We were visiting Jaipur for a family wedding. I have already travelled to Jaipur a couple of times previously while he was visiting the city for the first time. So we thought, why not explore and take this as an opportunity for a good vacation.
We planned our trip and researched the best unique things to do in Jaipur. We didn’t want to only roam around the city’s hot tourist spots. And that is when we came across Rajasthan Studio and their masterclass experiences with award-winning artisans. We are so glad we came to know about these art experiences. As an interior design student, art has always been close to me.
After browsing through the multiple art masterclasses by Rajasthan Studio, we finally settled on Tarkashi, which is the art of brass inlay in wood. It was very different, and we hadn’t heard of it ever before.
Their team assisted us throughout the experience. We were really happy with the warm welcome from their team and the artist, Mohal Lal Ji.
Brass Inlay Work on Wood (Tarkashi) with Mohan Lal Sharma
His home, where we went for the workshop, was very simple and like an authentic Rajasthani home, giving a complete experience of old times. The room where we were taking the Tarkashi experience was decorated with his artefacts and awards.
Seeing such amazing art pieces was a sight to behold. We also got to see some of his incredible Tarkashi artwork, which took him months and years to make. The intricate designs and detailing were mesmerising.
With every experience he shared, we were getting more awed by this art form and his skills.
Co-Creating the Tarkashi Artwork
Mohan Ji demonstrated step-by-step the complete process of inlaying brass wire on wood. He first made a design on a wooden block. It looked so easy when he did it, but knowing the depth of carving and the ease with which he made the patterns is difficult.
Next, we tried inlaying the metal wire in the carved designs. It was fun. When we did it, we understood how much consistency and concentration are required. Next came the step of embedding very tiny crystals. Mohan Ji showed us an interesting technique to pick and embed them. We were amazed to know that when Mohan Ji started learning the art of Tarkashi under his brother, he only practised picking up these tiny crystals and embedding them in the wood in the initial few years.
Finally, he rubbed the wooden piece against the hard surface with his tools to make it look finer and polished it. In the last step, he added a keychain ring.
Taking Back Beautiful Souvenirs and Memories
We made a beautiful keychain with Mohan Lal Ji. It’s not just a keychain but a reminder of the beautiful memories we have made.
He showed us some beautiful boxes made with the Tarkashi work in his studio. The designs looked so amazing that we couldn’t stop ourselves from buying one of those boxes. The best part was that we got it at 1/5 of the price at which it is sold in the market.
Usually, such unique and hand-crafted pieces are sold at 4-5x prices because of the sellers involved and taxes, but we got it from the artist at the actual value of the wooden box adorned with metal wire inlay work.
We enjoyed meeting Mohal Lal ji and creating a keychain with him. He even treated us to the delicious ‘poha’ from Jaipur. Understanding that something that looked so simple could take hours to make was an incredible experience. The whole process was soothing for us. I wish that I knew of these unique art experiences.
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