“My work is my hobby”, Sri Anand Balkrishna Gadre said to me on a rainy Sunday morning, as we settled in at 69, Budhwar Peth to talk about his life and work.
We’ve all come across thousands of glass showpieces and figurines created by glassblowing, a technique that consists of inflating molten glass with the help of fire and a glass tube. The art requires some very serious skill, to say the least.
Sri Gadre’s skills are even more impressive since he doesn’t blow or use casts or molds but “welds” molten glass into figures. His technique is clearly visible in the video that we recently published.
Anand Gadre began working with glass at the urging of his father in 1977. After more than 40 years he is so skilled that he can create Sri Krishna and Lord Arjuna on a chariot pulled by five horses without any sort of model to guide him.
Most of his business comes from requests for idols of Lord Ganesha but creating figures of various animals is a personal favourite. “Here, I’ll show you; tell me which animal you want me to make!”, he insisted. As he started working on a tortoise for me, he continued to speak about his art.
It takes him about 30 minutes to create a small figurine of Lord Ganesha; one in a seated pose takes slightly longer. His figurines are detailed enough to include the weapons in Ganesha’s arms, designs on his crown, etc.
During this season, he makes up to 10 pieces of the deity every day! The largest one he’s made was about 10 inches.
The beautiful piece of Krishna and Arjuna on the chariot pulled by five horses took him more than 15 days.
Not only does he get orders from individuals, even merchants collect pieces from him to keep in stores.
While he was explaining all this, I was surprised to see that my tortoise was almost ready! He added some details to its shell and it was good to go!
If you’d like to get a lovely Lord Ganesha figurine for this Ganpati season, or gift some to your loved ones, we highly recommend that you head to 69, Budhwar Peth, near Tulsi Baug. In case you’re not sure about finding the place easily, send us a DM and we’ll gladly give you detailed directions!
All images by Prakash K.