Following four Mega Clusters are carrying forward the age-old tradition and skill sets. They are also providing significant employment opportunities. It may be noted that the above crafts/products also contribute significantly towards overall handicraft of the country.
1.BAREILLY MEGA CLUSTER
Bareilly is a major centre of handicraft in India. Major crafts of the cluster are:
- Zari & Zardozi
- Cane & Bamboo (Furniture)
- Terracotta (Pottery)
- Kite Making and Manjha
- Wood Carving
- Durrie Making
ZARI & ZARDOZI
Embroidery done with metallic threads forms the Zari and includes Zardoz, Kamdani, Mina Work,Kataoki Bel, Makaish, Tilla or Marori Work, Gota Work, Kinari Work.
Basic Material – Silk, zari, cotton, polyester, chiffon, jacquard loom; dori (thread; 80no./60 no., mercerized yarn(dhaga)30 no.
The raw materials required for making Zardozi embroidery are procured from the local market in bulk and stored for later use. The materials used are as Gold and Silver Threads, Metal Wires, Dabka and Sitara, Kardana and Pootki Mooti (Beads), Shiny stones, Kadiya (Chalk Powder):
Coloring Material Bukani (colour powder).
Adda (Wooden Frame) – It is a wooden adjustable frame consisting of four wooden bars. The cloth on which the embroidery is supposed to be done is stitched on the two horizontal bars and stretched. It is then fixed tightly and locked on the other two vertically parallel bars. This prevents the cloth to move while working and also enables clear vision and faster movement of the tools.
Aari (Needle) – Needle is the main tool in the Zardozi embroidery. It has a hook at the tip and wooden handle at the back.
CANE & BAMBOO
The main frame of the furniture is heat bent while seating elements are either woven from splits or fitted with whole elements.
Sofa sets made with heat bent cane, joined with nails and bound with cane splits. Products ranging from household implements to construction of dwelling houses to weaving accessories to musical instruments are made in bamboo. Minimum mechanical devices are used in the craft, which is mainly a household industry.
Cane & Bamboo Furniture are High Value items. Other products of Cane & Bamboo are Baskets, Jhoolas, Moorahs, Pen stand, Decoratives, Planters, Flower vases, Bamboo sheet etc.
Raw Cane and Bamboo are sourced mainly from North Eastern States of Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
The earthen lamp or diya, pots, figures, toys etc. mark the age-old tradition of clay and pottery. The range of products include gharas (water pots), diyas, gamlas (flower pots) animals, figurines of divinities and decorative.
The potter patterning on their wheel and creating all kinds of earthen items rare scattered in a large number of villages in Bareilly.
Raw material for this craft is ordinary clay derived from the bed of water bodies like river, ponds and lakes. The clay is cleaned, mixed and then shaped either by hand or wheel or molded into desired objects. The items are then dried, fired and glazed and per the requirement. Generally in India the items are fired through locally made small kilns.
The potters commonly use old and traditional wheel which is driven manually. The power operated potter wheel has been recently introduced that enhances the productivity and quality.
Durries were originally the poor cousins of the Carpets meant purely as a utility product and lacked hugely in terms finesse design and ornamentation. Training as per market demand, latest designs, modified technologies, colour combinations in consonance with the latest market trends will definitely support the durry artisans in income generation.
Cotton and Wool are used as warp and weft respectively in making Panja Durries.
Dyeing is an important part of the process of durry making. The artisans mostly dye the yarns at a very smaller scale by using small tubs in their own house. The dyes used in this process are vegetable dyes (which use indigo, harad, mangeetha, pomegranate peel etc.) and chemical dyes.
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool (knife) in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object.
- Carving knife– A specialized knife used to pare, cut, and smooth wood.
- Gouge – A tool with a curved cutting edge used in a variety of forms and sizes for carving hollows, rounds and sweeping curves.
- Coping saw – A small saw that is used to cut off chunks of wood at once.
- Chisel – Large and small, whose straight cutting edge is used for lines and cleaning up flat surfaces.
- V-tool – Used for parting, and in certain classes of flat work for emphasizing lines.
