Inheriting the unique art from her mother, Neli Chachea from Songsong village in Manipur has been conjuring up the dolls from maize husk and silk.
Maize husk might be a provender or animal fodder for many but for Chachea, a florist by profession, it is more precious than gold. She decided to use her skills of making exquisite dolls into full time vocation and has drawn a great deal of customers ever since she established the business.
Living in the family of five brothers and three sisters and running a business of selling fresh flowers, she had started the venture of making dry flowers and dolls some years back. People often discard maize husks in Village as a wasteful product that she uses in making beautiful dolls.
The body parts of the dolls are made of maize husks and the hair is made by maize silks. The dolls are plumaged with suited dry flowers according to the designs desired by the customers.
According to her, the unique craft has found markets not only in her native state but in states of Nagaland, Mumbai and other places as well.She can accomplish 10-12 dolls per day approximately.Her dolls are priced at Rs 200 up to 500 as per designs.
Having trained many students in doll-making and flower and basket arrangements at Mysore and Bhopal, she has been honoured for her contribution in handicrafts in many Flora and craft expo organised by the Government of India in past.
Her store is named ‘Ideas Florist’ at Mao Gate and all of her products were displayed at the store.She firmly believes that anything can be made out of nothing if there is strong determination and perseverance.
Her invention offers a testimony to the fact that toys are a reflection of culture and we shall continue to celebrate the local craft with these dolls free of any labels.
Cover image by ePao