Udupi is the main Centre of Udupi district in Karnataka. It is also well known for its wood engraving. The artisans of Udupi are popularly known as Gudigars. Though the technology has improved a lot, the artisans of woodcarving in Udupi has practiced in traditional manner using manual tools to obtain enchanting design works without using any automated tools and machines. Engraved designs are inspired by the Hoysala (A Dynasty of Historical Karnataka) style of sculptor. The crafts persons also engrave the wood works, which are required for house decorative, furniture, mythological figures and also for architectural purposes. The process of the wood carving starts by selection of the wood as per the required size of the products to be made. There are two qualities of wood, softer and harder woods. Softer wood is chosen when intricate designs have to be carved. Harder wood is used for making furniture and other house hold items.
After selection of wood, the design reference sheet (which has the sketch of final product) is placed on the wood and the designs are outlined. Based on the outlines, hammering is done using chisel to engrave the marked design. Initially, rough carvings are done by chiseling to reveal the rough idol. Later fine detailing and minute ornamentation are made on the idol which is inspired by Hoysala Style (A dynasty of the historical Karnataka) of art. After carving process, polishing is done with sand paper to smoothen the outer surface of the wood. Once the product is completed the artisans apply natural oil to protect it from dirt, dust, moisture, weather, termites, water and finally worms and insect attacks.
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