Artisans say they come to the city three months ahead of the Durga puja festival, and this year too, preparations began from as early as June.
It is that time of the year when artisans from Kolkata and Krishnanagar travel out to far-away cities of Noida, Gurgaon and other places to earn a modest income for themselves, the only time they can. Artisans say they come to the city three months ahead of the Durga puja festival, and this year too, preparations began from as early as June.
City Spidey brings you a day in their lives.
The idol makers first create the figures or outlines out of straw, chaff and clay. The clay idols are then placed in the sun to dry. But dealing with wet clay and working in damp conditions can take its toll on the creators.
The clay used in the idols is sourced from the villages of Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. Sometimes, they get the clay from villages in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
Rain or shine, the artisans must continue their work. They can't afford to return their clients displeased, not even if it means working without light for hours on end, with just a candle to break the darkness.
Artists now use the natural, non-toxic colours. Earlier, they would apply chemical paints that would not dissolve in water, creating havoc with aquatic life. But now, dyes made of soil, ararot, seeds of tamarind, maida and papaya are used.
Usually, a spray machine is used to paint the major background portions, but the eyes, hands, ornaments and other parts require painting by hand.
As the resplendent goddess slowly takes shape, it is hard to not feel a tinge of sadness for the artists who relentlessly go about their work in dingy, cramped workshops, hoping to make a life for their families.