Who we are
Bankura Bikna Dokra Hastajata Kutir Shilpa Kalyan Samity is a Cooperative representing Dhokra artisans of Shilpadanga. The objective of setting up the Cooperative was to create a consolidated identity for the craftworkers. The Cooperative helps artisans access government schemes, credit and finance and marketing opportunities.
Sale is mainly through fairs and exhibitions. Commissioned orders are often received. In 2013, MSME Department, Govt. of West Bengal nominated Bikna as a Rural Craft Hub of Bengal.
Where we Work:
They work with 163 dhokra artisans in Shilpadanga in Bankura district of West Bengal. BIKNA is composed of artisans belonging to the ‘Karmakar’ caste and making Dhokra items is the primary livelihood of the families.
How we work
The mud is sieved by women to make sure that there are no pebbles. It is, then mixed with water and a smooth dough is formed to build a rough structure and is left to dry in the sun. In Bikna craftpersons use tar and resin wood gum (Dhuno) to form an elastic substance and cover the mud structure with the elastic mix. For further precision, form, and fine detailing a layer of resin and mustard oil is applied. The intricate designs and the detailing is done with elastic threads made out of this mixture. After this, a thick layer of mud is pasted on the structure. The structure is perforated on top and metal pieces are introduced in it through a metal funnel. Once this is done, the whole thing is wrapped with the mud and put into the furnace. The craftpersons know the exact time required for the completion of the drying process. The products are then carefully taken out using tongs and the outer mud structure, which is now hard, is broken to bring out the crafted metal. Burrs are taken off with knives and files. Polishing wherever required is done with the help of buffing machines. Buffing is done by hand to give a shine, polish and to make the surface even. Sometimes gas welding is needed to join two pieces.
Craft processes certified for:
Lost-wax metal casting - Dhokra
Home décor items and jewellery pieces.