Sculpture Industry at Gulbai Tekra
Updated: Jul 22, 2019
We visited the Hollywood of Ahmedabad at Gulbai Tekra, Ahmedabad. There we saw how sculptures were made. We visited two different sculpting shops. The first one employed usage of moulding clay (Clay + Limestone + Calcium/Magnesium Oxide)for making moulds to sculpt models of horses (that was the order that they were working on at the moment). They used this mould for making final models out of FRP which is made with fiberglass and epoxy resin which was done right inside the house where people lived and breathed the smell coming from these models. The workers still used it to make models. Once the moulds were set they used them to create more models out of POP.
Then we went on to the Ganesha sculptors who were utilising rubber moulds to create models for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. They were in the process of creating the initial mould. The rubber was obtained by melting tyre pieces and was applied gradually to the initial model made out of clay. Once the outer layer of rubber has dried, they proceed to cover it with POP to create a mould. The process of creating the mould was more of an art than just a manufacturing process. The mould can then be used to create models. The smaller parts of the Ganesha were made from similar moulds and then were later attached to the larger piece to complete the model.
List Of Problems
The workers generally worked at homes and still didn’t bother to care about the harmful fumes generated from the chemicals they were using. The heat of the season also made it uncomfortable for them to use masks. The sanding on the models was also done at the same place manually and released a lot of dust along with it. Manual sanding takes longer time and thus there is a longer exposure to the dust. The dust is harmful and has chemicals which could settle in the lungs and pose a threat for not only the workers but also the children. The sculptors used illegal and environmentally unfriendly material(limestone reinforced clay) for creating models, the usage of which is banned due to its polluting nature.There is unnecessary competition amongst multiple shops sculpting idols which reduces prices even further and puts more financial strain on shops and workers.
They had noticed that during the model making process, the smaller parts had to be made from smaller moulds, and in a larger number. So they had proposed a machine that would easily manufacture all those small parts for quicker production of the models.
The Sristi team
● Upon noticing the reluctance of the sculptors to use eco-friendly clay, the team had proposed a new sort of material to be discovered that would be strong while at the same time really cost effective and eco-friendly, so as to not harm the environment.
● The team also noticed that the workers were not aware of the harmful fumes that the chemicals they used were giving off. Moreover as most of these shops were home based their children were also around and were almost under continuous exposure of these harmful chemicals. The team could not devise a solid solution solution for this problem.
● The unnecessary competition amongst the sculptors was something the team noticed and came up with a solution to form unions of these small scale workers, where they can easily pool their resources, get financial help, safety tips and also help from avoiding any further problems. Forming unions will give them a chance to raise the prices of their statues and sculptures.