62-year-old M Shaet is a resident of Pallivasal Street, Vilacheri, which is popular for clay idols, in Madurai. Though Shaet has a collection of handmade seashell toys, there’s a constant demand for his Lord Ganesha seashell idols throughout the year.
In just five hours, he can make a hundred miniature pieces. This time, he has made Lord Ganesha idols with hard coconut shells as the base and decorated them with seashells and lights. The seashells that are procured from Rameswaram have natural colours. As many as 500 toys could be made with 30 kilos of seashells. These seashell toys are available at prices ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.200 and are being sold at commercial establishments near Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Tiruparankundram Murugan and Koodal Alagar Perumal temples in Madurai, Shaet told DT Next.
Further, the artisan said that his business would be at its peak during the ‘Ayyappa season’ from November. However, there was a decline in business during the COVID lockdown last year. Apart from Madurai, his handmade crafts are bought by traders in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Tiruchy, Shaet said.