exotic traditions make Odisha a hot favorite destination for Indians as well as foreign tourists! On one hand, Odisha has world-class architectural monuments and temples with rich history and tradition to brag about. On the other, it is the home of few distinct yet renowned artistry and handicrafts like sand art and Pipli appliqué work. Both these handicrafts are the most primitive craftsmanship of Odisha.

Carving beautiful and eye-catching sculpture with sand is popularly known as sand art. It’s a unique art form of Odisha which has gained tremendous acclaim both in India and abroad. When we are talking about sand art, one of the most common scenes to notice in almost all beaches of the world, is children building sand castles with spade and bucket. Of course, that’s a more innocent and simple form of this artistry. Pure sea sand mixed with water is all needed to create the magnificent sculptures which have become quite rampant on the sea beaches of Odisha these days. Sand art has become a sort of medium to express creativity of the artist and send a message to the world. Way back in the 14th century, we find mention of this art form in the life history of the renowned poet Balaram Das. The new age torch bearer of this art form of international fame is Mr. Sudarshan Pattnaik. He has given a new dimension and life to this art form. Mostly, his works talk about world peace, climatic changes and different alarming and major societal concerns. I’m pretty much sure that if you’ve visited the Puri beach, you must have witnessed artists carving sand figurines and different national and international models.

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Unlike stone, carving on sand is way easier. Hence, this art form is easy to learn. Within a short span, a learner gets to know the nuances of this modeling sand art form effectively. There are also institutes imparting training on this fine art. Tidal beaches have different shaped sand grains that actually restrict height and structure of a creation. Perfect sculpture sand should have silt and clay in equal proportion that helps to lock the uneven sand grains together. Sand architecture is the most sought after resources and the art form has gained huge respect and admiration with time. Treat your eyes with some of the awesome sand art creations the next time you visit Odisha!

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Pipli appliqué work is one of the distinguished handicrafts of Odisha which originated from a small town Pipli, 40 kilometers from Puri, Odisha. This small town came to focus because of its unique appliqué handicrafts with decorative motifs and colorful patches. Patching of colored fabrics on a base cloth to give a vibrant and attractive look is better known as appliqué handiwork. For over centuries, the town of Pipli has maintained the tradition in this art form, manufacturing different trasa banners, umbrellas, puppets, cover of shrines, home decors, bags, cushion covers, lanterns and other artifacts to name a few. This art form is an apt expression of the tradition and culture of Odisha.

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This gorgeous form of art is one of the specialties of this state. It’s considered that Pipli art form is almost 850 years old handicraft of Odisha. The word appliqué is a French vocable. Originally a French art technique, this handiwork first came into practice when there was an urgency to sew badly torn clothes giving them a new look. But now this art form has got momentum with innovative ways to make every piece an outstanding work of art! Small mirrors, embellishments, different fabrics and embroideries make the needle work just fantastic!

Four primary colors are used in Pipli appliqués, like red, white, black and yellow. With time artists have spruced-up this art form by adding other colors as well. Pipli appliqué is believed to be the core of the art and crafts industry of Odisha. Women are the main workforce behind this art form. It’s a steady source of income of this region. Normally a small size of this handiwork takes four to six hours to complete, while a large piece can take up to three months. The main textiles which are used in Pipli works are velvet, suede and casement.

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Lampshades made of Pipli appliqué are immensely popular and in demand among other products. There are more than thousand designs and variety available for lampshades. The color, fabric and design of these lampshades make them sought after and trendy. Most temples in Odisha use these handicrafts in different religious performances. Now the entire sewing is done by machines to keep up with the demand of this handwork. Huge numbers of foreign travelers love this art and this actually helps in restoring the glory of this creation.

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So if you visit Puri, make sure you spend some time in Pipli. It’s a wonderful and colorful place to be and your visit to Odisha is incomplete if you don’t visit this wondrous town. Rows of shops selling this beautiful art form keep this cottage industry alive and kicking!

Odisha has rapidly emerged as one of the oft visited places for tourists of different cultures worldwide. Heritage of Odisha is found profoundly in their festivals, fairs, unique sculpture, appliqué work, exquisite handiworks, textiles and lot more attributes. One of the lesser explored landscapes, Odisha is dotted with acclaimed architecture and monuments and exclusive handwork and design!

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