A look at the process of fashioning silver wires into filigree objects
The first step of the process involves drawing a sketch of the design by hand.
The silver brick is melted and drawn into wires of different thicknesses using this boring machine.
Silver is melted and passed through the heavy portion of the machine, converting into flat wires.
The thickness of the wires is determined by the design. Silver wires of various thicknesses are used in the production of any one piece.
Silversmiths burn the thicker silver wires to convert them into finer wires.
The silver wire that is ultimately produced can be extremely fine.
Tool used for silver filigree work.
Tool used to twist the silver wires.
The thin silver wire is carefully twisted using the tool.
The needle used for twisting the silver wires.
Twisted silver wires ready for filigree work.
Die used to convert flat silver pieces into various circular shapes.
Die used to convert silver into small dotted shapes for finer designs.
Various forms of dies used by the silversmiths to give shape to silver wires.
Samples of shapes created using dies.
The workshops where all the silversmiths sit are generally located behind the showrooms.
They sit in groups of four or five, facilitating the complete process from twisting the silver wires to fashioning the product to cleaning the finished piece.
A team of silversmiths in their workshop.
Silversmiths cutting the silver sheets according to the design.
A silversmith curls and cuts off little pieces of fine silver wire, to use in his design.
A thicker wire is used to make the frame or farma.
The fine silver wire is twisted and moulded into fine and elaborate designs. These are fitted exactly into the frame.
All the individual pieces are assembled to make the final product.
An artisan works on creating an elaborate design.
Finally, heat is used to attach all the parts assembled together.
Fusing the joints of silver filigree work.
Silversmith in his workshop, fusing the joints of silver filigree work.
Silver filigree is first immersed in a solution of dilute acid for cleaning.
Cleaning work of a finished silver piece in progress. After immersing it in diluted acid, it is put in a polishing solution and using a brush and a brass tipped tool, is polished to perfect shine.
A tool like this is used to make the silver filigree piece shine.
Brushes used for cleaning the silver filigree products.
Workshops and workers for the wire-making process are different from the ones where the filigree work is done.
Those who do not have workshops work from their homes. The work of a craftsman does not stop during the rains.
Text: Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Chirodeep Chaudhuri
Artisans: Ruksar Ali and community filigree artists
Ground Facilitator: Ankit Kumar
Documentary Video: Ankit Kumar
Curation: Ruchira Verma