Creepy Crawly Creatures
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Going against tradition, a man decided to create his own destiny for the sake of his dreams. In the village Sawai Jai Singh Pura in Jaipur, Rajasthan, an ironsmith’s son, Hazarilal was so fascinated with little insects, that he had recurring dreams about them. As a child, he would bring out those images into reality with scrap iron from his father’s works. His father, who made tools and implements for farmers, was not too pleased with his son making miniature iron sculptures and Hazarilal’s passion for making iron figurines was met with skepticism.
Tradition dictated that Hazarilal would follow his father’s footsteps and carry on his trade. But he could not give up his fascination and his dreams of the six legged creatures, and he persevered. Slowly and gradually, his craft became known and appreciated by people around.
Today, Hazarilal ji Lohar is an award winner and his crafted iron insects draw big crowds at craft fairs and exhibitions, where he creates life like insect figures of iron in front of enchanted audiences.
Scrap iron sourced from junk shops makes the raw material for these little sculptures. A small portable stove is used to heat the pieces of iron to a temperature that it can be beaten, bent and shaped into the required form. With files and chisels, hammers and metal cutters, a blacksmith’s hardy tools, Hazarilal creates interesting patterns on the iron insect, giving it a striking artistic quality.
Insect wings are made from thin sheets of iron or brass, or in fact, any scrap metal that may look visually appealing. Thick iron wires, bent and curved, form the insect legs. He cuts small grooves on the body of the insect to fit these parts. The entire process is one of assembly, by fitting together pieces snugly, rather than welding or soldering them. Hammering the warm metal ensures that the pieces fit securely. Finally, a coat of wax gives a polished surface to the figurine and protects it from rust.
An interesting aesthetic language, that is unique to the craftsman’s creativity and imagination, is expressed in these amusing little creepy crawlies. Striving to create the insects close to their original size, Hazarilal makes some as small as half an inch in length. They might be miniscule in size, but making just one insect figure can take about half a day.
Butterflies, dragonflies, ants, grasshoppers, moths and even houseflies, insects that are an everyday, passing sight, sometimes annihilated as pests, are immortalized in iron for showcases, office tables and gardens as objects of art.
Hazarilal also makes miniature birds and animals occasionally, but bugs and flies remain his first love. Creating these charming little creatures from fragments of waste, he puts things in a new perspective, celebrating the beauty in nature’s wonderful treasures.