The Crafts of Kutch
I have a little fascination with the arts. Whilst I wouldn’t consider myself to be a creative person, I really enjoy seeing and appreciating a wide variety of arts. It is one of the things that draws me to India, every region has their own form of art or craft. Whether it be dance, music, painting, embroidery or something completely different.
The region of Kutch is no different, but what makes it special is just how many different types of handicrafts are created in this region. On a mission to see as many as possible, I dragged my parents across Kutch, to see many small villages and their specialty. Here are a few:
Stunningly embroidered and detailed shawls such as this one, which has weaving, embroidery and bandhani in it were found in the village of Bhujodi. Girls start creating these when they are young as a form a of wedding offering, and then continue to add to them over their life. They become like a living history of their life.
The shawls are weaved on these huge looms and can take weeks to make the most intricate designs.
In the town of Khavda, we were able to watch traditional pots being crafted from a humble lump of mud that had been carried in by a camel.
Each item is painted before it is put in the kiln, so the design remains for the life of the implement.
The town of Nirona had several crafts, including these stunning lac-turned wood implements. Ranging from rolling sticks to spoons to bangle holders.
Each item is first carved in wood and then small discs of lacquer are “painted” onto the items by the process of turning them and creating the design with a steady hand.
At Sumrasar Sheikh there is a trust called Kala Raksha that exists to preserve the arts of this region. There we saw some traditional Rabari embroidery, where on one side is a delicately detailed pattern…
.. whilst on the other side, you can barely see any sign of work. The artist sews from the wrong side, and it baffled us how she was able to create a perfect pattern.
They also perserved a range of arts, including this 50 year old camel head cover in stunning mirrorwork.
The small town of Bhiryandari had painted their houses in bright colours and beautiful geometric designs that rose out of the dusty ground.
They also did some traditional embroidery styles.
And of course, the cows get their copper plated bells from somewhere, the town of Nirona is one of them.
We also observed a form of painting at Nirona called Rogan Painting. This is where the paint is done freehand (ie. the brush doesn’t actually stroke the fabric it is painting). I took photos of this, but have since found out that the person who demonstrated the art to us was a neighbour of the artist who was acting as an imposter, so I won’t show the photos here.