- Veiner – A specialized deep gouge with a U-shaped cutting edge.
- Sharpening equipment, such as various stones and a strop: necessary for maintaining edges.
A special screw for fixing work to the workbench, and a mallet, complete the carvers kit, though other tools, both specialized and adapted, are often used, such as a router for bringing grounds to a uniform level, bent gouges and bent chisels for cutting hollows too deep for the ordinary tool.
Kite making was introduced in India during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Alam. The tribe of kite makers is known as Patangbaaz.
TOOLS AND RAW MATERIALS
The raw materials are purchased from the local markets which are easily available. Tools and raw materials used for making of a kite are:
- Cotton Thread
- Kite Paper
- Bamboo Stick
- Design Stencils – Design Stencils are used in marking the shapes and designs of the kite.
- Enamel Paint – Enamel paint is used to color the wooden firkhi.
- Hammer – Hammer used to hammer the nails to join the parts of the product.
- Plastic and paper cylinder rolls – Plastic and paper cylinder rolls used as the body for firkhi.
- Screen Printer – Screen printer used to print the name of the company on the product.
- Saw dust and Adhesive – Mixture of saw dust and adhesive is applied on the wooden firkhis to fill the cracks.
- Cotton Thread – Cotton thread is used to fly the kites is dyed with vibrant colors to make them look attractive.
- Firkhi – Product on which the kite thread is spun.
- Color Powder – Color powder to dye the threads.
- Cooked rice, glass powder, glue, color powder, glass powder, lime stone and other like Isbgole ki bhusi and soap ingredients are mixed and applied on the thread.
2.LUCKNOW MEGA CLUSTER
Chikankari is a famous and popular embroidery work that is known all over India. The 400-year-old art of Chikan embroidery in its present form was developed in Lucknow and it is the only place to preserve this art to this day. It is mainly practised in and around Lucknow, famed for its tehzeebor refined style of behaviour where chikan reached its most elaborate and distinctive form.
Chikankari is famous as ‘shadow work’ and is a very delicate and artistic hand embroidery done using white thread on fine white cotton cloth usually fine muslin, or chiffons. This work has adapted additional embellishments like Mukaish, Kamdani, Badla, Sequin, bead and mirror work as per the demand in market Sometimes yellowish muga silk was also used in addition to the white thread. Chikan embroidery is mostly done on fabrics like, Cotton, Semi Georgette, Pure Georgette, Crepe, Chiffon, Silk etc. The work is done on topis (caps), kurtas, saris, cogds (a kind of scarf) and other outfits.
It is intricate embroidery involving 36 types of stitches produced on textiles.
Tepchi, Bakhiya, Hool, Zanzeer, Rahet, Banarsi, Khatau, Phanda, Murri, Jali, Turpai, Darzdari, Pechani, Bijli, Ghaspatti, Makra, Kauri, Hathkadi, Banjkali, Sazi, Karan, Kapkapi, Madrazi, Bulbul-chasm, Taj Mahal, Janjeera, Kangan, Dhania-patti, Rozan, Meharki, Chanapatti, Baalda, Jora, Keel kangan, bulbul, sidhaul, ghas ki patti
3.BHUJ (KACHCHH) MEGA CLUSTER
The crafts of Kachchh are deeply integrated into the lifestyle of the communities who practice and utilize them. The exclusive handworks exhibit the craftsmanship of the people. These works are quite famous all over the world. The craftsmen still follow the conventional method in designing their art work, and this is what makes their work quite unique. Major crafts of the cluster are:-
- Clay Relief Work
- Kachchhi Embroidery
- Mirror Crafts Of Bhuj
- Ajrakh And Block Printing
- Tie-Dye (Bandhani Or Bandhej)
- Kutch Embroidery
- Artistic Weaving (Woolen Shawls)
- Rogan Painting
- Wood Carving
- Copper Coated Iron Bell
- Leather Work
CLAY RELIEF WORK
BHUNGA, the circular huts prevalent throughout Kachchh, are made of clay alone or bamboo chips plastered with lipan, a mixture of clay and dung, and have wood based thatched roofs. The lipan on the walls, partitions, doorways, lintels, niche, and the floors of the bhunga sport elaborate bas relief decorations that consist of okli-textures created by the impressions of fingers and palms-and sculpted forms that are inlaid with mirrors. These patterns are usually made by the women of the house while the men perform the task of digging the clay and carrying it from its source to the worksite or storage hut.
