“The most beautiful part of my work is the sound of the bell, each bell.”
The bells, chimes and prosperity chickens, created by the artists of Indika are steeped in Indian tradition. Historically the metal bells were used to identify herds of cattle and goats because herders could recognize each bell’s unique sound and know if one of their animals hadn’t returned home. The musical quality of the bells is also believed to increase milk production. The larger bells were used to adorn temples, for religious ceremonies and as decoration.
Kailash goes on to say, “It is my family’s tradition and I will keep it alive.”
What started for practical reasons, to keep track of cattle, has grown to be an integral part of everyday life in India. These traditional arts are centuries old and now the income earned from the sales of prosperity hens, chimes and bells provides money for school, clothing, food and medical supplies. Passing on these traditions to the next generation ensures that these practices stay alive and continue to provide for the community.These techniques have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries.
These techniques have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. The artists of Indika start by using recycled sheets of steel. The steel is beaten and shaped into cylinders which are joined without any welding at the seams. Once the bells are shaped they are dipped into a copper solution, which results in the beautiful and rustic final look. The women make a dough out of clay to coat and protect the copper dipped bells during the firing. The bells are placed in the desert sand kilns where the steel and copper fuse to form bronze. After the firing the clay is removed, the tuning process begins, from the largest to smallest bell each is carefully hand tuned to perfection. It is the combination of ancient techniques and hand tuning that gives these bronze bells their unique patina and ethereal tone.
“I hope my art will bring peace, calm and beauty to the people who buy it,” says Janmamad Luhar. “It is my family’s tradition and I will keep it alive.”
“I hope my art will bring peace, calm and beauty to the people who buy it.” Says Kailash Kanwar.