Natural lac collected from the forest is applied to a wooden piece to colour it, while it is turned on an electric lathe. The skill lies in manipulating the lac on wood, letting it heat and melt through friction while the piece of wood rotates on the lathe. The preferred colours for toys and household accessories are bright red, henna green, ochre yellow, deep black and orange. After the lacquered object is taken off the lathe, it is polished vigorously with a smooth stone to achieve a fine sheen.
Noor Salma, a craftswoman from Chennapatna, found that while she could produce the entire piece on the lathe, a skilled woodcarver was needed to do the calligraphy. She preferred to research and formulate the messages, practice calligraphy under the guidance of a skilled calligrapher to get the feel of it as an art form and then, once the design and layout was satisfactory, to go to a laser engraver to carry out the final embellishment.
The rounded lamp with the quirky flexible lamp going around it carries Noor Salma’s chosen message: 'nimma svanta dipavagirabahudu', which translates “be your own lamp”. The lamp with the upright wooden rod encourages everyone to create their own illumined path in life rather be dependent on others.