"Hi, I am Raj Kumar and I come from the fascinating town of Bidar, in Karnataka. Bidar is a small town filled with honest and kind people. I grew up with my two brothers and one sister, who is married now....
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"Hi, I am Raj Kumar and I come from the fascinating town of Bidar, in Karnataka. Bidar is a small town filled with honest and kind people. I grew up with my two brothers and one sister, who is married now. I studied up to 12th standard, because I wanted to do something of my own. My parents were already crafting bidri
art. It is a family tradition and I am proud to inherit this art, which is more than 600 years old.
"King Bahimani introduced the art of silver inlay, and since then, it has been handed down from generation to generation. And it still survives!
"I joined my parents in this art when I was fifteen years old, and by the time I was 20, I had mastered the art. Everyone in our family does this work. Today there are about 10 people assisting us in our work.
"My grandfather was an excellent craftsman. He received the state award for bidri art in 1970. He also opened a showroom in the same year. I was not born then but my parents used to tell us that back in those days, most of the customers were tourists since many in our town knew how to craft these pieces. Eventually, people from around India took interest in my family's bidri work, especially from Delhi, Bangalore, Hydrabad and Mumbai. We have participated in many exhibitions all over India.
"It is a wonderful experience to be part of Novica. For us, being associated with Novica means opening whole new avenues."
Raj Kumar follows an intricate procedure that begins with a red clay mold, which he fills with a zinc and copper alloy. When it solidifies, Kumar engraves the designs by hand with a grooving chisel before proceeding with the silver inlay. The piece is then polished and dipped into a special oxidizing solution made from soil found at the Bidar fort. The silver inlay is unaffected, but the zinc and copper alloy turns a lustrous black, giving rise to the color known as "gunmetal," creating a mesmerizing contrast with the shiny silver patterns.