The sturdy pieces of furniture which are equivalent to vibrant and exquisite pieces of art designed at the Sankheda town by artisans belonging to the Kharadi community. Sankhedais derived from the Gujarati word ‘sanghedu’, which refers to lathe or the machine used to turn wood. These are internationally renowned for their grand, hand-painted motifs on shiny lacquered turned teakwood.
The sun commences its northward journey on Uttarayan(Uttar – North, Ayan– toward movement) and signifies the end of winter. This day is celebrated by sending out kites to the clear blue sky. The kites are of various shapes, sizes and colours, swaying and playing along with the tug of strings in the January wind. Manja(kite-string) making is a traditional skill, which is handed down over generations and families jealously guard their secret recipes for the Manjapaste.
Mata Ni Pachedi is a handmade textile of Gujarat meant to be an offering in the temple shrines which house the Mother Goddess. The name is derived from the Gujarati words ‘Mata’ meaning ‘mother goddess’, ‘Ni’ meaning ‘belonging to’ and ‘Pachedi’ meaning ‘back’. The goddess forms the central figure in the design, flanked by other elements of her story
The prints from the villages, locally known as ‘gaam’ of India, are called as the ‘Gaamthi’ prints; vibrant colors, contrasting shades, varied patterns being their characteristic features. Originally done with natural dyes extracted from plants and other source, they are now also being done in artificial colors.
The complexity of creating the Patola fabric contributes to its exquisite nature. Woven in a double ‘Ikat’ weave, with the yarn threads pre-dyed for the desired pattern, one Patola fabric takes about a year to complete. This does not stop the patterns from being intricately elaborate. Patola is exclusively produced from Patan in Gujarat.
Dotted with a thousand tiny specks, possessing a fine crinkled texture and dyed in rich vibrant colours, ‘Bandhani’ or ‘tie and dye’ of Gujarat draws immense admiration and attention alike. This stunning piece of art is a legacy of the Gujarat Textiles industry. The craft takes its name from ‘Bandhan’, the Sanskrit word for ‘tying’ and refers to both the technique as well as the end product. It is created by a tedious process of pinching, tying and resist dying the fabric.
Some prints are so intricate, that they seem like they are hand drawn with a fine brush, but are actually color impressions of pieces of wood, deftly carved by expert craftsmen. Like the beat of gentle drums these blocks are carved by repetitive thumping of hammers over seasoned wood, creating patterns, geometrical and floral, gently.
Ajrakh is an elaborate block printing technique that involves layering of prints to create unique effects. Interplay of natural dyes and designs of hand-carved wooden blocks bring themes like starry nights and seasons on the fabric. Originally from the Sindh region (now in Pakistan), the craft later flourished in the kutchh region of India and is one of the oldest printing methods alive today.
‘Bhujodi’ weaving is a craft that takes its name from ‘Bhujodi’, a small village in ‘Kutch’ where this craft is practiced. This village of weavers is famous for its exquisitely woven traditional textiles of ‘Kutchi’ shawls, traditional blankets and stoles.
Mashroo is a woven textile craft form with a purpose stemming from religion. ‘Mashroo’ meaning ‘permitted’ in Arabic lends credibility to the textile since wearing pure silk was prohibited. The Mashroo method made it a fabric ‘permitted by the sacred law of Islam’. Mashroo fabric has a silk facade and a cotton layer on one side keeps the silk from touching the skin. The satin weave gives it more sheen and bold stripes run across this fabric in various contrasting hues.