Nirmal Toys are unique because of their natural forms, light weight and durability. They are mainly crafted by hand except for the cutting machine that is used for cutting the wood in the initial stage of production. The skilled craftsmanship of the artisans and the use of instruments like “taapi” and “tochan” are special features of these toys.
The production process involves:
Seasoning of the wood
Cutting of the wood
Joining of parts (using “chintambali”)
Application of “paatu”(a mixture of tamarind seed paste and water), which is used to coat fine cotton cloth; this reinforces the joints of the articles. “Paatu” is then applied on the entire body of the toys with the help of a “taapi”. This layer of cloth and “paatu” ensure that no cracks appear in the joints later.
Application of “suddamatti” (clay found on riverbeds or near canals), water and gum on the form with hair brushes.
Nirmal toys are also very popular and are closely imitative of natural forms. Poniki wood is used for small products and teak wood for larger items. At one time Nirmal artisans used to make religious figures, but now only animals and birds are made. Birds are shown in flying formations of three or more. Wall plaques with painted flying birds are also common, as are brightly coloured depictions of fruits, vegetables, and animals. The gloss and sheen give an exclusive touch to these toys and dolls.