Thankful for Artisans: Paper Mache Ornaments from Kashmir
- The amazing art of Kashmiri paper mache has been passed down by master artisans, from generation to generation, for centuries.
Our Mela Artisans have created a beautiful collection of Kashmiri paper mache is of brightening up your home make trimming the tree a beautiful tradition for years to come.
There are two important aspects of Kashmiri paper mache- Sakhta and Nakashi.
Sakhta involves making the foundation of the paper mache figurine or object with the paper pulp, while Nakashi is the final step of painting and decoration.
In the Sakhta stage paper pulp is soaked in water for three or four days. It is then put in a stone mortar and ground so that all of the paper is uniform in its consistency. The pulp gets left in the sun to dry before being mixed with a kind of rice glue.
A mold made of clay or wood allows the artist to shape the paper and glue mixture around it. The paper is taken off the mold before it is completely dry, and then shaped and lacquered to make the outside smooth. After the item has gone through the smoothing process, a thin layer of paper protects the outside and will eventually keep the outer layer of paint from cracking off the finished product.
During the Nakashi stage, a base coat of paint is applied. Then the artist makes their design by hand on the outside of the paper mache object, which means no Kashmiri paper mache item is the same. Traditional artists often use colors derived from minerals, organic, or vegetable bases.
Kashmiri paper mache items are individually created, and each one tells its own special story. Like all Mela items, each is made By Heart, By Hand.