Bell Metal work
From Idols to lamps called Vilakku, Bell Metal Casting has been an integral craft form of Kerala. One would not find a single house in the state which does not own a Vilakku lamp. Harigovindan, the expert craftsmen who still practises the art like his forefathers, explains, “Our practice of sculpting and creating these pieces is deemed holy, and every facet of the process is begun, done, and completed with prayers.”
With no schematic diagrams for his aid, the Moosari makes an exact replica of the final product in wax made efrom tree resin, pure beeswax, and groundnut oil. It is then coated with several layers of clay. The metal is heated in a mud crucible called the moosha, from which the Moosari get their name. The molten metal is then poured in through the inlets, and taken out of the furnace to cool down. After breaking the clay mould open, the casted piece is rubbed to remove any traces of clay stuck onto it. The craftsperson then commences working on the detailing of the piece which is sand papered with emery paper for a further smooth finish.