M. Ayub from India
is the artisan in the spotlight this week
"I was born in the valley of Kashmir known for its rich tradition of master craftsmanship. The valley of Kashmir abounds with tall sturdy trees like walnut and Chinar. It was our family tradition to make artifacts and artistic furniture from walnut wood. I have pursued this craft since I learned it in my boyhood. Over the last decade, militancy in Kashmir has done tremendous disservice to the industry and we were compelled to open major outlet in New Delhi.
"Walnut wood products are completely carved by hand. The wood is obtained from very old and at times dead walnut trees, dumped in under the shade for dehydration for two to three years. No artificial color is ever used. They are rubbed with agate stone before a wax polish is applied. It is a colossal investment in terms of time and dedication for churning out one finished product of walnut wood.
"Today, this is a dying craft. Industry in the valley has dwindled due of disturbances. Moreover, the new generation doesn't possess the amount of patience required to craft walnut wood items. However I would want it to continue since our previous generation had dedicated themselves to excellence in this craft. Keeping the demands of changing times in mind, we make German and Italian designs of furniture for European market."