History of Channapatna Toys
The history of Channapatna toys dates back to regime of Tipu Sultan. The ruler had invited artisans from Persia for imparting training to the local artisans in the making of wooden toys and Channapatna toys originated during this time only. For about two centuries, ivory wood served as the raw material for making these toys. However occasionally, sandalwood and rosewood were also used.
Manufacture of Channapatna Toys
Channapatna toys has, over time, undergone much diversification and apart from traditional ivory-wood the artisans also made use of other woods such as teak, pine, cedar, sycamore and rubber. A number of steps are included in the manufacturing of these toys including procuring the wood, seasoning of wood, cutting them into desired shapes, pruning and carving the toys, colouring them and finally polishing the finished product. For colouring these toys, vegetable dyes are used which ensures that the toys are safe to be used by children. Over 6000 people in the town work in about 50 small factories and 254 home manufacturing units for manufacturing these toys. Assistance to these artisans is provided by the Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation (KHDC) for their marketing.
Promotion of Channapatna Toys
Channapatna toys previously encountered much financial crunch due to the lack of proper backing or marketing and were at the verge of disappearing. Later KHDC extended its support which revived this traditional craft. Training is provided to the artisans about changing trends of the industry which help them to keep up with the changing market scenario. Master craftsmen design the prototypes which are then introduced to the local artisans and the latter use them for creating beautifully designed toys and dolls. Lacquerware Craft Complex has also been constructed by the Government of Karnataka to help the artisans by providing them a manufacturing centre with 32 turning lathe machines in the town. They also receive financial assistance with the aid of the Dutch Government and the Karnataka Government's Vishwa scheme.