Jiva and his sons have clearly spent days preparing for our visit, displaying the many projects we have begun. Many of the silpis are absent, a common event here, where entire teams disappear during festivals, returning to their home villages to be with family.
One of the new technologies (which we first saw a year ago) is shown by the carvers: carbide-tipped chisels. They are a fraction of the weight of the mild steel chisels we are used to. The old chisels are sharpened every 10 minutes, but these need only be sharpened twice a day.
The narrow shaft and light weight give the artist a finesse that shows in the intricate details.
Jiva takes us to the sunshade on which sits a graceful parrot, in cement. This parrot was sculpted by a specialist in Mahabalipuram, and it will be used to guide the hand of those men who transform it into stone. Eight of these will grace the corners of the Nandi Mandapam roof.
One by one, we review the projects. The entry steps design have been drawn by Selvanathan Sthapati on a large piece of plywood. This detail will lend a charm to the little bull pavilion that stands at the entry to Iraivan.
The Kauai map is nearing completion, and we have asked our Kerala visiting artist, Suresh, to offer some creative designs for the ocean and the base. Wait till you see what he did!
There is more to tell. Stay tuned...
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