MIRROR CRAFTS OF BHUJ
Handicrafts are a way of life in Kutch and what makes it so unique, colorful and therefore well visited from guests from all over the world interested in exploring crafts.
Mirror work is done on bags , wall hangings, decorative items, dresses etc
AJARAKH AND BLOCK PRINTING
Gujarat has been centre of printing and resists dyeing for centuries. The combination of the two techniques is seen in ajrakh, traditionally a blue and red dyed and printed cotton cloth that is found in Kutch, most notably Ajarakhpur, Anjar, Dhamadka. Ajrakh (a term thought to be derived from azraq the Arabic for blue) has a multitude of uses.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Hand carved wooden blocks of different pattern used to print the design on fabric.
• Printing platform made of layers of sponge sheets and cloth.
• Ball pins to fix the cloth to the printing platform.
• Color trays to hold the color solution.
• Vessel to boil and dye the fabric.
• Water tank to wash the fabric.
- Cotton cloth called as latha is the basic material used for printing.
• The colors are made from natural ingredients such as iron rods, jaggery, tamarind seed and turmeric powder.
• The clothes are washed with hardae (process) solution i.e. Myrobalan.
TIE-DYE (BANDHANI OR BANDHEJ)
It is a technique in which a pattern is created on cloth by tying off small circles and making them resistant to dye. It is carried out in several parts of India, especially Gujarat but the finest quality work is still done by women and girls in Kutch. Tie-Dyed Textiles are mostly used for women veils (Odhni) or dresses (Aabha) in Kutch although they are widely used for other garments such as sarees or turbans in other parts of Gujarat. These garments are mainly in Red Silk often combined with back in a classic Khatri Design.
Raw materials required for bandhni are – muslin, handloom or silk cloth, ordinary thread for tying, starch and colors for dyeing. Traditionally vegetable dyes were used but today chemical dyes are becoming very popular. The tools required are also very basic – wooden blocks for marking designs and the simple implements for dyeing.
The major products in this craft is different types of Patches, Chaniya Choli, Ghaghra dress materials, Bags, Quilts, Cushion Cover, Bed Sheet, Sarees etc. Raw material that consists of Silk yarn, Cotton yarn, Mirror stones are procured from local markets as well as Ahmedabad, Mumbai & Delhi. Almost 16 types of communities wise Embroidery work are being practiced in Kutch such as Ahir, Rabari, Mutwa, Soof,Jat, Pakko, Nen, Ari etc.
Suf: This embroidery is based on the triangle called ‘Suf’ which is counted on the warp and weft of the cloth where the stitch is worked from the back. Artisans never draw the designs on paper instead they straight away stitch. Their designs display immense detail in filling symmetrical patterns with tiny triangles.
Khaarek: This is a geometric style where the artisans work out the structure of geomtric patterns with an outline of black squares, then fill the spaces with bands of satin stitching that are worked along warp and weft from the front. Khaarek embroidery fills the entire fabric.
Paako: Paako means solid therefore it is a tight square chain and double buttonhole stitch embroidery. It is often finished with black slanted satin outlining. The motifs of paako are primarily floral arranged in symmetric patterns which are sketched in mud with needles beforehand.
Rabari: Rabari has mirrors in a variety of shapes and patterns in chain stitch. It is then decorated with a sequence of stitches in vibrant colors. Artisans also use decorative back stitching, called bakhiya, to decorate men’s kediya/ jackets and the seams of women’s blouses.
Jat: Derived from Garasia Jats who were Islamic pastoralists who originated outside of Kutch. Garasia women make geometric patterns in counted work based on cross stitch studded fabric with minute mirrors.
Mutava: These are a small group of Muslim herders who have an exquisite style of stitching comprising minute renditions of local styles: jat, paako and khareek work. their technique is fine and geometric.
