Pondicherry is famous for Traditional handicrafts, which are available here in very competitive prices. Some such handicrafts include fine fabrics, semi-precious stones, hand-made incense, perfumes, locally made candles, marbled silks and aromatherapy products. In addition, things like hand made papers, leather items, and textiles are also common handicrafts found in this city. In fact, most of these art and craft help local people in earning their livelihood.
In Pondicherry, you can find good leather products like shoes, bags and wallet as well as
Jewelry and decorative items made out of leather. In textile, you will get fine cotton sarees with elegant prints and nice quality that are very popular all over India. Other textile found here includes the very famous handmade ‘Khadi’ along with satin and other fabrics.
The concept of leather art came to the human mind when they used to kill animals for their food. Gradually they found the usage of leather with the intention of using leather for clothing .In India, leather industry was headed by the "Mochis" who by processing dead animals would take the skin of the animals for tanning. Mainly people from the rural parts of India are engaged in the ancestral craft of leather art, designing and manufacturing. The trade of leather tanning was inaugurated in the distant past and developed in India by the period around 3000B.C.
The main raw material that is used for making leather crafts in Tamilnadu is the skin of goats and sheep. The creating of leather crafts specifically the leather puppets follows some procedures like washing the hide, cleaning and decorating it with immense perfection and dexterity. Once the puppets are structured, then the dyeing and outlining of the borders are done. Apart from creating these leather puppets, the craftsmen of Tamilnadu create leather items that are used for home décor like lamp shades, wall hangings etc.
Various other techniques are involved in making a complete product, the most important of which is skiving (to disguise the edge of the leather without increasing thickness though fashion pundits have opposing views on this), creasing (to ensure an even fold), beating (with a mallet to increase effectiveness of the adhesive) and polishing (rubbing the leather hard with a smooth piece of stone or glass to give the leather that shiny surface, the pressure and heat involved also closes the pores and gives the leather a high and even density). Bags are made by stitching together the pieces using a sewing machine.