By Srikanta Mohanty: “Once I was coming back from Puri- the wonderful town that has sea. I saw a magnificent rainbow in the sky. I cried for it. As our car passed by the small township of Pipili my mother bought me a wonderful appliqué work-full of catchy colors. I stopped sobbing”- Smiles Indrani as she shares the nostalgic ride with her close friends.
The row of shops introduces the place as cavalcade of vehicles pass on the narrow street. Eyes invariably get drawn at the combination of colors in the appliqué works displayed in the shops. Brilliantly hued canopies, dashy wall-hangings, multi-colored umbrellas, bags, pouches, cushion works with artistically done mirror works are few varieties in the appliqué works. As families have lived dedicatedly to pursue and flourish in this creative but inimitable art of appliqué making, the works have assumed global reputation.
The craft even enjoyed utmost popularity in 11th century AD as noblemen and kings patronized it to a great extent. Although, at the inception it subsisted in the ancient temples as decorative pieces, gradually it expanded with a wider range varying in traditional, domestic, and attractive pieces. The craft has passed through generations to come to peak stage of excellence. The artisans of this craft have added brilliant experimentation and innovation in this art and almost achieved perfection in quality
“The art of appliqué making combines in its folds fables, figures and fertility of imagination and it has ultimately shaped in to a rare craftsmanship. The blend of tradition with designs is simply matchless. It is something purely divine. The works have now even great demand from the western nations.”- Says Gobardhan Behera of Nimapada. Being an interior decorator, he never gives up suggesting his clients to make the appliqués part of their interiors.
As a part of tradition the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Subhadra get the full cloth coverage with appliqué works done on them during the “Rath Yatra” (Car Festival). With predetermined color assortment, the chariot of Balabhadra gets green and red, the chariot of Subhadra black and red, while Lord Jagannath’s chariot gets yellow and red. The remarkable appliqué works simply add grand looks to the chariots during the festival.