ARTISTIC WEAVING (WOOLEN SHAWLS)
Kutchi weavers are very famous for their artistically weaved woolen shawl. Main craft pockets in Kutch are Bhujodi, sarli, Mota Vanora, Kotai, Kanderai, Jamthada etc.
Rogan is the technique of painting on fabric, crafted from thick brightly coloured paint made with castor seed oil. Castor is a local crop grown in Kachchh, and artists most likely sourced it from farmers originally. Artisans place a small amount of this paint paste into their palm. At room temperature, the paint is carefully twisted
into motifs and images using a metal rod that never comes in contact with the fabric. Next, the artisan folds his designs into a blank fabric, thereby printing its mirror image and completing the Rogan painting. The “Tree of Life” design is most famous in Rogan painting, inspired by traditional Persian designs.
Kachchh is apart of large confluence of cultures linked across the Thar Desert. The Desert encompasses a unique cultural complex, inclusive of Sindh in Pakistan, Barmer and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Traditional carved wood can be found in all of these areas, and is linked by common design though each region brings a unique flavor and attitude to their motifs. The carved designs in wood are evocative of the motifs found in the embroidery styles of the region. They are also embellished with mirrors which further simulate the embroideries. The Suthar and Harijancommunities continue to make these intricate works of carved wood art today, selling most of their stock to local markets.
COPPER COATED IRON BELL
Like any other craft, the craft of copper coated bells evolved from the need of the time and region. Metal bells are made from the collective work and skill of a family. First, men shape each bell. They hammer rectangular strips of recycled metal into a cylindrical hollow and weld a dome-like metal crown to the bell’s cylindrical body. Next, artisans bend and attach a metal strip to the crown so the bell can be hung. Once the bell is shaped, women dip it in a solution of earth and water. They cover the wet bell with a mixture of powdered brass and copper. The bell, with its powdered coat, is wrapped in a pancake of local clay and cotton and placed in a kiln to bake. A ringer, made of a dense wood called sheesham, is attached inside the bell,
converting the hollow metal object into a music maker. Natural resources used for copper bell making are mud, wood of ‘Prosophis Julifera’ and water.
Leather artisans of Gujarat are adept at sculpting and stamping the material into a variety of products which are finding favor in today’s contemporary market. Other craft techniques such as appliqué and embroidery dovetail into leather crafting to create products having a unique identity of their own. Sculpted figurines, filigreed ornamental boxes, stitched bags and purses combs are some of the design innovations born out of leather. This material lends itself brilliantly to functionality in the form of belts, footwear, stationary material, mirror frames and upholstery. Range of Techniques: Leather Sculpting,LeatherStamping,Embroidery,Patch Work
The Vadhas are a nomadic community that moved throughout Kachchh through villages like Nirona and Jura. They collected natural stones and colors from forests, created lacquer goods, and bartered them with the Maldhari community, who they had close ties with. Lac turned wood is practiced using simple tools- a self-made lathe, a string attached to a bow, and sticks of coloured lac. Each lathe is demarcated by two iron rods which are bent toward each other fixed in the ground. The distance between them is dependant upon the length of wood the artisan is turning, the wood must be held firmly between the rods’ pointed ends. The artisan begins by carving the wood. Once the wood is carved into a product, artisans apply lac on the wood to create kaleidoscopic colour patterns on it, unique to Kachchh. Traditionally, the lacquer was colored with vegetable dyes. Now, artisans use brightly coloured chemical dyes.
4.JAMMU & KASHMIR MEGA CLUSTER
- Chain Stitch
- Crewel Embroidery
- Wood Carving
- Papier- Mache
- Calico Printing / Tapestry Craft
- Other Shawls of Srinagar
Chain Stitch is known as Jalakdozi. It is a continued stitch with superior woolen or silken yarn, with the help of a hook type tool. All the embroidery is executed on white cotton fabric, pre shrunk by the manufacturers. The intrinsic worth of each piece lies in the size of the stitches and yarn used. Tiny stitches are used to cover the entire area, the figures of motifs are worked in striking colours; the background in a single colour, made up of a series of coin sized concentric circles which impart dynamism and a sense of the movement to the design. Stitches ought to be small, even sized and neat.
