Traditionally speaking, the handicraft scenario in Gujarat is a scenario consisting of textile based items viz., artistic weaving, patola sarees, hand block printing on Mulmul, various embroideries on cushion covers, wall hangings, bed sheets etc., and various other varieties from the field of non-textile items, it is wood carving, artistic puppets making, pataras, brass and white metal inlay items, marquetry boxes etc.
Hand Block Printing
Gujarat dominated the seaborne cotton trade through ages and is still today a major producer of block prints. The combination of printing with mordant dyeing is typical of the technique in many parts of Gujarat. The ‘ajrakh’ resist printing of Anjar and Dhamadka in Kachchh is well known. The ‘Mata-ni-Pachedi’, used for religious purpose made by the ‘Vaghries’ uses a combination of block printing for the outline of the pattern and the painting of the mordants.
Gujarat is known for its embroidery in an immense variety of styles and techniques. Here women not only embroider their ‘cholis’ and ‘ghagras’ but also items for decorating their houses, such as chaklas, wall hangings, pillow covers, quilts etc. There is perfect harmony and distribution of the colouring, the colours flow into one another.
Tie & Die Work
Designs are drawn on the fabric, those areas to be resisted by the colour to be applied to the rest of the fabric are tied with strings. After the fabric has been dipped in the required colours, and the whole process is over, the strings are removed and a design is formed on the fabric.
Puppets and Stuff Toys
A puppet, originating from the Latin ‘pupa’ meaning doll, is literally a small scale figure usually with a cloth body and hollow head that fits over and is moved by the hand. Through puppets have remained in India as objects of art, entertainment and culture, puppetry seems to have been swallowed in the whirlwind of time.
Clay and Teracotta Work
The quintessential clay pots to a variety of clay figures and toys like horses, cows, bulls, buffaloes are the items which are very essentially a part of Indian pottery. In Gujarat, tribes in the Dangs make and worship their own clay gods.
Pithora Paintings mean much more than colorful images hanging on the walls, for the tribes of Rathwas, Bhilals, and Naykas of Gujarat. They signify the advent of an auspicious occasion like, weddings, child brith, festivals, in the family or community, The Pithora paintings with their colours and animated figures, mirror the sentiments of their creators.
Leather craft is infinitesimal in shape, composition, pattern and décor. The traditional pieces are more original, individualistic and colorful and largely embroidered. Fascinating articles are made out of leather like, cushion covers, bags, fans, to name a few.
Wood carving is a famous and traditional craft of Gujarat. Temples and old houses provide the best example of the richness of this craft with projecting balconies and floors of the mansions deeply carved. Wooden boxes and chests were once major dowry items.
Particular to Kachchh and Saurashtra in Gujarat, bead work is a dying art to which Gurjari is paying special attention. Beadwork or ‘motibharat’ as it is known in Gujarat, is the craft of making decorative objects with beads.
Beautiful metal articles are made in several parts of Gujarat, the best known come from Jamnagar, Wadhwan, Visnagar and Sihor. Rural objects of metal work in Gujarat can be divided into two categorie.
The original tradition involved silk x cotton woven yarn, which is now modified into rayon x cotton woven yarn. Weaving is done mostly in stripes, ekat patterns and dotted designs.
Applique and Patch work
BeautifulApplique is one of the oldest and finest crafts of Gujarat. By using different patches of fabric, beautiful forms of floral and animal designs are prepared for quilts, hangings, modern household products and apparels.
Clay craft is ingrained deeply into Gujarat’s ancient tradition and since then has continued to enchant the world. Gujarat is known for its Terracotta, mud mirror work which has both scared as well as aesthetic appeal.
Rogan painting is a unique craft and practiced by very few families. Rogan painting involves the use of a thick paste which is prepared by boiling the oil od safflower, caster or linseed and pouring it into water.
Tangaliya a dotted woven textile of Surendranagar district, Saurashtra is found only in Gujarat, is usually worn as a wraparound skirt by the women of the Bharwad shephered community.
Indian temples have been centers of art and architecture since ancient times. Each temple according to geographic location has their own art style, motifs, representation of deities and their stories.
Varlipainting is a form of painting done by artisans at the boarder of Gujarat. Varli painting is the craft of tribal people. It is popular across India. The philosophy of a way of life, especially those of tribal societies, is best depicted through colorful images.