The katho kama craft of Odisha dates back over thousands of years and is immensely elaborate and meticulous. The installation of carved and painted wooden idols of deities is traditional in the local shrines of Odisha. The idols are also carved for installing in the houses.
Gambhari and sagwan are the common woods used. The wood carving is finished with the help of chisels, saws, hammer, and sandpaper. An adhesive called atha, which is made from to seeds and chalk powder is applied to the carved out wood. This helps in closing the pores of the wood so that the colours to be painted do not seep through. The next step involves the application of a layer of white paint over which the details are painted on with enamel paints. The painted object is then coated with a mixture of lac and spirit. This gives the wood a smooth and lustrous finish and makes the colours permanent and the icon waterproof. Finally, the article is made more attractive by pasting sequins.
Besides idols of deities, animal figures, toy items, almirah and utilitarian items are made by the Odia craftsmen. Relief work on furniture and jaali work is also carried out.