Ari – hooked needle
Crewel Embroidery is done with a hook known as crewel is commonly used for drapery and upholstery. Rows of chain stitch done with hook from solid patterns usually rotating from centre & creating an embossed effect to add richness to the textile.
Crewel is done on the thick material popularly used for furnishing and usually carries flowing floral and creeper designs. The thick material includes Hand-woven Cotton, Dosooti Fabric, Cotton Duck, Linen, Jute etc. The Crewel embroidery is done in the thick woolen yarn, by a pointed crochet, provides a very dazzling and durable material for drapes and upholstery’s. All embroidery is hand done in either single or double ply wool. Crewel embroidery material is quite popular in export market as it satisfies the aesthetic expression lover of beauty all over the world. Besides these crewel products are very popular in domestic market also. Designs are available in assortment of colors ranging from a single color to multicolor embroidery.
Ari – hooked needle
Wood carving is another major craft of J&K.
The wood is hard and durable, its close grain and even texture facilitating fine and detailed work. It also presents visually interesting effects with mere plain polished surfaces.
The Kashmiri Craftsman rejoices in carving intricate and varied designs. A variety of carved products bear recurrent motifs of the rose, lotus, iris, bunches of grapes, pears and chinar leaves. Dragon motifs and patterns taken from Kani and embroidered shawls all find their place in wooden items like bowls, trays , wall plaques and table lamps to screens, bedsteads and larger items like furniture are craved from walnut wood.
- Carving Knife
- Coping Saw
Namda is a handmade felt rug that makes excellent floor covering, made of unspun wool or wool and cotton pressed and felted in specific proportions. The rug originally came from Yarkand and stayed to become an indigenous craft. The felt is embroidered with a hook in bold designs and assortment of colours. The sizes range from 2’X3’,3’X4’, 4’X6’ to 6’X9’ and 3’, 4’, 5’, 6’ dia in round shape. The quality depends upon percentage of wool in the felt.
Paper machie is one of the most popular of crafts practiced in Kashmir. It involves ornamentation in colour over smoothened surfaces built up of paper pulp or layers of paper. Paper pulp is not always found effective and is sometimes replaced by other substitutes.
The colours painted on object are made from pigments diluted in water to which some glue is added to fix the ground on which it is used. The three categories of colours include mineral (both actual and artificial) organic (both plants insects etc.) vegetable. The final objects paper machie is given one or two coats of varnish which besides giving it shine serves as a protective agent.
Important designs and motifs in Paper Machie designs are, Gulander Gul( flower in flower) Hazara (the thousand flowers) Gul Vilayat (the dear flower) Miniature Mughal paints Mythological figures. Animals Hunting scenes Battle Scenes.
The product range covers ring boxes, pill boxes, boxes of assorted shapes and sizes, flowers vases, wall plaques, bowls ashtrays, screens etc.
CALICO PRINTING / TAPESTRY
Calico Printing enjoys a wide popularity. Printing in vegetable color with help of wooden blocks on hand woven cotton cloth is being used as cool, comfortable, floor/bed coverings and are in great demand. Tapestry is a needle work.
Shawls are produced by two techniques, loom woven or kani shawls and the needle embroidered or sozni shawls.
The basic fabric is of the three types – Shah Tush, Pashmina and Raffal. Shah Tush (King of wool) passes through a ring and is also known as Ring shawl. It comes from a rare Tibetan antelope living at a height of over 14000 ft in the wilds of the Himalayas. Pashmina is known world over as cashmere wool, it comes from a special goat (Capra hircus) living at an altitude of 12000 to 14000 ft reared by shephered nomads around famous pongkong lake in close vicinity of western Tibet. Raffal is spun out of marino wool tops and is a popular type of shawl.
The shawls are embroidered in floral motifs, various designs available range from Neemdoor, Doordaar, Paladaar, Baildaar, Jaalis and Jammas, with the help of needle. Where as kani shawls are woven on looms with the help of kanis. Kanis are small eyeless bobbins used instead of the shuttle.