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The name "Etikoppaka" brings to mind the beautiful lacquer finished wooden artifacts. It is an age old skill specific to the village Koppaka on the Eru (River Varaha).The artifacts are named after the village they are produced in and are called Etikoppaka products. Etikoppaka is a small village with a population of around 12,000, situated at a distance of about 65 km South of Visakhapatnam in the district of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, India. While the main occupation of the people of Etikoppaka is farming, more than 200 people of the village are artisans. Their livelihood revolves round manufacturing of toys, artifacts, curios and novelties from wood and lacquer such as candle stands to vermilion boxes; ear rings bangles, toys, mythological figures and carvings
Wood craft artesanThese artifacts are made of wood and coloured with natural dyes harvested from roots, leaves, fruit, seeds, bark and lacquer. The wood generally used is soft (Wrightia tinctoria) and has a very fine grain. Women and children gather the wood from nearby hills of the Eastern Ghats and leave it to dry in their courtyards for seasoning. This being a cottage industry, each artisan works in his own little hut, still using the primitive tools that his forefathers had used. These magnificently coloured articles are nontoxic and environment friendly. They are rich in colour and are a feast to the eyes. No synthetic dyes or material are used in these products in any form thus making them safe even for babies. lacquercraft
The process of making these wooden handicrafts is known as Turned Wood Lacquer Craft; or ‘Tharini’. Lac is a colourless resinous secretion of a number of species of insects.  Thousands of these tiny insects colonize branches of suitable host trees, secrete a resinous material and go into a pupa stage. Once the insect matures into an adult it flees.  What  remains on the host tree is collected. This is called the stick lack. After cleaning vegetable dyes are introduced to the lac through the process of oxidation. The end product of this process is the richly coloured lacquer.
The use of lac dye goes back to ancient times. It has been used in India as a skin cosmetic and a dye used in the woolen and silk industry. In Chinese tradition it was used for dyeing leather goods.

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Etikoppaka Wood & Lacquer Ware

C. V. Raju
Hasthakalanilayam, Etikoppaka, Yellamanchili Mandal, Visakhapatnam District
Near Hasthakalanilayam
Visakhapatnam - 531082
Andhra Pradesh, India
Fact Sheet
Nature of Business
Manufacturer
Additional Business
Trader, Supplier
Company CEO
Devi Prasad
About The Company
  • The traditional landlords of the village of Etikoppaka, the Rajus were permitted to settle in Etikoppaka over 200 years ago by the Maha Raja of Vizianagram. It is through their efforts that India's first co-operative sugar mill came to be located in Etikoppaka in the early 1930s. One of these pioneers, Shri Padmanabha Raju in the early 1900s, saw business possibilities in the development and manufacture of wood products coloured with lacquer and therefore went about identifying and locating the raw material for the dyes and processes that would enhance the quality and appeal of the wood products. However despite his best efforts, by the mid-1980s, he couldnot muster enough craftsmen to meet the desired ends. With the advent of the ever increasing employment opportunities in the sugar industry he saw a steady decline in the availability of craftsmen in the field of wood craft.
    cottage industryThe downward spiral however was reversed by one of Shri Padmanabha Raju's descendants, Shri Chitti Raju. He gathered the few remaining and ageing craftsmen together and exposed them to new designs and concepts at various national-level craft exhibitions across the length and breadth of the country. C. V. Raju's family, the erstwhile estate owners of Etikoppaka, took up the task of stemming the erosion of skills of the artisans, who would have otherwise migrated to urban areas as unskilled labourers. The first step was to encourage quality products, which would fetch higher value in markets beyond the local market. High prices and increasing demand for their products made the artisans realise the value of their skills. Despite his steadfastness it was left to Shri Chitti Raju's nephew, Shri C.V. Raju, to reverse this trend and make Etikoppaka a byword for superior quality handicraft.
    He today is the contemporary face of Etikoppaka's craft, who looked at lacquerware in all its dimensions from design to marketing. The Fine Arts Department of Andhra University, the National Institute of Design and even the National Institute of Fashion Technology were involved in aiding and promoting new designs and products.
    Shri C. V. Raju initiated the process of creating a separate co-operative association of the artisans called Padmavati Associates. His key strategy has been to strengthen local knowledge traditions of making vegetative dyes, develop new tools, techniques and methods for increasing shelf life of the dyes and generate new uses. In addition, he has also revived the vegetative dying traditions for local textiles. He has developed many new toys for which a market is slowly emerging in India and overseas. With the passage of time, the supply of many of the source trees for vegetable dyes started dwindling.

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