From time immemorial, India bears witness to rich wooden artefacts designed by those who were dexterous with the creation of such convoluted, yet gorgeous designs. Third century Hindu temples, screens and jaalis seen in Mughal architecture and figurines of Gods and Goddesses and animals were the variety that people formerly were accustomed to.
So when I came across the Uthra trio, the brains behind Woodcraft, my mind traversed to the time when umpteen examples of wood craftsmanship were found in the opulent architectural designs of doors, ceilings and windows of the yore.
Pradeep Uthra, along with his sons Dhruv and Karan Uthra, are involved in this longstanding craft of wood carvings for more than 25 years. Time had a role to play here too; it was Mr. Pradeep’s father who initiated his son into the intricate art of wood work and thus started the familial leaning.
Karan speaks about the business that started small in the capital and went on to become Woodcraft, “It was a family business that originated in New Delhi, where my father learnt the techniques from my grandfather. After shifting to Pune, my father started his own manufacturing unit and thus was born Woodcraft, which was also named by my father.”
Woodcraft deals with all kinds of wooden carvings, sculptures and jaali cutting work while also offering interior solutions. Karan elaborates, “We are the manufacturers of all kinds of wood artefacts such as doors, mandirs, figurines, etc. and also offer customised jaali designs in MDF, ACP, plywood, laminates and other materials. These are made in our workshop at Timber Market, Bhawani Peth, Pune.”
They also have a recently launched showroom in Pune. Dhruv says, “At our showroom we provide various products required by architects or interior designers to design a home such as designer laminates, designer sheets, PVC panels, wooden flooring, wallpapers, plywood, alabaster, Corian, etc.” Thus, Woodcraft can be safely tagged as a one stop shop for all interior solutions.
However, the sole driving factor behind Woodcraft is their one-of-a-kind wooden carvings which are 100% customisable according to the client’s requirements. They use sagwan wood for all products – besides jaali designs, which uses MDF – unless the customer specifically asks for a different type of wood. The wood is sourced from authorised dealers in Pune.
Often a customer might require a life sized figurine for their living room or an intricate, Mughal-inspired door to complement their interiors. At Woodcraft, this and more is possible as there is absolutely no limitation to the size of the sculpture or design.
The unflinching credit for this feat goes to Mr. Pradeep, the man responsible for all the sketches and drawings as per a client’s whims and fancies. Hence if you go to him with a photo or a particular theme in mind, he can convert it into a masterpiece. And if you’re not that finicky, then go ahead and take your pick from Woodcraft’s vast collection.
I asked Mr. Pradeep what his design inspiration is to keep coming up with such fantastic designs and he replies with a smile, “Our customers. If our customer can imagine it, then I can create the actual sculpture for them. And of course, there is no dearth to a customer’s imagination.” With a naturally endowed bent of mind towards this craft, Mr. Pradeep’s talent is seldom found in today’s mechanical age.
The timeline of delivery for the finished product varies according to the level of difficulty of a design. “The more complicated the design, the additional time it takes to deliver. For instance, a mandir would take around 10-15 days while a door can go up to 20-25 days to finish,” says Dhruv.
Sculpting and hand carving is a specialised form of art which requires specialised karigars. Finding and retaining such individuals would not be an easy task at hand, surely? Karan says, “Currently all our karigars have been with us since 10 years. But yes, it is very difficult to find a fine karigar to do this kind of a job and after hiring them we also train them to the particulars of handling each carving carefully without breaking or chipping them off.”
While wooden sculptures and customised jaali designs are their most popular products, they have recently launched a guitar prototype which will be a boon for guitarists. Says Karan, “We are going to provide guitar lovers a customised guitar made with the best available wood with an exquisite design on the sound box.”
So if you fancy a sculpted masterpiece for your abode, head over to Woodcraft where you will find Dhruv or Karan waiting to assist you in your endeavour.
Text By Rehana Hussain